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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

Contributed by Mike Smolinski

Contributed by Al Grazevich

USS White Sands (AGDS-1)
USS White Sands (ARD-20) (1968 - 1973)
USS ARD(BS)-20 (1966 - 1968)
USS ARD-20 (1944 - 1966)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - India - Tango - Charlie
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - American Campaign Medal
Bottom Row - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal - World War II Victory Medal - National Defense Service Medal

ARD-12 Class Auxiliary Repair Dock:
  • Laid down, 20 December 1943, at Pacific Bridge Co., Alameda, CA.
  • Launched in early-1944
  • Commissioned USS ARD-20, 31 March 1944, LCDR. Gutav Jones, USNR, in command
  • During World War II USS ARD-20 served at:
    Seeadler Harbor, at Manus in the Admiralty Islands, 12 August 1944 to 16 April 1945
    Morotai from 29 April 1945 to 24 July 1945 and
    Manicani Island in the Philippines from July 1945 to 25 February 1947
    Towed to San Pedro, via Guam and Pearl Harbor, decommissioned, 7 October 1947
  • Laid up in the Pacific Reserve Fleet, San Pedro, Group
  • Withdrawn from reserve in October 1965
  • Modernized and converted to a Bathyscaph Support Auxiliary Repair Dock at Long Beach Naval Shipyard
  • Recommissioned USS ARD(BS)-20, 14 September 1966, assigned to Submarine Force, Pacific Fleet
  • Named USS White Sands (ARD-20), 9 March 1968
  • From 1968 White Sands supported the deep submergence vehicle Trieste, at Undersea Weapons Center near San Clemente Island, CA.
  • White Sands with Trieste participated in the search for the nuclear submarine USS Scorpion (SSN-589) lost near the Azores
  • Returned to San Diego, 7 October 1969
  • Reclassified Auxiliary Deep Submergence Support Ship AGDS-1, 1 August 1973
  • Decommissioned in the summer of 1974
  • Struck from the Naval Register in September 1974
  • Sold , September 1, 1974, to Marine Power and Equipment, Seattle, WA.
  • Current Disposition, in service as a dry dock at Union Lake Dry Dock Co.
    Displacement 5,200 t.
    Length 291' 8"
    Beam 81'
    Draft 6', 32' 10" (submerged)
    Complement 112
    Armament unknown
    Machinery unknown

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    USS ARD-20
    White Sands 150k USS ARD-20 at anchor, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo from the collections of the US Navy Memorial.
    Stan Svec
    USS White Sands (ARD-20)
    White Sands 50k USS White Sands (ARD-20) off the coast of southern California in 1968 Gary P. Ragsdale, EN3/ Second Class Diver USS Apache (1972-73)
    White Sands 35k
    White Sands 27k USS White Sands (ARD-20) off the coast of southern California in 1968. Note the Bathyscaph Trieste II astern of White Sands Gary P. Ragsdale, EN3/ Second Class Diver USS Apache (1972-73)
    Apache 107k USS White Sands (ARD-20) and USS Apache (ATF-67) moored at either Naval Station Rodman or Balboa, Panama Canal Zone, circa 28 February 1969. Apache and White Sands, with the deep submergence vehicle Trieste on board, where enroute to an area near the Azores to search for the nuclear submarine USS Scorpion (SSN-589) which was lost in May 1968. Apache towed White Sands which was the support ship for the deep submergence vehicle Trieste which search for the missing Scorpion Gary P. Ragsdale, EN3/ Second Class Diver USS Apache (1972-73)
    White Sands 217k USS White Sands (ARD-20) the harbor at Ponta Delgada, Azores, during the search for the missing USS Scorpion (SSN-589). White Sands participated in the search from March to August 1969. Carlos Manuel Estrela

    USS White Sands (ARD-20 / ARD(BS)-20 / AGDS-1)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Crew Contact And Reunion Information
    U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation - Navy Log

    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    Friends of the Ballard Locks - The White Sands passes through the Locks, October 4, 1975
    Back To The Main Photo Index Back To The Yard and District Craft Photo Index Back To The Auxiliary Repair Dock (ARD) Photo Index Back To The Deep Submergence Support Ship (AGDS) Photo Index
    Comments, Suggestions, E-mail Webmaster.
    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
    All pages copyright NavSource Naval History
    Last Updated 2 February 2018