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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

USNS James M. Gilliss (T-AGOR-4)

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

Precedence of awards is from left to right
National Defense Service Medal

USNS James M. Gilliss (T-AGOR-4) was transferred to Mexico, renamed Altair (H-05)
Robert D. Conrad Class Oceanographic Research Ship:
  • Laid down, 31 May 1961, at Christy Corp, Sturgeon Bay, WI.
  • Launched, 19 May 1961
  • Delivered to the Navy, 5 October 1962
  • Placed in service by MSC, 5 November 1962 as USNS James M. Gilliss (T-AGOR-4)
  • Placed out of service, date unknown
  • Laid up, 18 March 1980, in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Beaumont, TX.
  • Withdrawn, 14 June 1982, by US Navy for removal of equipment
  • Transferred, to Mexico under terms of the Security Assistance Act, 9 December 1996
  • Renamed Altair (H-05)
  • Current Disposition, active in Mexican service as a Oceanographic Research Ship
    Displacement 1,200 t.(lt) 1,370 t.(fl)
    Length 209'
    Beam 40'
    Draft 16'
    Speed 12 kts.
    Complement 23 civilian mariners, 38 scientists
    Propulsion diesel-electric, single propeller, 2,500shp, retractable azmuthing bow thruster

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    James M. Gilliss 115k

    James Melville Gilliss, born 6 September 1811 in Georgetown, D.C., entered the Navy as Midshipman at the age of 15. From the beginning of his service, he was active in scientific work and in improving the quality of navigation in the Navy. He was placed in charge of the Depot of Charts and Instruments at Washington, D.C., in 1837, and in the 1840's was instrumental in establishing the famed Naval Observatory there. In 1846 he published Astronomical Observations, a pioneer work in the field; and, from 1849 to 1852, he led an astronomical observation expedition to South America where he established an observatory at Santiago, Chile. Continuing his important astronomical and meteorological work, Captain Gilliss replaced Matthew Fontaine Maury as head of the Naval Observatory at the beginning of the Civil War. During the war he equipped Naval vessels with charts and instruments and directed important scientific work at the observatory. Captain Gilliss died 8 February 1865.
    Bill Gonyo
    James M. Gilliss 104k USNS James M. Gilliss (T-AGOR-4) under way, 14 December 1962, location unknown. Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret
    James M. Gilliss 58k USNS James M. Gilliss (T-AGOR-4) under way, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo from DANFS.
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret
    James M. Gilliss 86k USNS James M. Gilliss (T-AGOR-4) under way, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo from 1968-69 Edition of "Jane's Fighting Ships"
    Robert Hurst

    USNS James M. Gilliss (T-AGOR-4)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Crew Contact And Reunion Information
    U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation - Navy Log
    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    MARAD Vessel History Database
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 25 August 2017