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NavSource Online: Mine Warfare Vessel Photo Archive

USS Discoverer (ARS 3)

Call sign:
Nan - Queen - Mike - Nan

ex-USC&GS Discoverer

Call sign (1924):
Nan - Item - Jig - Tare

Call sign (1933):
William - Tare - Easy - Baker

ex-USS Auk (AM 38)
ex-USS Auk (Minesweeper No. 38)

Call sign (1919):
George - Boy - Cast - Fox

Auk served both the U. S. Navy and the Coast & Geodetic Survey

Auk served the Navies of the United States and Venezuela

Lapwing Class Minesweeper:

  • Laid down 20 June 1918 by the Todd Shipyard Corp., New York City, NY
  • Launched 28 September 1918
  • Commissioned USS Auk, Minesweeper No. 38, 31 January 1919 at New York Navy Yard
  • Designated AM-38, 17 July 1920
  • Transferred to the Coast and Geodetic Survey 7 April 1922 and renamed USC&GS Discoverer. Commemorated by Discoverer Bay, Kodiak Island, Alaska, and Discoverer Island, a small island in that bay
  • Returned to U.S. Navy custody 26 August 1941
  • Reclassified as a Rescue and Salvage Ship, ARS-3 and placed in service with a civilian crew
  • Struck from the Naval Register 28 January 1947 and transferred to the Maritime Commission for disposal
    Naval Vessel Register of 1 January 1949 lists plan for transfer to the War Shipping Administration as June 1947
  • Transferred to Venezuela 9 June 1947 and renamed Felipe Larrazábal (R-11)
  • Decommissioned in 1962 and abandoned.


  • Displacement 840 t.
    1933 - 1,180 t.
  • Length 187' 10"
    1933 - 180'
  • Beam 35' 5"
  • Draft 8' 10"
    1933 - 12.6'
  • Speed 14 kts.
  • Complement 85
    1933 - 69
  • Armament: Two 3"/50 dual purpose mounts
    1941 - One 20mm mount or smaller
  • Propulsion: Two Babcock and Wilcox 200psi boilers, one 1,200shp Harlan and Hollingsworth Corp. triple expansion engine, one shaft
    1933 - 1,400hp.

    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    USS Auk (Minesweeper No. 38)
    Auk 30k

    Auk - A diving bird native to the colder climates of the northern hemisphere

    Tommy Trampp
    Woodcock 110k While taking part in clearing the North Sea mine barrage, "The fleet put in to Stavanger, a bustling town in Norway, made prosperous by the war." (quoted from the original 1919 vintage caption). USS Woodcock (Minesweeper No. 14) is in the foreground. In the left background are (from front to rear): USS SC-356, USS SC-40, USS Eider (Minesweeper No. 17), USS Sanderling (Minesweeper No. 37) - probable identification, is Auk and an unidentified minesweeper
    U. S. Navy photo from the Navy Recruitment Bureau, New York
    U.S. Navy photo NH 99789
    Naval Historical Center
    Pelican 56k Photo from "Sweeping the North Sea Mine Barrage" by the U.S. Navy North Sea Minesweeping Detachment Joe Radigan
    Auk 73k
    Auk 91k
    Auk 315k
    Auk 73k Auk, in heavy seas en route to Bermuda, attempting to take on fuel from Black Hawk (Destroyer Tender No. 9), 10 November 1919. The weathered remains of Auk's single letter code, from her service in the North Sea mine clearance operation, is visible beneath her bow number
    U.S. Navy photo NH 45252
    Original photo: Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
    Replacement photo: Robert Hurst
    USC&GS Discoverer
    Auk 113k Towing USC&GS Westdahl to the Alaska working grounds
    Photo theb3932 from NOAA's Fleet Then and Now - Sailing for Science Collection
    Robert Hurst
    Auk 90k Photos theb0195, theb0196, and theb3933 from NOAA's Fleet Then and Now - Sailing for Science Collection
    Auk 96k
    Auk 107k
    Auk/Discoverer 102k Postcard of Discoverer at Seward, Alaska
    Published by Schallerer's Alaska Shop in Seward
    David Wright
    Photo added 16 January 2022
    Auk 292k c. 1925
    Gulf of Alaska
    Photo courtesy of the Family of Rear Admiral Paul A. Smith, C&GS
    Photo theb0104 from NOAA's Fleet Then and Now - Sailing for Science Collection
    Robert Hurst
    Auk 102k c. 1930's
    BuShips photo 25330 from the National Archives
    Mike Green
    Auk 67k c. 1931
    In the Pacific
    Captain Harry Garber, C&GS
    Photo theb0103 from NOAA's Fleet Then and Now - Sailing for Science Collection
    Robert Hurst
    Auk 126k c. 1935
    Aleutian Islands, AK
    Original photo: Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy
    Replacement photo: NOAA Website
    Flamingo 166k 4 July 1939
    Dutch Harbor, Unalaska Island, Alaska
    Coast and Geodetic Survey Ships Guide, ex-Flamingo (AM 32) (in foreground) and Discoverer. Taking on fuel from USS Chester (CA 27)
    NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library; C&GS Season's Report Eickelberg 1939-32.
    NOAA Website
    Auk 108k c. 1940
    Old Woman's Bay, Kodiak Island, Alaska
    Survey crew heading out from Discoverer
    Photo theb0084 from NOAA's Fleet Then and Now - Sailing for Science Collection
    Robert Hurst
    Felipe Larrazábal (R-11)
    Auk 211k Venezuelan Navy photo David Wright
    Auk 51k c. 1952
    Venezuelan Navy photo
    Robert Hurst
    Auk 124k Original photo: c. 2009
    Abandoned somewhere in Venezuela
    Replacement photo: 24 February 2015
    Puerto Cabello, Venezuela
    Photo from Website
    Original photo: Tim Schwabedissen
    Replacement photo: David Wright

    Commanding Officers
    01LT Gregory Cullen, USN - Awarded the Navy Cross (1919)
    Retired as Lieutenant
    31 January 1919
    02LCDR H. A. Seran, USCGS29 April 1922
    Courtesy Joe Radigan

    View the Auk (AM-38)
    DANFS History entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway Website
    Back to the Main Photo Index Back to the Mine Warfare Ship Photo Index Back to the Minesweeper (AM) Photo Index Back to the Auxiliary Ship Photo Index Back to the Rescue and Salvage Ship (ARS) Photo Index

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    This page created by Gary P. Priolo and maintained by Joseph M. Radigan (of blessed memory)
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