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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

USNS Melville (T-AGOR-14)


International Radio Call Sign:
Whiskey - Echo - Charlie - Bravo
WECB
Robert D. Conrad Class Oceanographic Research Ship:
  • Laid down, 12 July 1967, at Defoe Shipbuilding Co., Bay City, MI.
  • Launched, 10 July 1968
  • Delivered to the Navy, 1 August 1969, as the Research Vessel USNS Melville (T-AGOR-14)
  • Chartered to Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, 1969, for operation as R/V Melville
    Specifications:
    Displacement
    As Built 1,200 t.(lt), 1,950 t.(fl)
    Modified 2,516 t.(fl)
    Length 279'
    Beam 46'
    Draft 16' 6"
    Speed 14 kts. (maximum)
    Complement 23 civilian mariners, 38 scientists
    Armament none
    Propulsion two 1,385 hp Propulsion General Electric motors, Bow Thruster: 900 hp retractable Azimuthing thruster, Two 1385 hp Z-Drive Lips propellers

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    Size Image Description Source
    Melville 91k
    Namesake
    Rear Admiral George W. Melville

    George Wallace Melville, born in New York City 10 January 1841, attended the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute before enlisting in the Navy Engineer Corps as third assistant engineer 29 July 1861. He served with distinction in the Civil War and the years following. In 1873 he volunteered for duty as Chief Engineer of Tigress for her rescue in Baffin Bay of 19 survivors of the Polaris expedition to the Arctic. Lieutenant Melville next volunteered to join the Jeannette expedition, departing San Francisco, Calif., 7 August 1879 to seek an ocean passage to the Atlantic by way of Siberia. Jeannette became icebound in September and, after 2 years of effort to save her, was crushed by floes in the Laptev Sea and sank 12 June 1881. Melville led the only boat party to reach safety in Lena Delta, Siberia. He then returned north to find the frozen bodies of Jeannette’s commanding officer, Lt. George W. Delong, and his party lost in July. Congress rewarded Melville for his gallantry and resourcefulness by advancing him 15 numbers on the promotion list and awarding him a medal. Following his next assignment in 1884 as Chief Engineer of Thetis for the Greely Relief Expedition, President Grover Cleveland appointed Melville Chief of the Bureau of Steam Engineering 9 August 1887. During his administration of over 16 years, Melville superintended the design of 120 ships of the “New Navy” and introduced such widely acclaimed innovations, as the water tube boiler, vertical engines, and the repair ship. Promoted to rear admiral 3 March 1899, he was appointed Engineer in Chief of the Navy 6 December 1900. The author of many technical articles and one book, “In the Lena Delta,” Admiral Melville retired 10 January 1903 and died in Philadelphia, Pa., 17 March 1912.
    Photo: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
    Bill Gonyo
    USNS Melville (T-AGOR-14)
    Melville 74k USNS Melville (T-AGOR-14) Underway off Bay City, Michigan, 9 July 1969 during builders trials.
    US Navy photo # NH 98937 from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Melville 69k USNS Melville (T-AGOR-14) Underway off Bay City, Michigan, 9 July 1969 during builders trials.
    US Navy photo # NH 98939 from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Melville 62k USNS Melville (T-AGOR-14) Underway off Bay City, Michigan, 9 July 1969 during builders trials.
    US Navy photo # NH 98938 from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Melville 18k USNS Melville (T-AGOR-14) underway for sea trials, builders photo Defoe Shipbuilding Co. web site
    RV Melville
    Melville 94k R/V Melville, date and location unknown. Scripps Institution of Oceanography web site
    Melville 57k RV Melville, date and location unknown. Scripps Institution of Oceanography web site
    Melville 62k RV Melville in dry dock, date and location unknown. Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.
    Melville 29k RV Melville underway date and location unknown.
    Photo courtesy Scripps Institute of Oceanography.
    Robert Hurst

    USNS Melville (T-AGOR-14)
    DANFS history entry located at the US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    Scripps Institute of Oceanography - R/V Melville
    Navy Oceanographic Research Ship (AGOR) Designator Listing

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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 1 June 2012