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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

USS Saturn (AG-4)
USS Saturn (1898 - 1920)

International Radio Call Sign, 1912:
Nan - Sail - Fox
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from left to right
West Indies Campaign Medal - Mexican Service Medal - World War I Victory Medal

  • Laid down, date unknown, at Harlan & Hollingsworth Co., Wilmington, DE.
  • Acquired by the US Navy, 2 April 1898
  • Commissioned USS Saturn, 11 April 1898, CDR. Samuel W. Very in command
  • Decommissioned, and placed in reserve, 4 November 1898, at Norfolk, VA.
  • Recommissioned, 15 August 1900
  • Decommissioned and placed in reserve, 30 June 1903, at Bremerton, WA,
  • Reactivated, 2 December 1903
  • Deactivated and placed in reserve, 30 September 1911, at Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, WA.
  • Reactivated, 3 August 1912
  • Deactivated and place in reserve, 31 July 1913, at Puget Sound Navy Yard
  • Reactivated, 4 April 1914
  • Recommissioned, 4 April 1917
  • Classified Miscellaneous Auxiliary (AG-4), 17 July 1920
  • Decommissioned, 17 March 1922, at League Island, PA.
  • Struck from the Naval Register and sold for scrapping, 25 September 1922 to J. G. Hitner, Philadelphia <
    Displacement 4,840 t.
    Length 297' 1"
    Beam 40' 5"
    Draft 26' 4" (max.)
    Speed 11 kts.
    Complement 74
    one single 6"/50 gun mount
    two single 3"/50 gun mounts
    coal fired boilers
    one vertical triple expansion steam engine
    single propeller 1,500shp

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    Saturn 32k
    Roman statute, from the Bardo National Museum, Tunis.
    Saturn was a god in ancient Roman religion, and a character in Roman mythology. He was described as a god of generation, dissolution, plenty, wealth, agriculture, periodic renewal and liberation. Saturn's mythological reign was depicted as a Golden Age of plenty and peace. (Wikipedia)
    Tommy Trampp
    Saturn 55k USS Saturn off Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, VA. with the tug Sioux alongside, August 1900.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 44072.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Saturn 100k USS Saturn photographed by a Seattle, Washington, photographer (Webster & Stevens) circa August 1915. She is still in her original configuration but now has radio antennas swung between spreaders at the top of the two masts. This photo was published, possibly in October 1920, courtesy Shipscribe. Mike Green
    151k Post card image of USS Saturn at anchor at La Paz, Mexico, 2 November 1915. Jay Milewski
    Saturn 246k USS Saturn at anchor in a Pacific Coast harbor, before World War I. The original photograph is printed on post card ("AZO") stock. Collection of Thomas P. Naughton, 1973.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 92198
    Robert Hurst and
    David Wright
    Saturn 115k USS Saturn near Mare Island Navy Yard, 11 May 1916, being assisted by Navy tug Tillamook (Tug No. 16). Saturn was altered to serve as a support ship for Navy radio stations in Alaska and elsewhere.
    US Navy History and Heritage Command photo courtesy
    Mike Green
    Saturn 57k USS Saturn under way off Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA., 22 June 1916.
    US Navy photo #1910 from the Mare Island Naval Shipyard archives.
    Darryl Baker
    Saturn 222k USS Saturn officers, circa 1917-18, all USNRF.
    Lieutenant Everett Bessom Ward (1890-1964)
    Lieutenant (junior grade) Archie Edward Bragg (1887-1939)
    Lieutenant Arthur Bertram Arkebauer (1878-1957)
    Pay Clerk William J. Nash (1887-???)
    David Wright
    Saturn 75k USS Saturn leaving Sitka, Alaska in 1917. The original photo is printed on "AZO" post card stock. The following hand-written inscription is on the card's reverse: "Oct. 15, 1917. U.S.S. Saturn. It is just leaving the Radio station dock for San Francisco. I am not on it, but am on the dock in the background. She rolls so much that sometimes that long row of portholes is underwater. She is something over 300 feet long and 1500 horsepower. Frank." Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2010.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 107086
    Robert Hurst
    Saturn 155k USS Saturn deck view taken from the forecastle looking aft in Alaskan waters circa 1918-1919. Photo from contemporary scrapbook "For freedom of the Seas."
    Mike Green
    Saturn 93k USS Saturn in Alaskan waters circa 1918-1919. The stern mounted 6-inch gun was fitted circa 1918. At the same time two 3" guns were fitted on the bridge island forward of the pilot house. The photo was part of a contemporary scrapbook named "For freedom of the Seas.". Other small auxiliaries that received one 6" and two 3" guns at this time were USS Hannibal and USS Leonidas.
    Mike Green
    Saturn 60k USS Saturn near Vladivostok, Russia, unloading equipment for the Naval Radio Station, Vladivostok, over the ice in January 1919. The supplies were hauled ashore on sleds using a long line drawn by a truck ashore. The radio station was built on Russkiy Island in Vladivostok harbor.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 79053. Donation of William W. Wilson, 1973.
    Robert Hurst
    Saturn 64k USS Saturn's 1919 Alaskan itinerary. Schedule prepared at Mare Island, 10 May 1919 and found in the Mare Island Naval Shipyard archives.
  • First trip (green)
    Leave Mare Island, April 10
    Leave San Francisco, April 12
    Arrive Bremerton, April 17 - Departed, April 18
    Arrive Dutch Harbor, April 24 - Departed, April 25
    Arrive St. Paul, April 26 (unload material & party) - Departed, St. Paul, May 2
    Arrive St. George, May 2 - Departed, May 3
    Arrive Dutch Harbor, May5 (Unload Material) - Departed May 9
    Arrive Mare Island, May 18 (Actually returned June 4th)

