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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

Contributed by Bill Valashinas

USNS Harkness (T-AGS-32)

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from left to right top to bottom
Top Row - Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation (2)
Bottom Row - National Defense Service Medal - Southwest Asia Service Medal - Humanitarian Service Medal (Op. Intense Look)

Chauvenet Class Hydrographic Survey Ship:
  • Laid down, 30 June 1967, at Upper Clyde Shipbuilding Corp., Glasgow, Scotland
  • Launched, 12 June 1968
  • Harkness was turned over to the US Navy in a ceremony at the Boston Navy Yard, 30 April 1971
  • Placed in service with the Military Sealift Command (MSC) as USNS Harkness (T-AGS-32), 29 January 1971
  • Between August and October 1984 Harkness participated in Operation Intense Look, an airborne search for mines in the Gulf of Suez and the Red Sea in support of the governments of Egypt and Saudi Arabia
  • Harkness operated in the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm
  • Deactivated, 13 February 1993
  • Entered the National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River Group, Lee Hall, VA., 29 March 1993
  • Transferred to New York for drydocking and repairs, from 10 August 1993 to 8 November 1993
  • Transferred to Brooklyn, 28 February 1994, for conversion for use as a merchant marine academy non-operational training ship
  • Transferred to the State University of New York (SUNY) New York Maritime Academy at Fort Schuyler for use as a non-operational training ship
  • Harkness departed Fort Schuyler, temporarily, under tow, 28 February 2001, to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay, to serve as a stationary facility while the Academy's regular training ship was away for overhaul
  • Custody transferred, 8 January 2002, to to the New York Maritime Academy for use as a non-operational training ship
  • Returned to MARAD custody, 1 July 2005, at the National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River Group, Lee Hall, VA.
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, date unknown, to All Star Metals, Brownsville, TX.
  • Withdrawn from the National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River, Lee Hall, VA.,19 October 2017, in tow, tug Ernest Campbell, enroute to Brownsville, TX.
    Displacement 3.03 t.(lt) 3,540 t. (fl)
    Length 392'"
    Beam 54'
    Draft 16'7"
    13 Merchant Officers
    26 Merchant Seamen
    13 Merchant Officers
    26 Merchant Seamen
    6 Officers
    48 Enlisted
    Scientific party 12
    Armament none
    one Raytheon TM 1650/6X
    one Raytheon TM 1660/12S
    Endurance 90 days
    Fuel 824 t. Diesel
    Range, 9,300nm at 14kts, 15,000 at 12kts
    two ALCO 251 V-12 Diesel engines, Westinghouse electric motor
    Electric, 1,500kw
    single shaft 3,600hp

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    Size Image Description Source
    Harkness 47k

    William Harkness (December 17, 1837 February 28, 1903) was an astronomer, born at Ecclefechan, Scotland on December 17, 1837, a son of James Harkness (180378). He was educated at Lafayette College (185456), graduated from the University of Rochester (1858), and studied medicine in New York City. He served as a surgeon in the Union armies during part of the American Civil War. From 1862 to 1865 he was an aid in the United States Naval Observatory and then, after service on the monitor Monadnock {1}(186566), was employed in the Hydrographic Office. During the eclipse of August, 1869, Harkness discovered the coronal line K 1474. Three years later he was made a member of the Transit of Venus Commission, had charge of the party at Hobart, Tasmania, in 1879, and at Washington in 1882, when he became the executive officer. His most memorable accomplishments are related to the construction of telescopes, his theory of the focal curve of achromatic telescopes, and on his invention of the spherometer caliper, and other astronomical instruments. He was astronomical director of the Naval Observatory (189499) and director of the Nautical Almanac (189799). He retired two days after attaining the relative rank of rear admiral (December, 1899). He was president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1893). Of his works, The Solar Parallax and its Related Constants (1891) is the most important. Harkness died in Jersey City on February 28, 1903 at the age of 66.
    Image from the magazine "Popular Science" for May, 1903
    Bill Gonyo
    Harkness 75k USNS Harkness (T-AGS-32) launching at Upper Clyde Shipbuilding Corp., Glasgow, Scotland, 12 June 1968.
    US Navy photo from DANFS.
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.
    Harkness 183k USNS Harkness (T-AGS-32) fitting out at Glasgow, Scotland, in 1969.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command, Photo No. NH 79141
    Mike Green
    Chauvenet 295k USNS Chauvenet (T-AGS-29) and USNS Harkness (T-AGS-32) fitting out at the Upper Clyde Shipbuilding Corp., Glasgow, Scotland in 1969. Michael Marshall
    Chauvenet 206k
    Harkness 44k USNS Harkness (T-AGS-32) underway, date and location unknown. Bill Valashinas
    Harkness 467k USNS Harkness (T-AGS-32) at anchor in the harbor at Genoa, Italy, 22 December 1972 Photos by Carlo Martinelli
    Harkness 312k
    Harkness 25k USNS Harkness (T-AGS-32) at anchor, date and location unknown. Ron Reeves
    Harkness 175k USNS Harkness (T-AGS-32) at anchor, date and location unknown. Maritime Administration (MARAD)
    Harkness 142k USNS Harkness (T-AGS-32) under way, date and location unknown. Maritime Administration (MARAD)
    Harkness 26k Logo for Naval Oceanographic Unit 5 embarked in USNS Harkness. The large star represented the Harkness while the four smaller stars represented the four HSLs. The design was created by LCDR Pigeon, then CO of the unit, circa 1972-73. Photo courtesy Bill Valashinas. Caption courtesy LI1 David Saunders USNS Harkness
    MARAD James River Group Reserve Fleet
    Kittiwake 188k Ex-USNS Harkness (T-AGS-32), ex-USS Kittiwake (ASR-13) and ex-USCGC Escape (WMEC-6) laid up in reserve in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River Group, in April 2005. Photo by Ed Zajkowski
    Ortolan 102k From left to right; ex-USS Cape Cod (AD-43), ex-USNS Harkness (T-AGS-32), ex-USS Kittiwake (ASR-13), ex-USCGC Escape (WMEC-6), and ex-USS Ortolan (ASR-22) laid up in reserve in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River Group, Lee Hall, VA., 9 April 2009 Photo Mike Hibbard
    Harkness 307k Ex-USNS Harkness (T-AGS-32) drydocked at Colonna's Shipyard, Norfolk, VA., 2 April 2017. Her bottom has been cleaned and recoated. The name "STATE OF MAINE" is still faintly visible on her bows and appears to have been poorly painted over. Photos by Chris Cavas
    Harkness 227k

    There is no history currently available for USNS Harkness (T-AGS-32) at NavSource
    Crew Contact And Reunion Information
    U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation - Navy Log

    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    National Register Eligibility Assessment

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    Last Updated 3 May 2019