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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

USNS Sword Knot (T-AGM-13)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Echo - Bravo - Romeo
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

National Defense Service Medal

USNS Sword Knot was operated by the US Air Force prior to being assigned to the Military Sea Transportation Service
Sword Knot Class Missile Range Instrumentation Ship:
  • Laid down, date unknown, under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 2466) as a type (C1-M-AV1) hull at Consolidated Steel Corp., Ltd., Wilmington, CA.
  • Launched, date unknown
  • Delivered to the Maritime Commission, 30 May 1945, at San Pedro, CA.
  • Placed in service under a War Shipping Administration GAA agreement with Lykes Bros. Steamship Co., 30 May 1945
  • Returned to the Maritime Commission, 1 May 1946, and leased by the Alaska Transportation Co.,
  • Laid up in reserve, 20 December 1948 in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Astoria, OR.
  • Towed from Astoria to Suisun Bay for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Suisun Bay, Benecia, CA., 18 October 1955
  • Withdrawn from reserve and tittle acquired by the US Air Force, 14 March 1957
  • Acquired by the US Navy in 1964 and assigned to the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) as a Missile Range Tracking Ship, placed in service as USNS Sword Knot (T-AGM-13)
  • Placed out of service, struck from the Naval Register and returned to the Maritime Administration, 7 April 1971, at Suisun Bay
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 15 May 1973, to Joffe Corp., delivered, 22 June 1973
    Displacement 3,366 t.(lt) 6,090 t.(fl)
    Length 338' 9"
    Beam 50' 4"
    Draft 17' 7"
    Speed 11.5 kts.
    Complement unknown
    Armament none
    Propulsion Diesel, single propeller

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    Size Image Description Source
    Sword Knot
    Sword Knot - Naval Officer Sword Knot - An ornamental cord or tassel tied to the hilt of a sword
    Tommy Trampp
    Sword Knot
    175k USNS Sword Knot (TAGM-13) anchored at Mombasa, Kenya, 17 March 1967. Sword Knot was especially fitted out for gathering Telemetry Data on Project Surveyor (the landing of an instrument package on the moon).
    QSL card from J. M. Alexander, W4PUY/MM, aboard USNS Sword Knot Flicker
    Robert Hurst
    Sword Knot 581k USNS Sword Knot (T-AGM-13) moored pierside at Trinidad, circa 1966. Photo source - C.P. Wirth. Robert Hurst
    Sword Knot 1503k USNS Sword Knot (T-AGM-13) moored at Lourenco Marques (now Maputo) Mozambique, 24 December 1967. Jim Evans
    Sword Knot 1595k
    Sword Knot 64k USNS Sword Knot (T-AGM-13) and USNS Coastal Crusader (T-AGM-16) moored at San Pedro, CA., circa 1968-69, where both ships were being refitted. Note the new structures forward of the bridge which were added for service on the Western Test Range. Both ships were based at Port Hueneme, CA. Dave Allis
    Coastal Crusader 86k
    Sword Knot 153k USNS Sword Knot (T-AGM-13) in port at San Pedro for evaporator repairs, date unknown. Dave Allis
    Sword Knot 98k USNS Sword Knot (T-AGM-13) moored pierside, date and location unknown. Tommy Trampp
    Sword Knot 153k Series of photos shot aboard USNS Sword Knot (T-AGM-13).
    Sword Knot was a operated by the Military Sea Transportation Service, MSTS, for the US Air Force as part of the Western Test Range. Federal Electric Corporation (FEC), a division of ITT, maintained and operated the telemetry receiving and recording equipment used to capture radio signals from rockets /satellites as they were in the insertion to orbit stage after launch from Vandenberg AFB. For this Sword Knot sailed from it's home port at Point Hueneme, CA south to a few degrees above the equator and then returned to port with a few minutes of data from the missile stored on tape. In the early 70's specially equipped aircraft (Air Force C-135's called ARIA aircraft) began doing this same mission far more quickly and cheaply.
    Text and photos by Dave Allis
    Sword Knot 161k
    Sword Knot 148k
    Sword Knot 123k
    Sword Knot 127k

    There is no DANFS history available for USNS Sword Knot (AGM-13) at Navsource
    Crew Contact And Reunion Information
    U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation - Navy Log

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    Last Updated 21 April 2023