Please report any broken links or trouble you might come across to the Webmaster. Please take a moment to let us know so that we can correct any problems and make your visit as enjoyable and as informative as possible.

NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive


Description of DEW Line Support Service

Submitted by Wayne Smith
"Happy to tell you what i know of the ARD-31. It was a long time ago and my memory is not that great anymore. Much of what i "think" i know is hear-say, but my association with the company that used her goes back to 1956, so i'm fairly certain there's a high degree of truth in what i have.

I served on ARD-31 in the Canadian Arctic from June to October, 1972 and 73. I believe she was towed into Tuktoyaktuk harbor in the Beaufort sea, by AOG Pinnebog (hull 58) somewhere around 1956 - 58. These 2 vessels, along with 2 LST's (602 and 1072) were provided to Northern Transportation Company Limited by USAF as part of an agreement to provide services to the DEW line sites along the western Canadian arctic. Don't remember the exact date but around 1998 or 1999, there was an article in the Edmonton Journal about the ARD sinking in Tuk harbor and the efforts to salvage her. They must have been successful as you now have her in Oregon.

I was the storekeeper during my 2 seasons on her. Our crew was typically 22 total. I did find some old documents and logs which i remember as stating she was built in 1943, suffered some bomb damage somewhere in the Pacific theater, returned to Seattle area for repair. I think the basin is 434 feet by 60 feet. over all she's just under 500 feet by 80 feet. The main Gen. sets were 3 GM 268A's. She was capable of providing service power to docked vessels at any voltage, AC or DC.

Northern Transportation was a Crown corporation that has since privatized and is a shipping company that barges freight and fuels from Hay River in the North West Territories, up the Mackenzie river to the small Inuit village of Tuktoyaktuk. In Tuk harbor, freight was off loaded from barges to the LST's and fuels to the Pinnebog. These vessels then serviced the northern communities as well as the DEW line sites along the western arctic. The company would typically fly the crews in first of June to begin commissioning the boats with the first voyages going out of Tuk by early to mid July, depending on ice conditions. The Dry Dock crew was always the last to leave, usually in early to mid October, again depending on ice conditions, in case someone needed to be docked before winter lay up.

The Pinnebog and the LST's may also be of interest to you. I doubt i have any pictures of the LST's in their original form. However, one of them, (i think it was 1072) was sectioned and had 40 feet added to her middle. Whether that work was done on ARD-31 or she went to Vancouver during the winter i don't know. But she worked out of Tuk harbor for many years as the "Frank Broderick". I assume she was under Canadian registry at that time.

It may be worth your while to visit Northern Transportations web site and see if they have any archives worth sharing about these vessels. there were also about a dozen LCM's up there, that may not be of much interest to you, but they sure were fun to drive, those twin GM 671's could do amazing things.

Wayne Smith Box 3351, station main
Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta
T8L 2T3

Back To The Main Photo Index Back To The Service Ship Type Index Back To The Auxiliary Repair Dock (ARD) Photo Index Back To The ARD-31 Main Page
Comments, Suggestions, E-mail Webmaster.
This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
All pages copyright NavSource Naval History