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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

Left Patch Contributed by Mike Smolinski, Right Patch Contributed by Frank Pulaski, USS Searcher web site and YAGR exhibit, USS Massachusetts

Contributed by Al Grazevich

USS Searcher (AGR-4)
USS Searcher (YAGR-4) (1955 - 1958)

JANAP Tactical Voice Radio Call Sign - Fancy Ball (Z)ulu - Section 6A of JANAP 119(F) 1968
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from left to right
Navy Expeditionary Medal (2-Cuba) - National Defense Service Medal

Guardian Class Radar Picket Ship:
  • Laid down, 11 December 1944, as SS James W. Wheeler, a Maritime Commission type (Z-EC2-S-C5) hull, under Maritime Commission contract (MCE hull 2338), at J. A. Jones Construction Co. Inc., Panama City, FL.
  • Launched, 23 January 1945
  • Delivered, 5 February 1945 to the Maritime Commission to be operated by Calmar Steamship Co. under a WSA contract
  • Returned to the Maritime Commission, 29 October 1945, for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River Group
  • Withdrawn from reserve and leased to Grace Lines Inc, 4 February 1947
  • Laid up. 1 October 1947, in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Wilmington, N.C. Group
  • Custody transferred to US Navy, 19 September 1954, at Wilmington, N.C.
  • Towed the Charleston Naval Shipyard, Charleston, S.C. for conversion to a Radar Picket Ship
  • Commissioned, USS Searcher (YAGR-4), 2 April 1955, at Charleston Naval Shipyard, Charleston, S. C., LCDR. James A. Paulick in command
  • Redesignated (AGR-4), 28 September 1958
  • Decommissioned, and struck from the Naval Register, 1 July 1965
  • Transferred to the Maritime Commission for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Hudson River, N.Y.
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, to North American Smelting Co., Wilmington, DE., delivered, 31, May 1970
    Displacement 10,760 t.(fl)
    Length 441' 6"
    Beam 56' 11"
    Draft 24'
    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

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed By
    USS Searcher (YAGR-4)
    Scanner 13k USS Searcher (YAGR-4) underway, date and location unknown. Donated by Erv Thomure to
    Frank Pulaski USS Searcher web site
    Scanner 327k USS Searcher (YAGR-4) was damaged by fire in the engine room and starboard fuel tank while underway in the Atlantic Ocean, 13 November 1955. It took six hours to extinguish this fire. This stern view of Searcher was taken from the bridge of the Coast Guard Cutter USCGC Ingham (WHEC-35), whose lines are aboard the stricken vessel. The fire occurred 100 nautical miles off New York City at 0600 hours. Ingham was the first ship to answer the call for aid. Official U.S. Coast Guard photo. Robert M Cieri
    Scanner 52k Smoke darkens the sky as it pours from USS Searcher (YAGR-4) while under way in the Atlantic Ocean, 13 November 1955. The fire exploded fuel tanks, killing three men and injuring 10. The fire was brought under control six hours later. Overhead flies a Coast Guard PBM rescue plane which flew three of the of the most severely injured men of Searcher to New York City. Photos were taken by Coast Guard Warrant Officer W. H. Becker from the USCGC Ingham (WHEC-35) which transferred the injured men from Searcher to the rescue plane.
    US Coast Guard photos via AP wire service.
    Tommy Trampp
    Scanner 43k
    Scanner 57k
    Scanner 132k Aerial view of USS Searcher (YAGR-4) underway off the coast of New England, 29 September 1956.
    NAS Quonset Point photo NA43-5183, Boston National Historical Park Collection, NPS Cat. No. BOSTS-14209
    Stephen P. Carlson, Preservation Specialist, Boston NHP, Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston, MA.
    USS Searcher (AGR-4)
    Scanner 75k USS Searcher (AGR-4) underway, 6 September 1960, location unknown.
    US Navy photo.
    Robert M. Cieri
    Scanner 105k USS Searcher (AGR-4) underway, 9 September 1960, location unknown.
    US Navy photo.
    Robert M. Cieri
    Scanner 79k USS Searcher (AGR-4) underway, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo.
    Robert M. Cieri
    Scanner 60k USS Searcher (AGR-4) underway at Norfolk, VA., date unknown.
    US Navy photo.
    Richard Miller BMCS USNR Ret.
    Scanner 109k USS Searcher (AGR-4) moored pierside Boston Army Piers, date unknown.
    ©Don E Gammon.
    Submitted by David Nixon
    Scanner 1186k Pictured on the quarterdeck of USS Searcher (AGR-4), 12 October 1963, while at her homeport of Davisville, R.I. are Anthony J Cieri, Jr. SF1, USN, at right, and his son Harry M. Cieri EN2, USN, at left. They reported aboard for duty as the only father and son to serve together aboard an AGR.
    US Navy photo.
    Robert M. Cieri
    Scanner 81k USS Searcher (AGR-4) plaque. Tommy Trampp

    USS Searcher (YAGR / AGR-4)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01LCDR. Paulick, James Albert USN2 April 1955 - 6 July 1956YAGR-4
    02LCDR. Meyers, Arthur Julian USN (41)6 July 1956 - 29 December 1956YAGR-4
    03LCDR. Kilduff Jr., Thomas Francis USN29 December 1956 - 17 January 1957YAGR-4
    04LCDR. Irwin, William Frederick Halsey USN17 January 1957 - 7 March 1958YAGR-4
    05LCDR. Lindsay, William Alexander USN7 March 1958 - 11 March 1960YAGR-4/AGR-4
    06LCDR. Bailey, Richard Taylor USN (39)11 March 1960 - 29 December 1961AGR-4
    07LCDR. Schroeder, Robert Alan USN29 December 1961 - 19 June 1964AGR-4
    08LT. Fryberger Jr., Elbert. Lee USN (54)19 June 1964 - 1 July 1965AGR-4
    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
    USS Searcher AGR-4
    YAGR's (Radar Picket Ships) Association
    Online Air Defense Radar Museum
    Back To The Navsource Photo Archives Main Page 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
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    Last Updated 2 February 2018