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NavSource Online: Mine Warfare Vessel Photo Archive

Courtesy of Paul Haaze

Exploit (MSO 440)

Call sign:
November - Romeo - Echo - Bravo

Aggressive Class Minesweeper:

  • The second Exploit was laid down 28 December 1951 at Higgins Inc., New Orleans, LA
  • Launched 10 April 1953
  • Commissioned USS Exploit (AM-440), 31 March 1954
  • Reclassified as an Ocean Minesweeper, MSO-440, 7 February 1955
  • Decommissioned 16 December 1993 and laid up in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility, Portsmouth, VA
  • Struck from the Navy Register 28 March 1994
  • Sold for scrap 4 December 2000 to Baltimore Marine Industries of Baltimore, MD.


  • 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 replaced by one twin 20mm gun mount, 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
    Exploit (MSO 440)
    Exploit 114k

    Modern ship builders are borrowing a leaf from the book of their predecessors, now that the magnet mine has rendered the steel minesweeper obsolete. The U.S. Navy's newest minesweeper, the USS Exploit (right) is fashioned of wood like the famed Cutty Sark (left), last of Britain's proud fleet of tea carrying clipper ships. As modern warfare opens a new era for the wooden ship on this side of the Atlantic, a British society is launching an appeal for the preservation of the ancient Cutty Sark
    United Press photo 5/5/53

    Tommy Trampp
    USS Exploit (MSO 440)
    Exploit 213k - 102 Minesweeper
    Web Site
    Dick Lewis
    Exploit 50k - .
    Exploit/Affray 69k A starboard view of the ocean minesweepers Exploit and Affray (MSO-511) moored at Naval Station Newport, RI. The minesweepers are part of the Naval Reserve Mobilization Forces. The Newport Bridge (renamed Pell Bridge) is in the background
    U.S. Navy photo DNST8311429 by JO2 Lance Johnson
    Defense Visual Information Center
    Exploit 118k U.S. Navy photo Robert M. Cieri
    Exploit 53k c. 1955
    Tommy Trampp
    Acadia 87k USS Arcadia (AD 23); Hawkins (DDR 873); McNair (DD 679); Exploit; Bulwark (MSO 425); Aggressive (MSO 422) and Bold (MSO 424).
    U.S. Navy photo from the January 1956 edition of All Hands magazine
    Joe Radigan
    Exploit 99k c. 1966
    Off the coast of Cuba
    Photo taken from USS Observer (MSO-461)
    William Robinson
    Exploit 420k Original photo: U.S. Navy photo from the March 1990 edition of All Hands magazine
    Replacement photo: 9 May 1989
    Passing Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, DC as she transits the Anacostia River
    U.S. Navy photo DN-ST-89-08169
    Original photo: Joe Radigan
    Replacement photo: Bill Gonyo
    Exploit 47k Awaiting scrapping at Baltimore Marine Industries, Baltimore, MD Save An MSO Website
    Rick Szpyrka

    Commanding Officers
    01LCDR Edward M. Akin, USN31 March 1954 - 31 December 1955
    02LT/LCDR Clarence Earl Thomas, USN31 December 1955 - 27 November 1957
    03LT/LCDR Charles Lawrence Gott, USN27 November 1957 - 2 July 1960
    04LCDR James Griffin Everett, USN2 July 1960 - 12 July 1961
    05LCDR Comer Hugh Bird, Jr., USN12 July 1961 - 1964
    06LCDR Frederic Ernest Beck, Jr., USN - USNA Class of 19501964 1965
    07LCDR Eugene Russell Walker, USN - USNA Class of 19551965 - 9 December 1966
    08LCDR Joseph Cooper Woolman, USN - USNA Class of 19579 December 1966 - 14 January 1969
    09LCDR James Allen Lindsey, USN14 January 1969 - 1970
    10LT Peter Keith Glasier, USN - USNA Class of 19621970 - December 1972
    11LT William Dillard "Wild Bill" Center, USN - USNA Class of 1968December 1972 - 1974
    12LT William Chapel Rogers, III, USN1974 - 1975
    13LCDR Douglas M. Armstrong, USN1975 - 27 August 1976
    14LCDR Michael Oscar Borns, USN - USNA Class of 197027 August 1976 - 1977
    15LT Bernard M. Bianco, USN1977 - 1978
    16LCDR David Watson, USN1978 - 2 June 1979
    17LCDR Dale Raymond Dunn, USN2 June 1979 - 1981
    18LCDR Herbert Charles Kaler, USN1981 - 5 February 1983
    19LCDR Joe R. Coffer, USN5 February 1983 - 15 November 1984
    20LCDR Johnnie F. Nemec, USN15 November 1984 - April 1987
    21LCDR Martin Edward Torrey, USNApril 1987 - 11 March 1989
    22/td>CDR William Flemming Barns, USN11 March 1989 - 15 January 1991
    23LCDR Robin M. Watters, USNR - Awarded two Legions of Merit, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, two Navy Commendation Medals and the Combat Action Ribbon
    Retired as Rear Admiral
    15 January 1991 - 31 January 1991
    24LCDR Steven Edward Thornton, USN31 January 1991 - 30 August 1991
    25LCDR Michael Wayne Reedy, USN - USNA Class of 197930 August 1991 - 15 December 1991
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler, Ron Reeves, Bill Gonyo and Joe Radigan

    View the Exploit (MSO-440)
    DANFS History entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway Website
    Additional Resources and Websites 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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    This page created by Gary P. Priolo and was maintained by Joseph M. Radigan (of blessed memory) & Michael Mohl.
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