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NavSource Online: Mine Warfare Vessel Photo Archive

Courtesy of Al Grazevich

Left patch courtesy of Roy Reel, right patchs courtesy of Mike Smolinski

Observer (MSO 461)

Aggressive Class Minesweeper:

  • Laid down 20 July 1953 as AM-461 at Higgins Inc., New Orleans, LA
  • Launched 19 October 1954
  • Reclassified as an Ocean Minesweeper, MSO-461, 7 February 1955
  • Commissioned USS Observer (MSO-461), 31 August 1955
  • Struck from the Navy Register 1 September 1977
  • Sold for scrap 1 April 1979 by Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service to Union Minerals and Alloys Corp. of New York, NY for $20,250.


  • Displacement 630 t.(lt), 755 t.(fl)
  • Length 172'
  • Beam 35'
  • Draft 10'
  • Speed 14 kts.
  • Complement 80
  • Armament: As built, one 40mm gun mount (40mm mount later removed and replaced with two .50 cal. machine guns mounted on the bridge wings)
  • Propulsion: Four Packard ID1700 diesel engines, two shafts, two controllable pitch propellers.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    Observer 31k Ronie Mooney and Dick Lewis
    102 Minesweepers Website
    Observer 60k Robert Hurst
    Observer 102k Richard Miller, BMCS, USNR, Ret.
    Notable 93k 22 January 1964
    Charleston, SC
    USS Notable (MSO 460), USS Salute (MSO-470) and Observer alongside the internal combustion engine repair ship USS Tutuila (ARG-4)
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo USN 1084462
    Robert Hurst
    Notable 80k c. 1968
    Observer outboard of Notable (MSO 460)
    Photo by EN3 Frank Bosler
    Tom Lawson

    Commanding Officers
    01LCDR Paul Henry Barkley, USN - Retired as Captain31 August 1955 - 1956
    02LT Franklin Peter Faughman, USN1956
    03LCDR William Burton Robinson, Jr., USN1959
    04LCDR Robert Walter Bauman, USN1960 - 23 February 1962
    05LCDR/CDR Leonard Howard Nettnin, USN23 February 1962 - 12 April 1964
    06LT/LCDR John Lindley Jones, USN12 April 1964 - 1966
    07LCDR John Edward Mhoon, USN1966 - March 1968
    08LT/LCDR William Clarence Wheaton, USN - USNA Class of 1959March 1968 - November 1969
    09LT/LCDR Theodore Charles "Ted" Lockhart, USN - Awarded two Legions of Merit, two Meritorious Service Medals and the Navy Commendation Medal
    Retired as Rear Admiral
    November 1969 - June 1971
    10LCDR Gary Wayne Zwirschitz, USNJune 1971 - 28 July 1972
    ??LCDR Robert King, USN
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler, Ron Reeves, Bill Gonyo and Joe Radigan

    View the Observer (MSO-461)
    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 Ocean Minesweeper (MSO) Photo Index

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    This page was created by Gary P. Priolo & maintained by Joseph M. Radigan & Michael Mohl
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