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USNS Pvt Joe E Mann (AGM 4) in 1960 before her new name Richfield became effective on 27 November 1960.

USNS Pvt Joe E Mann (AGM 4) in 1960 before her new name Richfield became effective on 27 November 1960.
Click on this photograph for links to larger images of this class.

Design: MC VC2-S-AP2
Displacement (tons): 4,442 light, 15,200 full
Dimensions (feet): 455' oa, 444' wl x 62' e/wl x 28.5'
Armament: none
Accommodations: 14 officers, 75 unlicensed
Speed (kts.): 15
Propulsion (HP): 6,000
Machinery: Geared steam turbines, 2 boilers (465psi/750deg), 1 screw

4RICHFIELD27 Nov 1960Permanente Metals #212 Jun 194521 Jul 19459 Aug 1950

AGMNameTDecomm/CustStrikeDisposalFateMA Sale/Depart
4RICHFIELDT21 Nov 19689 Oct 196921 Nov 1968MA16 Mar 1976

Class Notes:
As of 31 August 1948 the Army had nine Victory cargo ships of the VC2-S-AP2 type, which was rated as two knots slower than the more powerful VC2-S-AP3 type. Of these the Army released one into merchant service, transferred four in 1949-50 to the Maritime Administration for layup, and transferred the remining four to the Navy on 1 March 1950. PVT JOE E MANN (AK 253) was among 18 Maritime Admiminstration ships including AK 251-254 to be transferred to the Navy for which names, classification, and hull numbers were approved on 31 Jul 1950. She then served as a standard MSTS cargo ship of the AK 241 class until 1957 or 1958.

PVT JOE E MANN was converted to a missile tracking ship by Triple A Machine Shop, Inc., of San Francisco, and in about October 1958 she was the first of the future AGM's to be on range. Beginning on 19 October 1958 PVT JOE E MANN came under the operational control of the Pacific Missile Range, Port Hueneme, Calif. She was used as a telemetry ship in the DISCOVERER series. The instrumentation on board was operated by Lockheed Aircraft under contract to AFBMD. The ship was under the administrative control of MSTS with a civil service crew and was under the operational control of the Navy at the Pacific Missile Range. On 24 August 1960 it was announced that she would receive a half-million dollar upgrade to her missile tracking equipment at Pacific Ship Repair in an overhaul that also included voyage repairs, the installation of air conditioning, and various other alterations.

On 29 March 1960 a new version of SECNAV Instruction 5030.1B then in draft established a new classification, AGM, with the meaning "Missile Range Instrumentation Ship," and Commander MSTS asked that HAITI VICTORY, PVT JOE E MANN, and DALTON VICTORY, all missile range ships, be reclassed and assigned appropriate new names. The instruction was promulgated on 25 August 1960, and on 12 September 1960 Commander MSTS alerted his staff that a change of the classification of T-AK 253 (PVT JOE E MANN) to T-AGM 4 was pending in OPNAV. A new name was also to be assigned. On 27 October 1960 effective 27 Nov 1960 SECNAV approved the new classifications AGM 4 and the name RICHFIELD for PVT JOE E MANN.

Around 3 October 1968 the Air Force Systems Command advised MSTS that the ship was surplus to their requirements, and MSTS transferred her to MA custody on 21 Nov 1968.

Ship Notes:
4RICHFIELD719(ex-PVT JOE E MANN, AK 253, ex-OWENSBORO VICTORY, compl. 27 Aug 1945). Chartered to Army 22 Jul 1946 and transferred 30 Aug 1946, title to MC 8 Dec 1949 and laid up 3 Jan 1950. Custody from MA to MSTS 7 Aug 50. To buyer 12 Apr 1976.

Page Notes:
Compiled: 18 Oct 2021
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2021