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NavSource Online: Mine Warfare Vessel Photo Archive

Courtesy of Al Grazevich

Courtesy of Tommy Trampp

Bittern (MHC 43)

Coastal Minesweeper (Underwater Locator)/Bittern Class Coastal Minehunter:

  • Laid down 18 August 1955 by the Consolidated Shipbuilding Corp., City Island, NY
  • Launched 4 March 1957
  • Commissioned USS Bittern (AMCU 43), 26 August 1957
  • Reclassified as a Coastal Minehunter, MHC-43, 7 February 1958
  • Decommissioned 1 September 1965
  • Struck from the Navy Register 1 February 1972
  • Sold in 1973 to the Southern Maine Technical College of South Portland, ME as a training vessel for professional mariners, renamed Aqualab and served until 1996
  • Sold for scrap 19 December 2000 to Baltimore Marine Industries of Baltimore, MD.


  • Displacement 358 t.
  • Length 144' 5"
  • Beam 28'
  • Draft 8'
  • Speed 14 kts.
  • Complement 44
  • Armament: One 40mm mount, two 20mm mounts and two depth charge projectors
  • Propulsion: Two 600shp General Motors diesel engines, two shafts.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    Bittern (AMCU 43)
    Bittern 104k Namesake: Bittern is a bird of the heron family Tommy Trampp
    Bittern 27k Launching Gunter Krebs
    Bittern 68k Launching
    U.S. Navy photo from the February 1958 edition of All Hands magazine
    Joe Radigan
    USS Bittern (MHC 43)
    Bittern 27k Bittern was the last vessel built by Consolidated Shipbuilding before they closed down in 1958
    City Island Nautical Museum photo
    Tom Nye
    Bittern 55k Bittern showing her single 40mm Bofors gun forward, boats and minesweeping gear aft
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo
    Robert Hurst
    Bittern 173k Original photo: c. 1958
    Replacement photo: c. 1958
    U.S. Navy photo
    Original photo: Gunter Krebs
    Replacement photo: Robert Hurst
    Bittern 205k c. October 1959
    Bittern in company with HMS Shoulton (M 1182) en route to Key West, FL from Norfolk, VA
    Dale Meyer
    Photos added 29 October 2020
    Bittern 278k c. October 1959
    Departing Norfolk, VA
    Bittern 190k c. October 1959
    Key West, FL
    Bittern 55k U.S. Navy photo from the March 1960 edition of All Hands magazine Joe Radigan
    Bittern 80k c. December 1960
    Newspaper clipping concerning Project Mercury Little Joe V recovery
    Dale Meyer
    Photo added 29 October 2020
    Bittern 235k c. 1967
    U.S. Navy photo
    Robert Hurst
    Bittern 42k 15 January 2001
    Baltimore Marine Industries
    Save An MSO Website
    Dick Lewis

    Commanding Officers
    01LTJG George Caleb Simpkins, USN26 August 1957
    02LT John Watson, USN1959 - December 1960
    03LCDR Webster Web Grewe, USNDecember 1960 - July 1962
    ??LT Richard Grayson Porter, USN
    Courtesy of Wolfgang Hechler, Ron Reeves and Joe Radigan

    View the USS Bittern (MHC 43) Crew Photos
    View the Bittern (MHC 43)
    DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command website
    Back to the Main Photo Index Back to the Mine Warfare Ship Photo Index Back to the Coastal Minesweeper (Underwater Locator), (AMCU) Photo Index Back to the Coastal Minehunter (MHC) Photo Index

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    This page created by and maintained by Joseph M. Radigan
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