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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

Contributed by Mike Smolinski

Contributed by Al Grazevich

USS Skywatcher (AGR-3)
USS Skywatcher (YAGR-3) (1955 - 1958)

JANAP Tactical Voice Radio Call Sign - Slave Driver (J)uliet - Section 6A of JANAP 119(F) 1968
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Navy Expeditionary Service Medal (4-Cuba) - National Defense Service Medal

Guardian Class Radar Picket Ship:
  • Laid down as SS Rafeal R. Rivera, 30 November 1944, a Maritime Commission type (Z-EC2-S-C5) hull, under Maritime Commission contract (MCE hull 2337), at J. A. Jones Construction Co. Inc., Panama City, FL.
  • Launched, 16 January 1945
  • Delivered, 30 January 1945 to the Maritime Commission to be operated by States Marine Lines under a War Shipping Administration (WSA) contract
  • Returned to the Maritime Commission, 26 October 1947, for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet
  • Acquired by the US Navy, 20 September 1954, for conversion to a Radar Picket Ship at Charleston Naval Shipyard, Charleston, S.C.
  • Commissioned, USS Skywatcher (YAGR-3), 29 March 1955, at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, VA., LCDR. John Ante Jr. USN in command
  • Redesignated (AGR-3), 28 September 1958
  • Decommissioned, 29 March 1965
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 1 April 1965
  • Transferred to the Maritime Commission for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 23 December 1970, to Dawood Cord., Ltd., of Karachi, Pakistan, resold to German buyers and again resold. In December 1971 arrived at Santander, Germany for scrapping
    Displacement 7,360 t.(fl)
    Length 441'
    Beam 57'
    Draft 27'
    Speed 11 kts.
    13 officers
    138 enlisted
    Armament two 3"/50 guns
    Fuel Oil, 443,646 gals.
    Diesel, 68,267 gals.
    Fresh Water, 15,082 gals.
    Ballast, 1,326,657 gals fresh water
    two 220 PSI boilers
    one 3 cylinder triple-expansion reciprocating engine,
    one 4 blade, 18' 6" propeller, 2,500shp
    two Ship's Service Generators

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    Size Image Description Contributed By
    USS Skywatcher (YAGR-3)
    67k Especially designed for the transport of Tanks and Boxed Airplanes the Z-EC-S-C5 type had the same hull-form as the EC2-S-C1 type but with large hatches and heavier loading gear. Typical for this type is the arrangement of two pairs of kingposts each on the forecastle and poop contrary to the two single kingposts on the forecastle and one kingpost on the poop with the EC2-S-C1 basic design. All vessels remained under US Flag and Registry after WWII and were laid up.
    United States Maritime Commission 1936 thru 1950
    John Spivey
    Skywatcher 50k USS Skywatcher (YAGR-3) underway, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo from "All Hands" magazine, August 1957
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.
    USS Skywatcher (AGR-3)
    Thor 264k Aerial view of Boston Navy Yard, looking Southwest, 1 April 1960. Photo taken by a helicopter from Naval Air Station South Weymouth. Ships and Craft present:
    LocationShip (Hull No.)Ship Type
    Pier 11USS Wasp (CVS-18)Aircraft Carrier
    Dry Dock 5ARD-16Floating Dry Dock
    In ARD-16YFND-23Dry Dock Companion Craft
    Pier 10Empty 
    Pier 9EUSS Macon (CA-132)
    Heavy Cruiser
    Floating Crane
    Pier 9WUSS Hugh Purvis (DD-709)Destroyer
    Pier 8EUSS Thor (ARC-4)
    Cable Layer
    Floating Pile Driver
    Pier 7EUSS Springfield (CLG-7)Guided Missile Light Cruiser
    Pier 7WEmpty 
    Pier 6EUSS Perry (DD-844)Destroyer
    Pier 6WUSS Mitscher (DL-2)Destroyer Leader
    Pier 5EUSS Albany (CG-10)Guided Missile Heavy Cruiser
    Pier 5WUSS Yosemite (AD-19)Destroyer Tender
    Pier 4EEmpty 
    Pier 4WUSS Skywatcher (AGR-3)Radar Picket Ship
    U.S. Navy photo, Boston NHP Collection, NPS Cat. No. BOSTS-10111)
    Stephen P. Carlson, Preservation Specialist, Boston NHP, Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston, MA 02129
    Skywatcher 70k USS Skywatcher (AGR-3) underway, date and location unknown. Bob Rowe RD3 Skywatcher 1955 to 1959.
    Skywatcher 260k USS Skywatcher (AGR-3) on station in the North Atlantic, circa May 1962. Photo by Dave Sutherland ET2 Skywatcher 1961 to 1963.
    Skywatcher 88k USS Skywatcher (AGR-3) moored outboard of USS Investigator (AGR-9), date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo.
    Richard Miller BMCS USNR Ret.
    Vigil 176k Left to right: Ex-USS Investigator (AGR-9), ex-USS Skywatcher (AGR-3) and ex-USS Vigil (AGR-12) laid up in the Hudson River National Defense Reserve Fleet, date unknown Russ Padden and Tim Rizzuto

    USS Skywatcher (YAGR-3 / AGR-3)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01LCDR. Ante Jr., John USN29 March 1955 - 15 June 1956YAGR-3
    02LCDR. Jackson, Floyd Frederic USNR15 June 1956 - 24 April 1958 YAGR-3
    03LCDR. Leedy, Gerald Floyd USN24 April 1958 - 7 December 1959YAGR-3/AGR-3
    04LCDR. McVicker, Robert Joseph USN7 December 1959 - 12 September 1961AGR-3
    05LCDR. Brogan, Arnold Herbert USN12 September 1961 - 22 February 1964AGR-3
    06LCDR. Strong, William Leroy, USN22 February 1964 - 29 March 1965AGR-3
    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
    YAGR's (Radar Picket Ships) Association
    Online Air Defense Radar Museum
    MARAD Vessel History Database
    Back To The Main Photo Index Back To the Service Ship Type Index Back To The Radar Picket Ship (AGR) Photo Index
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
    All pages copyright NavSource Naval History
    Last Updated 13 October 2023