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  USS Pathfinder AGS-1 / OSS 30
Survey Ship

2.175 Tons
229' 4" x 39' x 16'
2 x 3" guns
2 x depth charge tracks
2 x depth charge projectors

Ship History
Built by Lake Washington Shipyard, Houghton, Washington. Laid down February 20, 1941 for the U. S. Coast Guard (USCG) as a survey vessel. Launched January 11, 1942 sponsored by Eleanor Roosevelt Boettinger (granddaughter of U. S. President F. D. Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt). Completed August 31, 1942 and acquired by the U. S. Navy (USN) as USS Pathfinder (AGS-1) with Captain Bascom H. Thomas, USNR in command.

Wartime History
Assigned to the U. S. Navy Hydrographic Office and made a shakedown cruise in the Puget Sound off Washington then to San Francisco. For the rest of the Pacific War, Pathfinder worked to survey coastlines and take soundings to create navigation maps to aid Allied amphibious landings and operations.

On November 10, 1942 departed San Francisco to Pearl Harbor then across the Pacific via Ellice Islands (Tuvalu) arriving Funafuti Atoll on December 26, 1942.

On April 7, 1943 while in the Tulagi Anchorage her gunners fired on attacking Japanese aircraft attacking the area and claimed two shot down. In late 1943, Pathfinder conducted surveys off the Treasury Islands, Bougainville, Green Island Atoll, Emirau Island.

During 1944, operated in the Admiralty Island Group (Admiralty Islands) and conducted a survey of Hyane Harbor and Papitalai Harbor bordering Los Negros and Manus Island used as additional data for the U. S. Navy (USN) "Bismarck Archipelago - Plans in the Admiralty and Hermit Islands, (F) Admiralty Islands Papitalai and Hyane Harbors".

Afterwards, conducted surveys of the Admiralty Islands and New Guinea. At the end of September 1944 departed for Espiritu Santo then back via Pearl Harbor on October 11, 1944 and then to Alameda arriving October 21, 1944.

On December 18, 1944 departed back for the Pacific arriving at Guam and then to the Philippines and supported the landing at Casiguran Bay on southeast Luzon. On March 28, 1945 attacked by two aircraft but did not sustain any damage.

On May 1, 1945 arrived at the Hagushi Anchorage off Okinawa. On May 6, 1945 hit by a kamikaze that hit the stern gun platform, killing one crew member, starting fires and detonating ammunition but the damage was controlled. Off Okinawa, the ship was at general quarters 170 times until the end of the Pacific War.

During the war, she was subjected to attacks or air raids fifty times. For her World War II service, Pathfinder earned two battle stars.

On October 13, 1945 arrived at Yokosuka and conducted surveys along the coast of Japan. On December 5, 1945 departed via Pearl Harbor on December 16, 1945 before arriving at Seattle December 24, 1945. On January 31, 1946 decommissioned and transfered to the U. S. Commerce Department on August 22, 1946.

On August 23, 1946 recommissioned as USS Pathfinder Ocean Survey Ship 30 (OSS 30) and conducted a shakedown cruise from Seattle northward to Bristol Bay, Alaska then returned to Seattle.

On October 1, 1946 returned to the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. November 13, 1946 officially struck from the U. S. Navy list. Between 1947 to 1950 during the survey season, Pathfinder conducted field surveys in the Bristol Bay area to create accurate maps of the area.

In July 1965 the Coast and Geodetic Survey merged with the U.S. Weather Bureau to become Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA) still within the Commerce department. In October 1971, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Pathfinder was deactivated on December 23, 1971 and sold for scrap.

During 1972, scrapped by General Auto Wrecking Co. in Ballard, Washington.

Map "Bismarck Archipelago - Plans in the Admiralty and Hermit Islands, (F) Admiralty Islands Papitalai and Hyane Harbors" 1944
NOAA History - Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society History of Ship Pathfinder

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Last Updated
October 7, 2020


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