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NavSource Online: Mine Warfare Vessel Photo Archive

Contributed by Mike Smolinski

Excel (MSO 439)

Call sign:
November - Lima - Papa - Alpha

Aggressive Class Minesweeper:

  • Laid down 9 February 1953 as AM-439 at the Higgins Corp., New Orleans, LA
  • Launched 25 September 1953
  • Reclassified as an Ocean Minesweeper (non-magnetic), MSO-439, 7 February 1955
  • Commissioned USS Excel (MSO-439), 24 February 1955
  • Decommissioned 30 September 1992
  • Struck from the Navy Register 28 March 1994 and laid up in the Reserve Fleet
  • Sold for scrap to Crowley Marine in January 2000.


  • Displacement 775 t.
  • Length 172'
  • Beam 35'
  • Draft 12'
  • Speed 14 kts.
  • Complement 78
  • Armament: As built, one 40mm gun mount and two .50 cal. machine guns. Final configuration, bow gun removed, two .50 cal. machine guns remain
  • Propulsion: Four Packard ID1700 diesel engines, replaced by four Waukasha Motors Co. diesel engines, two shafts, two controllable pitch propellers.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    USS Excel (MSO 439)
    Excel 186k . 102 Minesweeper
    Web Site
    Dick Lewis
    Excel 140k . David Buell
    Excel 127k c. 1956
    Departing Long Beach
    U.S. Navy photo
    Robert M. Cieri
    Excel 370k c. September 1979
    Naval Station Treasure Island, CA
    Excel 146k
    Excel 146k c. July 1980
    Naval Air Station Alameda, CA
    Moored forward of Gallant (MSO 489)
    Excel 146k U.S. Navy photo from the February 1983 edition of All Hands magazine. Joe Radigan
    Excel 355k 14 December 1985
    Off San Diego, CA
    U.S. Navy photo DN-ST-86-04652 by PH2 William A. Hart
    Robert Hurst
    Excel 178k c. 1990
    Probably while entering Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    Richard Miller, BMCS, USNR, Ret.
    Excel 218k 6 June 1990
    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    Photo by Rick Garcia
    Chris Howell
    Excel 95k c. 1999
    At Mare Island Naval Shipyard being stripped of useful equipment prior to scrapping
    Photo from
    Robert Hurst
    Excel 173k
    Excel 77k c. January 2000
    Being winched out of the water at Crowley Marine
    U.S. Navy photo
    Tommy Trampp
    Excel 106k c. January 2000
    Hydraulic shears breaking up starboard side at Crowley Marine
    U.S. Navy photo

    Commanding Officers
    01LT Richard G. Sipe, USN24 February 1955 - 21 April 1957
    02LCDR Donald Edward Rayner, USN21 April 1957 - 25 July 1959
    03LCDR Harmon Rube Joy, USN25 July 1959 - 18 November 1960
    04LCDR Donald D. Lemmon, USN18 November 1960 - 8 May 1963
    05LT Parker Wilkinson McClellan, USN - USNA Class of 19548 May 1963 - 1 July 1964
    06LCDR Curtis Odean Anderson, USN1 July 1964 - 17 June 1966
    07LCDR Robert L. Stanford, USN17 June 1966 - 20 November 1968
    08LCDR William J. Gost, USN20 November 1968 - 24 July 1970
    09LCDR Thomas Stephenson Althouse, USN24 July 1970 - 19 May 1972
    10LCDR Philip Walter Parish, USN19 May 1972 - 10 February 1974
    11LT Arne Maurice Peterson, USN10 February 1974 - 17 January 1976
    12LCDR Thomas Herbert Berns, USN - USNA Class of 196817 January 1976 - 19 November 1977
    13LCDR John Frederick Wozniak, USN19 November 1977 - 18 August 1979
    14LCDR Albert Thomas Church, III, USN - USNA Class of 1969
    Awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, three Legion of Merits, three Meritorious Service Medals, Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal, two Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medals and the Combat Action Ribbon - Retired as Vice Admiral
    18 August 1979 - 24 October 1981
    15LCDR John Joseph Bepko, III, USN - Retired as Rear Admiral24 October 1981 - 15 May 1983
    16LCDR John Everett Scott, USN - USNA Class of 197115 May 1983 - 27 April 1985
    17LCDR Lee M. Foley, USN27 April 1985 - 25 October 1986
    18LCDR William A. Weronko, USN25 October 1986 - 15 July 1988
    19LCDR Robert Emmett McCabe, III, USN - USNA Class of 197415 July 1988 - 10 December 1988
    20LCDR Michael Stewart O'Bryan, USN - Awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, Seven Legion of Merits and the Bronze Star
    Retired as Rear Admiral
    10 December 1988 - 9 June 1989
    21LCDR David William Hoppes, USN9 June 1989 - 7 July 1989
    22LCDR Michael McQueen Moore, USN7 July 1989 - 26 January 1991
    23LCDR James Michael Rennie, USN26 January 1991 - 30 September 1992
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler, Ron Reeves, Peter M. Leenhouts, Bill Gonyo and Joe Radigan

    View the Excel (MSO-439)
    DANFS History entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway Website
    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    102 Minesweepers (MSO) Oceangoing Minesweepers

    Back to the Main Photo Index Back to the Mine Warfare Ship Photo Index Back to the Ocean Minesweeper (MSO) Photo Index

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