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NavSource Online: Mine Warfare Vessel Photo Archive

Surfbird (ADG 383)
ex-MSF-383
ex-AM-383



Call sign:
November - India - Foxtrot - Echo

Auk Class Minesweeper:

  • Laid down 15 February 1944 by the American Shipbuilding Co., Lorain, OH
  • Launched 31 August 1944
  • Commissioned USS Surfbird (AM-383), 25 November 1944
    Naval Vessel Register of 1 January 1949 lists plan for decommissioning and placing in reserve as December 1945
  • Decommissioned 5 June 1946 at San Diego, CA and laid up in the Pacific Reserve Fleet
  • Recommissioned 14 March 1952 at San Diego
  • Reclassified as a Fleet Minesweeper (Steel Hull), MSF-383, 7 February 1955
  • Reclassified as a Degaussing Ship, ADG-383, 15 June 1957
  • Decommissioned 18 December 1970 at Bremerton, WA and laid up in the Pacific Reserve Fleet
  • Struck from the Navy Register 21 February 1975
  • Transferred to the Maritime Administration in 1976 for disposal
  • Sold 5 December 1975 to the Pacific Northwest Salvage Co., Inc. of Seattle, WA
  • Sold again in December 1975 to Brice Industries of Fairbanks, Alaska and renamed Helenka B which was Sam Brice's deceased wife's name
  • Sold to Wel-Aska of Valdez, Alaska
  • She is still operating under the name of Helenka B and it is still running today, after 60 years
  • She was involved in the March 1989 SS Valdez oil spill clean up.

    Specifications:

  • Displacement 890 t.
  • Length 221' 1"
  • Beam 32' 2"
  • Draft 10' 9"
  • Speed 18.1 kts.
  • Complement 117
  • Armament: One 3"/50 dual purpose gun mount, two single 40mm gun mounts, six single 20mm gun mounts, one depth charge projector (hedgehog), four depth charge projectors (k-guns) and two depth charge tracks
  • Propulsion: Two 1,766shp General Motors 12-278A diesel electric drive engines, Westinghouse single reduction gear, two shafts.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    USS Surfbird (AM 383)
    Surfbird 58k Commissioning photo
    Camouflage scheme is Measure 32 Design 1M
    Original photo: USS Surfbird (AM-383) website Courtesy Ed Fournier crew member 1944-46
    Replacement photo: BMC Richard Miller, USNR, Ret.
    Surfbird 44k Camouflage scheme is Measure 32 Design 1M. Historical Collections of the Great Lakes
    Surfbird 40k 3 May 1945
    Camouflage scheme Measure 32 Design 1M
    Robert Hurst
    Surfbird 66k c. 1952
    Shortly after being recommissioned
    Photo courtesy of George Pierce
    Don Gillispie, Surfbird Webmaster
    USS Surfbird (MSF 383)
    Surfbird 98k . Russ Padden
    USS Surfbird (ADG 383)
    Surfbird 62k . USS Surfbird (AM-383) website Courtesy Wes Chapman crew member 1956-59
    Surfbird 80k
    Surfbird 89k . Robert Hurst
    Surfbird 182k U.S. Navy photo from the March 1963 edition of All Hands magazine Joe Radigan
    M/V Helenka B
    Surfbird 6k Photo courtesy of her current skipper Bruce Flanigan. Don Gillispie, Surfbird Webmaster

    Commanding Officers
    01LT R. H. Nelson, Jr., USNR25 November 1944 - 6 November 1945
    02LCDR Stig Edward Wallerstedt, USN14 March 1952 - 1955
    03LT Raul B. Perez, USN1955 - 1957
    04LCDR George Wilber Mitchell, USN1957 - 1958
    05LCDR Louis Hambley, USN1958 - 1960
    06LCDR Hans Peter Hansen, USN1960 - September 1962
    07LCDR Stanislaus Joseph Sowinski, USNSeptember 1962 - 1964
    08LCDR James E. White, USN1964 - 17 October 1966
    09LCDR Merice Tilman Nelles, USN17 October 1966 - 5 December 1967
    10LCDR Edward Morgan Williams, USN5 December 1967 - 7 November 1969
    11LCDR Neal Owen Mills, USN7 November 1969 - 16 October 1970
    12LT Raymond Eugene Anderson, USN16 October 1970 - 18 December 1970
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler, Ron Reeves and R. A. Moody

    View the Surfbird (MSF 383)
    DANFS History entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway Website
    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    USS Surfbird AM/MSF/ADG-383 "Proud Lady of the Orient"

    Back To The Main Photo Index Back To the Mine Warfare Ship Photo Index Back to the Fleet Minesweeper (MSF) Photo Index Back to the Auxiliary Ship Photo Index Back to the Degaussing Ship (ADG) Photo Index

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    This page created by Gary P. Priolo and maintained by Joe Radigan
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