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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 1945(Oct 1958)

AGMNameTInact/CustStrikeDisposalFateMA Sale
4RICHFIELDT21 Nov 1968/C9 Oct 196921 Nov 1968MA16 Mar 1976

Class Notes:
This ship entered Navy service in 1950 as a unit of the PVT FRANCIS X McGRAW (T-AK 241) class, and her history before her AG conversion is described on the page for that class. She was a Victory ship of the VC2-S-AP2 type and served as a MSTS cargo ship 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 at Point Mugu, Calif., and was based at Port Hueneme. She was used as a telemetry ship in the Discoverer (cover name for the Corona photo-reconnaissance satellite) series. The instrumentation on board was operated by Lockheed Aircraft under contract to the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division. 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. Thirty-seven numbered Discoverer satellites were launched between February 1959 and February 1962. Development was difficult, and the program only achieved its first fully successful flight when Discoverer 14 returned usable imagery of many Soviet targets in August 1960. On 24 August 1960 it was announced that the ship 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.

RICHFIELD subsequently had her antenna outfit modified several times for different programs as shown in the accompanying photographs. 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:
4RICHFIELD719Ex PVT JOE E MANN (AK 253), ex merc. OWENSBORO VICTORY, compl. 27 Aug 1945. Converted to a missile range ship and on range circa October 1958. Redesignated RICHFIELD (T-AGM 4) effective 27 Nov 1960. To buyer 12 Apr 1976.

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