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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

Contributed by Mike Smolinski

Contributed by Al Grazevich

USS Compass Island (E-AG-153)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Papa - Whiskey - Golf
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Navy Battle Efficiency Ribbon
Bottom Row Navy Expeditionary Medal (Cuba) - National Defense Service Medal - Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Cuba)

Compass Island Class Miscellaneous Auxiliary (Navigational Research) Ship:
  • Laid down, date unknown, as SS Garden State Mariner, a Maritime Administration type (C4-S-1a) hull under Maritime Commission contract, (MA 26) at New York Shipbuilding Corp, Camden, N.J.
  • Launched, date unknown
  • Completed and delivered to the Maritime Administration, 24 October 1953
  • Transferred to the American Hawaiian SS Co., under a General Agency Agreement, 24 October 1953
  • Laid up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Hudson River Group, 5 May 1954
  • Acquired by the Navy 29 March 1956
  • Commissioned USS Compass Island (E-AG-153), 3 December 1956, CDR. J. A. Dare in command
  • Decommissioned, 1 May 1980
  • Transferred to the Maritime Administration (MARAD), 4 September 1980 for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River, Lee Hall, VA.
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 1 October 1981
  • Withdrawn from the Reserve Fleet by the Navy, 17 November 1981
  • Returned to the MARAD15 July 1982, for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River Group, Lee Hall, VA.
  • Permanent title transfer to MARAD, 9 April 1993
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping to Able UK, Hartlepool, Teeside, England, and removed from the Reserve Fleet, 16 October 2003 under tow to the United Kingdom
    Displacement 18,000 t.(fl)
    Length 563'
    Beam 76'
    Draft 28'
    Speed 20 kts.
    Propulsion steam turbine, two boilers, single shaft

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    Size Image Description Source
    Compass Island 226k USS Compass Island (E-AG-153) under way during sea trials in 1956. The mission of the Navy’s experimental ship, Compass Island is assisting in the development and evaluation of a navigational system independent of shore-based-aids. The ship’s inertial navigation system, S.I.N.S, has been called by Navy experts as the most significant navigation development since the invention of the compass.
    US Navy photo # USN 1003758
    National Museum of the US Navy
    Compass Island 158k USS Compass Island (E-AG-153) under way, circa June 1956, location unknown.
    US National Archives Photo # USN 1163559, a US Navy photo now in the collections of the US National Archives
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Compass Island 442k USS Compass Island (E-AG-153) at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, VA., 5 June 1958.
    US Navy photos.
    Michael Mohl
    Compass Island 441k
    Compass Island 471k
    Compass Island 494k
    Compass Island 95k USS Compass Island (E-AG-153) under way, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo from "All Hands" magazine, July 1959.
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.
    Compass Island 100k USS Compass Island (E-AG-153) under way, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo from "All Hands" magazine, January 1960.
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.
    Compass Island 191k USS Compass Island (E-AG-153) under way, circa 1960, location unknown.
    US Navy photo.
    Robert Hurst
    Compass Island 121k USS Compass Island (E-AG-153) mooring with the assistance of a tug at Pearl Harbor, circa 1964-65.
    US Navy photo from "All Hands" magazine, September 1975.
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.
    Compass Island 42k USS Compass Island (E-AG-153) under way, date and location unknown. Stan Gaines BMC USN Ret
    Caloosahatchee 45k "The Hartlepool Four" left to right;
    ex-USS Caloosahatchee (AO-98)
    ex-USS Canisteo (AO-99),
    ex-USS Canopus (AS-34), and
    ex-USS Compass Island (E-AG-153) awaiting the beginning of the end at Able UK, Hartlepool, Teeside, England, 4 March 2006. Scrapping is on hold due to environmental concerns.
    Photo by David Nixon

    USS Compass Island Additional Ships Patches
    Contributed by Mike Smolinski

    Compass Island Compass Island

    USS Compass Island (E-AG-153)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01CDR. Dare, James Ashton, USN (USNA 1939) :RADM3 December 1956 - December 1958
    02CAPT. Brandt, John HenryDecember 1958 - 17 October 1959
    03CAPT. Cotten, John Henderson17 October 1959 - 30 November 1960
    04CAPT. Irvine, Robert Klink (Rab), USN (USNA 1938)30 November 1961 - November 1961
    05CAPT. Dancy Jr., Charles AllenNovember 1961 - 8 November 1962
    06CAPT. Ball, George Gill8 November 1962 - October 1963
    07CAPT. Jones, John MarlinOctober 1963 - 22 September 1964
    08CAPT. Chimek, Walter22 September 1964 - 20 July 1965
    09CAPT. Coyne, William Dougherty, USN (USNA 1939)20 July 1965 - 1 July 1967
    10CAPT. Bonds, Joseph E., USN (USNA 1945)1 July 1967 - 11 July 1969
    11CAPT. Packer, Duncan, USN (USNA 1947)11 July 1969 - 16 July 1971
    12CDR. Carlson, Leland John, USN16 July 1971 - 26 January 1973
    13CDR. Kessler Jr., Edward Leo, USN (USNA 1958)26 January 1973 - 12 September 1974
    14CDR. Mace, James Allen12 September 1974 - 25 September 1976
    15CDR. Johnson, Roland Ralph, USN (USNA 1959)25 September 1976 - 26 March 1979
    16CAPT Geist, Gary Quay, USN (USNA 1959)26 March 1979 - 1 May 1980
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information
    U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation - Navy Log

    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    MARAD Vessel History Data Base
    Compass Island (AG-153) Booklet of General Plans
    Back To The Navsource Photo Archives Main Page Back To The Service Force Ship Type Index Back To The Miscellaneous Auxiliary Ship (AG) Photo Index
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
    All pages copyright NavSource Naval History
    Last Updated 11 August 2017