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NavSource Online: Mine Warfare Vessel Photo Archive

Courtesy of Mike Smolinski

Abiity (MSO 519)

Call sign:
November - Mike - Yankee - Golf

Ability Class Minesweeper:

  • Lead ship of the Ability Class Minesweepers
  • Laid down 5 March 1956 by Peterson Builders, Inc., Sturgeon Bay, WI
  • Launched 29 December 1956
  • Commissioned USS Ability (MSO-519), 4 August 1958 at the Boston Navy Yard, Charlestown, MA
  • Decommissioned in June 1970
  • Struck from the Navy Register 1 February 1971
  • Sold for scrap 3 January 1972 to Union Minerals and Alloys of New York, NY, for $17,688.


  • Displacement 934 t.
  • Length 190'
  • Beam 36'
  • Draft 12'
  • Speed 15 kts.
  • Complement 83
  • Armament: One 40mm gun mount and two .50 cal. machine guns
  • Propulsion: Two 1,400hp General Motors 8-498 diesel engines, Falk 3:1 reduction gear, two shafts, two Farrel-Birmingham controllable pitch propellers
  • Ships Service Generators: Three 100kw Delco generators drived by General Motors 6-71 diesel engines
  • Magnetic Sweep generator powered by 2,350kw Westinghouse generator driven by one General Motors 8-489 diesel engine
  • Acoustic Sweep generator 250kw variable frequency 0 - 400 for Rotovac and Wapavac operation driven by one General Motors 8-268A diesel engine
  • One 2,000 gallon per day Badger distilling plant, Hotel steam provided by two 125psi CycloTherm firetube boilers.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    Ability 100k . Richard Miller, BMCS, USNR, Ret.
    Ability 106k
    Ability 80k Underway near Charleston Naval Shipyard, 23 March 1959. On the after portion of the ship is her minesweeping gear, including the otters visible on her main and forecastle decks, and the reels of alloy cable
    U.S. Navy photo NH 96645
    Naval Historical Center
    Ability 112k c. July 1960
    Livorno, Italy
    Ability's Special Services Vehicle, a Lambretta Motor Furgone (van) purchased by the crew for $700.00. The Skipper donated $70.00.
    Photo courtesy of CDR Larry L. Hawkins, CO of Ability, 1960 - 1962
    Tom Lawson
    Ability 115k c. September 1960
    Off the coast of Nice, France
    Photo courtesy of CDR Larry L. Hawkins, CO of Ability, 1960 - 1962
    Ability 81k U.S. Navy photo from the 1960/1961 edition of Jane's Fighting Ships Robert Hurst
    Ability, Notable, Rival 115k c. 1966
    Newport, RI
    With Notable (MSO-460) and Rival (MSO-468)
    © Richard Leonhardt
    Ability 87k c. 1966. Randy Boyle, BM3, USN.
    Ability 234k c. 1966
    Valletta, Malta
    Photo from the 1966/1967 edition of Jane's Fighting Ships
    Original photo: 102 Minesweeper Website, Dick Lewis
    Replacement photo: Robert Hurst

    Commanding Officers
    01LCDR William Lee Hough, USNRetired as RADM4 August 1958 -29 April 1960
    02LCDR Larry LaRue Hawkins, USN - USNA Class of 195029 April 1960 - 6 July 1962
    03LT Theodore (Ted) Huttinger, USN - USNA Class of 19546 July 1962
    04LCDR Thomas Benjamin Potter, Jr., USN - USNA Class of 195518 July 1964
    05LCDR Cyrus Robert Christenson, USN26 May 1966
    06LT William Frederick Elwood, Jr., USN31 May 1968
    07LT John Jay Lancaster, USN29 June 1968 - 1 February 1970
    08LT Carl David Heascher, USN1 February 1970
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler, Ron Reeves and Randy Boyle

    View the Ability (MSO-519)
    DANFS history entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway website
    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    102 Minesweepers (MSO) Oceangoing Minesweepers
    Naval Minewarfare Association
    Association of Minemen
    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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