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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

Contributed by Mike Smolinski

USNS Mercury (T-AGM-21)
USNS Flagstaff (T-AGM-21) (1964 - 1965)
USNS San Juan (T-AO-126) (1947 - 1958)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Hotel - Papa - Zulu
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

National Defense Service Medal

Mission Buenaventura Class Fleet Oiler / Vanguard Class Missile Range Instrumentation Ship:
  • Laid down, 30 July 1943, as a Maritime Commission type (T2-SE-A2) tanker hull, under Maritime Commission contract, (MC 1280) at Marinship Corp., Sausalito, CA.
  • Launched, 14 October 1943
  • Delivered to the Maritime Commission, 31 January 1944 upon completion, for charter to Deconhill Shipping Co.
  • Transferred to the Maritime Commission, 9 April 1946, for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Mobile, AL.
  • Acquired by the US Navy, 21 November 1947
  • Designated Mission San Juan (AO-126), and assigned to the Naval Transportation Service (NTS)
  • Transferred to the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) and placed in service as USNS Mission San Juan (T-AO-126)
  • Placed out of service, struck from the Naval Register, and transferred to the Maritime Administration for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Beaumont, TX. 12 February 1958
  • Reacquired by the Navy, 28 October 1964, for conversion at General Dynamics Shipyard, Quincy, MA., to a Missile Range Instrumentation Ship
  • Renamed USNS Flagstaff (T-AGM-21), 8 April 1965
  • Renamed USNS Mercury (T-AGM-21), 1 September 1965
  • Accepted by (MSTS) for service, 16 September 1965
  • Placed out of service and laid up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Suisun Bay, 29 October 1969
  • Struck from the Naval Register (date unknown)
  • Sold, 23 June 1970, to Matson Navigation Co. for conversion to a bulk-carrier at Willamette Iron & Steel,,Portland, OR., renamed SS Kopaa
  • Sold in February 1981 to California & Hawaii Sugar Co.
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping at Taiwan in October 1984
    (AO) 5,532 t.(lt) 23,350 t.(fl)
    (AGM) 13,882 t.(lt) 24,761 t.(fl)
    (AO) 523' 6"
    (AGM) 595'
    (AO) 68'
    (AGM) 75'
    Draft 30' (max)
    Speed 14 kts.
    (AO) 42 mariners, 17 Navy Armed Guard
    (AGM) 49 mariners, 18 scientific staff
    (AO) one single 5"/38 dual purpose gun mount, four single 3"/50 dual purpose gun mounts, four twin 40mm AA gun mounts, 4 twin 20mm AA gun mounts
    (AGM) none
    Propulsion Turbo-electric, two boilers, eight Westinghouse turbo-generators, single screw, 10,000hp

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    USNS Mercury (T-AGM-21)
    Mercury 63k Mercury (T-AGM-21) while berthing at Sidney Harbour, Australia, in 1969. Mercury was part of the command and control network for the Apollo 9 and 10 missions while in Sydney. Photo from the collection of CAPT. William Strain, USNR-R, Chief Engineer USNS Mercury late 1960s. Submitted by his son-in-law CAPT Joe A. Baker USN (Ret).
    Mercury 70k Mercury (T-AGM-21) moored pierside at Port Canaveral, circa 1967/68.
    US Navy photo.
    Robert Hurst
    Mercury 105k Mercury (T-AGM-21) under way, date and location unknown.
    NASA photo.
    Robert Hurst
    Merchant Service Matson Navigation Co.
    Mercury 83k Ex-Mercury (T-AGM-21) underway as the Matson Navigation Co.'s SS Kopaa, date and location unknown. ©Ackroyd. Gerhard Mueller-Debus
    Mercury 439k SS Kopaa dry docked at Hunters Point, San Francisco, CA., September 1978. Photo by Gerhard Mueller-Debus

    USNS Mission San Juan (T-AO-126) / USNS Mercury (T-AGM-21)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Crew Contact And Reunion Information
    Fleet Tankers Association

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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 6 February 2015