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USNS Pvt Jose F Valdez (APC 119).

USNS Pvt Jose F Valdez (APC 119).
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Design: MC C1-M-AV1
Displacement (tons): 3,366 light, 6,070 full
Dimensions (feet): 339' oa, 320' wl x 50' e/wl x 18' max nav
Armament: none
Accommodations: 39-40 officers, 129 others (46-48/320 in 117-118)
Speed (kts.): 10
Propulsion (HP): 1,700
Machinery: Diesel (direct), 1 screw

116SGT JONAH E KELLEY1 Mar 1950Southeastern SB29 Jan 194517 Mar 1945Mar 1950
117SGT GEORGE D KEATHLEY1 Jul 1950Walter Butler SB, Duluth16 Jun 19447 Dec 19441 Jul 1950
118SGT JOSEPH E MULLER1 Jul 1950Southeastern SB30 Dec 194417 Feb 19451 Jul 1950
119PVT JOSE F VALDEZ2 Sep 1950Walter Butler SB, Duluth22 Apr 194427 Oct 19447 Sep 1950

APCNameTInact/CustStrikeDisposalFateMA Sale
116SGT JONAH E KELLEYT24 Nov 196928 Apr 19703 Oct 1972MA/S--
117SGT GEORGE D KEATHLEYTDec 197115 Apr 197629 Mar 1972Trf--
118SGT JOSEPH E MULLERT16 Sep 196928 Apr 197013 Nov 1969MA/T3 Oct 1972
119PVT JOSE F VALDEZT7 Nov 1969/C15 Aug 19761 Sep 1971MA/T27 Jul 1977
Fates: MA/S (Title to MA and ship sold by MA); MA/T (Title to MA, ship sold later)

Class Notes:
In mid-1943 the Joint Chiefs of Staff asked the Maritime Commission to add to its building program a new type of coastal cargo ship to support the island-hopping campaign against Japan in the Southwest and Central Pacific, and ultimately over 200 of these small ocean-going diesel-propelled cargo ships of the Maritime Commission's C1-M-AV1 type and its refrigerated R1-M-AV3 variant were built. After World War II the Army began to acquire some of these ships for its post-war permanent fleet, and as of 31 August 1948 it had 21 of them including five reefers but excluding eight ex-Navy units in SCAJAP. Four of the cargo ships were fitted as small personnel transports with accommodations for 25 cabin passengers and 75 troops. As of 31 August 1948 these were PVT JOSE F VALDEZ, SGT CURTIS F SHOUP (previously a press ship operating for the Air Force, see AG-175), SGT JONAH E KELLEY, and PVT GEORGE J PETERS (on local operations in the Philippines). By 28 February 1949 SGT JOSEPH E MULLER and SGT GEORGE D KEATHLEY had become transports while PETERS was laid up in March 1949 and SHOUP was laid up at the end of December 1949. By 28 February 1950 the Army's holdings of the C1-M-AV1 and R1-M-AV3 types had fallen to 12 ships, including four passenger (which became APC 116-119), six cargo (AK 245-250), and two refrigerated (AF 44 and AF 53). By this time the passenger variant was listed with 26 cabin passengers (22 in KELLEY) and 81 troops.

APC 116 (KELLEY), which had been supporting the Air Force, was among the Army ships operating out of continental US ports that were to be acquired on 1 March 1950 for which Navy names, classification, and hull numbers were approved on 21 February 1950. APC 117-118 were among the army ships then operating under commands in the Far East that were to be transferred to the Navy about 1 July 1950 for which names, classification, and hull numbers were approved on 7 June 1950. On 7 August 1950, shortly after the outbreak of the Korean War, Commander MSTS wrote to CNO that increased transportation requirements in the Caribbean made it highly desirable for MSTS to obtain the services of an additional vessel. He understood that PVT JOSE F VALDEZ, an Army owned vessel which had served the Army's needs in the Caribbean, was available at New Orleans and would be transferred to the Navy if it asked. He recommended that the Navy acquire title to the vessel and assign her to MSTS. The Navy asked the Army for the ship on 16 August 1950 and the Army agreed on 29 August 1950. On 29 August 1950 Commander MSTS authorized his deputy commander in the Gulf region to accept the ship. APC 119 (VALDEZ) was among one Army ship and three Maritime Administration ships then in layup (AOG 78-80) that were to be transferred to the Navy for which names, classification, and hull numbers were approved on 7 September 1950. MSTS on 6 September 1950 acknowledged receipt of title to the ship on 2 September 1950.