  • Second trip (yellow)
    Leave Mare Island, May 28 (Actually departed June 16th)
    Leave Tiburon (Coaling Station), May 30
    Arrive Cordova, June 6 (unload material & party) - Departed, June 15
    Arrive Seward, June 16 (unload material) - Departed, June 23
    Arrive Mare Island, July 1

  • Third trip (blue)
    Leave Mare Island, July 11
    Arrive St. Paul, July 21 (pick-up party) - Departed, July 23
    Arrive and Departed St. George, July 23
    Arrive Dutch Harbor, July 25 (leave party) - Departed, July 27
    Arrive Sitka, Aug 3 (leave material) - Departed, Aug 5
    Arrive Dutch Harbor, Aug 12 - Departed, Sept 6 (pick-up party)
    Arrive Kodiak, Sept 11 (leave party & material) - Departed, Nov 1 (pick-up party)
    Arrive Seward, Nov 3 - Departed, Nov 5 (pick-up equipment)
    Arrive Cordova, Nov 6 - Departed Nov 10
    Arrive Mare Island, Nov 17 - Departed Nov 22
    Arrived Bremerton, Nov 26
  • Darryl Baker
    Saturn 34k USS Saturn at Kodiak, Alaska, in 1919. For much of the time between 1916 and 1921 Saturn was used to maintain communications between the Alaska Territory and the continental United States. Courtesy Donald M. McPherson, 1976.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 84672
    Robert Hurst
    Saturn 42k USS Saturn near Vladivostok, Russia, unloading equipment for the Naval Radio Station, Vladivostok, over the ice in January 1919. Note the Ford car in use for towing sleds. The radio station was built on Russkiy Island in Vladivostok harbor. Donation of William W. Wilson, 1973.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 79052
    Robert Hurst
    Saturn 64k USS Saturn unloading material in a Far East port, circa 1918-1919. Between late 1918 and mid-1919 Saturn made a voyage to Vladivostok, Russia, carrying coal, supplies, and a team that built a naval radio station there. This photo may have been taken during one of her brief stops in Japan in December 1918 or June 1919. The gun on the right is one of the two 3"/50 weapons fitted forward of the bridge during World War I; she also received a 6"/50 gun aft.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 41637
    Robert Hurst
    Saturn 120k USS Saturn in Alaskan waters circa 1919. The image includes the handwritten inscription; "Complements of the Officers and Crew, USS Saturn." Another copy has the additional pen inscription "July 4th 1919, Seward, Alaska," probably in connection with a trip some of the officers' wives made to Alaska at about this time. This is a nice view of the ship in her post-World War I configuration.
    US Navy photo courtesy
    Mike Green

    USS Saturn (AG-4)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01CDR. Very, Samuel Williams, USN (USNA 1866)11 April 1898 - 10 June 1898
    02CDR. Bicknell III, George Augustus USN (USNA 1866)10 June 1898 - 4 November 1898
     Decommissioned4 November 1898 - 3 August 1912
    03CAPT. Bicknell III, George Augustus, USN (USNA 1866)3 August 1912 - 4 April 1914
    04Master, Smith, Isaac B. (Naval Auxiliary Service)4 April 1914 - 8 April 1916
    05LT. O'Brien Jr., William Hunter, USN (USNA 1911) 8 April 1916 - 4 April 1917
    06LCDR. Luckel, Frank Henry, USN (USNA 1910)4 April 1917 - 27 March 1919
    07CDR. Bowdey, George, Hall, USN (USNA 1906) :COMO27 March 1919 - 22 July 1919
    08LCDR. Carstarphen, Rivers Johnson, USN (USNA 1911)22 July 1919 - 15 October 1920
    09LTjg. Dahlgren, Gustavus (Temp.)15 October 1920 - 3 November 1920
    10LCDR. Carstarphen, Rivers Johnson, USN (USNA 1911)3 November 1920 - 9 December 1920
    11LTjg. Dahlgren, Gustavus9 December 1920 - 5 January 1921
    12LCDR. Katterfield, Charles Philip, USNRF5 January 1921 - 17 March 1922
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves

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    Last Updated 10 April 2020