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USNS Neptune (ARC 2).

USNS Neptune (ARC 2).
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Class: NEPTUNE (ARC 2, S3-S2-BP1)
Design: MC S3-S2-BP1
Displacement (tons): 4,410 light, 7,810 full
Dimensions (feet): 362' oa, 322' wl(pp) x 47' wl x 25' max nav
Armament: none; ARC 2: (1969) 3-20mmT; (1971) 2-20mmT; (1973) none
Accommodations: 28 officers, 145 enlisted
Speed (kts.): 14
Propulsion (HP): 4,000
Machinery: Skinner Unaflow steam reciprocating, 2 screws. Steam plant of both replaced with diesel-electric machinery in 1980-82

Construction:
ARCNameAcqBuilderKeelLaunchComm/Svc
2NEPTUNE17 Feb 1953Pusey & Jones, Wilmington22 Jan 194522 Aug 19451 Jun 1953/C
6ALBERT J MYER13 May 1966Pusey & Jones, Wilmington14 Apr 19457 Nov 194513 May 1966/S

Disposition:
ARCNameTInactStrikeDisposalFateMA Sale/Depart
2NEPTUNET21 Oct 199120 Aug 19921 Apr 1998MA/T3 Nov 2005/D
6ALBERT J MYERT13 Feb 19947 Nov 19941 Apr 1998MA/T24 Aug 2005/D

Class Notes:
These two ships were built by the Maritime Commission for operation by the Army Signal Corps and were originally named by the Army. The services of Mr. C.S. Lawton of Western Union were used in the design, resulting in the layout being similar to that of their LORD KELVIN. The Sundfelt Equipment Company supplied the cable machinery, which consisted of a steam-powered combined paying out/picking up machine capable of lifting 30 tons at 1 knot. This was mounted at the aft end of the foredeck with the drums accessible on the deck above. A paying out machine with twin V-sheave holding back gear was mounted on the port side aft. Four cable tanks were fitted with a total capacity of 49,642 cubic feet, three situated forward and one aft.

Completed in 1946, WILLIAM H G BULLARD was placed in the Maritime Commission (MC) reserve fleet at Lee Hall, Va. on 2 March 1946 and remained there until she was transferred to the Navy and renamed NEPTUNE on 17 February 1953. The classification ARC 2 was assigned by SecNav Notice 5030 of 27 March 1953. NEPTUNE was refitted at the Bethlehem Steel Company Shipyard, Baltimore, for Project Caesar, the installation and support phase for the Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS). She was fitted with triple bow sheaves 15ft in diameter, this large size being dictated by the size and rigidity of the cables to be laid, some of them being 6in in diameter. The original cable machinery was removed and two completely new GE electrically-driven machines with drums 15ft diameter were provided in its place. Complex control equipment was installed where the speed of laying was controlled by the tension in the cable. In order to make room for all this extra gear one of the four original cable tanks was converted into an auxiliary machinery room. NEPTUNE was decommissioned and transferred to MSC on 8 November 1973 for further operation.

ALBERT J MYER was placed in reserve in the James River on 25 May 1946 and remained there until being loaned to the Army by MARAD on 7 February 1952 to maintain the submarine cables of the Alaskan Communications System and for special projects for the United States Navy and Air Force. To meet a high priority requirement for laying cable in the Caribbean MYER was transfered to the Navy in around 1956 for about one year. Custody of MYER was transferred from the Army to MSTS at Seattle on a loan basis on 18 Sep 1963. On 13 May 1966 the acting MARAD administrator advised the Navy that effective that date the loan agreement between the Army and MARAD for ALBERT J MYER had been cancelled and the ship simultaneously transferred to the permanent custody of the Navy, when she became USNS ALBERT J MYER. She received a meritorious unit commendation for service from 27 August to 15 November 1969 in Task Group 30.5 while executing a highly complex operation in the Pacific Ocean "which resulted in a most important contribution to the increased antisubmarine warfare capability of the United States."

Both ships were extensively modernized, ALBERT J MYER at Bethlehem Steel, Baltimore, Md., between March 1978 and May 1980 and NEPTUNE at General Dynamics, Quincy, Mass., between February 1980 and February 1982. Their reciprocating steam propulsion plants (the last ones in the Navy) were replaced with diesels and their superstructures were rebuilt.

NEPTUNE and ALBERT J MYER were both considered for use as training ships by the Great Lakes Maritime Academy but were found too large in Feb 2001. Both were scrapped in 2005 by International Shipbreaking Ltd., Brownsville, Texas.

Ship Notes:
ARCNameMCNotes
2NEPTUNE2557FY 1953. (ex-WILLIAM H G BULLARD, compl. 26 Feb 1946). Modernized 1980-1982. To MA custody in JRRF 24 Sep 1991. Departed JRRF 3 Nov 2005 for Brownsville under disposal contract with ISL. BU complete 13 Apr 2006 at Brownsville.
6ALBERT J MYER2558(Compl. 17 May 1946.) Modernized 1978-1980. To MA custody in JRRF 31 Mar 1994. Departed JRRF 24 Aug 2005 for Brownsville under disposal contract with ISL. BU complete 10 Feb 2006 at Brownsville.

Page Notes:
Compiled: 19 Oct 2021
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2021
Special sources: CS Albert J. Myer and CS William G. Bullard / Neptune by Bill Glover at https://atlantic-cable.com/Cableships/index.htm and K. R. Haigh, Cableships and Submarine Cables (United States Undersea Cable Corp., 1968). See also http://patriot.net/~eastlnd2/Neptune.htm and http://patriot.net/~eastlnd2/Myer.htm, both via the Wayback Machine