PVT JOSE F VALDEZ, which had been stricken on 1 July 1961, was reinstated on 1 November 1961 and converted to a Technical Research Ship (a cover for signals intelligence operations for the National Security Agency and the Naval Security Group). She departed her home port of Brooklyn in November 1961 on her first extended "hydrographic" cruise to Africa in the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans and did not return to the USA until 1967, crews being rotated annually by air. In August 1962, SGT JOSEPH E MULLER was designated for activation, conversion to a Technical Research Ship, and redelivery to the Navy on 20 September 1962. On 30 October 1962 CNO approved the change in classification of T-APC 118 and 119 to T-AG 171 and 169 respectively effective 1 December 1962. On 1 October 1962 the reactivation and conversion of MULLER began at the Maryland Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Baltimore, Maryland, and in early November 1962 she was towed to New Orleans, Louisiana, for further alterations. In April 1963, MULLER arrived at Port Everglades, Florida and took up duties as one of three "special project ships" operating in the Caribbean under the general cover of oceanographic or atmospheric research. VALDEZ arrived in Bayonne, New Jersey in June 1967 after nearly being assigned to the mission on which LIBERTY (AGTR 4) was attacked, and after repair and overhaul, VALDEZ departed on 18 September 1967 for her second extended tour in the African region. She returned to the USA unexpectedly early in September 1968 for installation of the Technical Research Ship Special COMMunications (TRSSCOMM) system, which could relay messages directly to Washington by bouncing a microwave signal off the moon. This system, already used on LIBERTY (AGTR 5) and OXFORD (AGTR 1), consisted of a sixteen-foot, dish shaped antenna mounted on a movable platform and capable of bouncing a 10,000 watt microwave signal off a particular spot on the moon and down either to receiving stations at Cheltenham, Maryland, or to other Navy SIGINT ships. VALDEZ's third extended deployment commenced on 22 January 1969 when she transited to Africa via Recife, Brazil, but she was prematurely ordered home later that year. On 16 September 1969 Commander MSTS advised CNO that Commander Naval Security Group had advised that MULLER (T-AG 171) and VALDEZ (T-AG 169) would become in excess to his requirements around early October 1969 and MSTS requested authority to transfer the ships to the NDRF for disposal (T-AG 171) and preservation (T-AG 169). All the vessels in the Technical Research Fleet were inactive by 1970.

On 6 October 1966 Commander MSTS reported to CNO that a requirement had been placed on MSTS by the Commander of the Naval Oceanographic Office to provide a ship to be operated by MSTS for NAVOCEANO in conducting hydrographic and geophysical surveys in the Pacific area. MSTS on 6 October 1966 selected SGT GEORGE D KEATHLEY (T-APC 117), then in the NDRF in the Hudson River, for reactivation using NAVOCEANO funds and redesignation by CNO as an AGS. She was accordingly transferred from MARAD to MSTS on 15 November 1966, reclassified from T-APC 117 to T-AGS 35 on 18 November 1966 effective 1 Dec 1966, and towed to Norfolk, Virginia for conversion to a survey ship. In May 1967 KEATHLEY joined SGT CURTIS F SHOUP (AG 175), which had been assigned during November 1966, to meet increased military demand for gravity data and magnetic and bathymetric surveys under the technical control of the Naval Oceanographic Office. KEATHLEY was replaced by USNS WYMAN (T-AGS 34), and on 5 August 1971 Commander MSTS requested approval to transfer the ship to MARAD permanent custody without a recommendation for retention, noting that she was to become in excess of NAVOCEANO requirements in September 1971 and that, with no other prospective requirement for the ship, she was recommended for disposal. She returned to the U.S. in December 1971 for inactivation.

Ship Notes:
116SGT JONAH E KELLEY2489(ex-LINK SPLICE, completed 28 Aug 1945). To Army by BBC 20 Jun 1946 and by transfer 30 Aug 1946. From September 1950 through about 1960 SGT JONAH E KELLEY made over 200 supply trips between New York City and northern bases, primarily Argentia and St. John's, Newfoundland, with passengers and limited cargo. In November 1959 her passenger service was discontinued (though she retained accommodations for 81 troops in 21 cabins), and she continued cargo runs to the same ports for another decade. Declared in excess to requirements in late November 1968, replaced by USNS MIRFAK (T-AK 271) in November 1969, and transferred to MA custody 22 Dec 1969. To buyer 6 Dec 1972.
117SGT GEORGE D KEATHLEY2247(ex-ACORN KNOT,ex-ALEXANDER R NINIGER, JR, completed 2 Oct 1945 at Houston). To Army by BBC 29 Jul 1946 and by transfer 30 Aug 1946. Out of service and to MA custody 11 Dec 1956, stricken and permanent transfer to MA 24 Oct 1957. To MSTS 15 Nov 1966, to AGS 35 1 December 1966, inactivated Dec 1971. Loaned on 29 March 1972 at NSY New York to Taiwan as CHU HWA (AGS 564). Returned on 15 August 1988 for use as a target.
118SGT JOSEPH E MULLER2485(ex-CHECK KNOT, completed 9 Jun 1945). Title to Army 30 Jun 1948. To MA custody 7 Dec 1956, stricken and to MA (permanent) 25 Oct 1957. From MA (permanent) 20 Sep 1962 and to T-AG 171 1 December 1962. To MA custody and permanent transfer 13 Nov 1969. To buyer 7 Dec 1972.
119PVT JOSE F VALDEZ2245(ex-ROUND SPLICE, ex-JOE P MARTINEZ, completed 5 Jul 1945 at New Orleans). To Army by BBC 12 Jul 1945 and by transfer 30 Aug 1946. To MA custody 22 Dec 1959, to MA (permanent) 1 May 1961, stricken 1 Jul 1961. From MA (permanent) 29 Aug 1961, reinstated 1 Nov 1961, to T-AG 169 1 December 1962. To MA custody 7 Nov 1969, permanent transfer 1 Sep 1971. To buyer 19 Aug 1977.

Page Notes:
Compiled: 13 Aug 2021
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2021
Special sources: Wikipedia (intelligence information)