USS Vigil (AGR-12)
The radar picket ship Vigil (YAGR-12) on 2 April 1957, newly converted from a Liberty-type merchant cargo ship. Masts and kingposts support search and height-finding radars and a club-like Tacan aircraft navigation beacon.
|Ordered:||as type (Z-EC2-S-C5) hull, MCE hull 2339|
|Builder:||J. A. Jones Construction Co. Inc., Panama City, Florida|
|Yard number:||Wainwright yard|
|Laid down:||14 December 1944, as Liberty ship SS Raymond Van Brogen|
|Launched:||27 January 1945|
|Sponsored by:||Mrs. Mary Anne Durham|
|Acquired:||by the U.S. Navy in June 1956|
|Commissioned:||5 March 1957 as USS Vigil (YAGR-12) at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard|
|Decommissioned:||3 March 1965|
|Renamed:||Vigil, On 7 August 1956|
|Reclassified:||AGR-12, 28 September 1958|
|Refit:||converted to a Radar Picket Ship at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
|Struck:||1 April 1965|
|Homeport:||Davisville, Rhode Island|
|Fate:||sold 23 November 1970, scrapped in Spain 21 December 1970|
|Type:||Guardian-class radar picket ship|
|Tons burthen:||11,365 tons|
|Installed power:||two electric generators|
|Propulsion:||Two 220 PSI boilers; Filer & Stowell Co., of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, three cylinder triple-expansion reciprocating engine; Single 4 blade, 18' 6" propeller; Shaft Horsepower, 2,500|
|Capacity:||Fuel Oil, 443,646 gals; Diesel, 68,267 gals; Fresh Water, 15,082 gals; Ballast, 1,326,657 gals fresh water|
|Complement:||13 officers, 138 enlisted|
|Armament:||two 3"/50 guns|
USS Vigil (AGR-12/YAGR-12) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship acquired by the U.S. Navy in 1956 from the “mothballed” reserve fleet. She was reconfigured as a radar picket ship and assigned to radar picket duty in the North Atlantic Ocean as part of the Distant Early Warning Line.
Liberty ship built in Florida
SS Raymond Van Brogan was laid down under a U.S. Maritime Commission contract (MCE hull 2339) on 14 December 1944 at the Wainwright yard of the J. A. Jones Construction Co. in Panama City, Florida; launched on 27 January 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Mary Anne Durham; and delivered to the War Shipping Administration on 10 February 1945.
World War II services
Following a shakedown cruise in the Gulf of Mexico, the ship transited the Panama Canal on 19 February and headed for Terminal Island, California, where she was turned over to A. J. Bull & Co. for operation under contract to the War Shipping Administration.
She performed several resupply missions in the Pacific Ocean theater, carrying aircraft as well as other war materiel and some troops.
Following the end of World War II, the War Shipping Administration transferred her contract to the Waterman Steamship Corporation, which firm operated her from Mobile, Alabama. In the summer of 1947, SS Raymond Van Brogan was taken out of service and berthed with the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Mobile, Alabama.
Conversion to radar picket
Nine years later, in June 1956, she was brought out of the U.S. Maritime Commission's reserve fleet for conversion to a radar picket ship and active service with the Navy. She was moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she completed her conversion at the naval shipyard.
On 7 August 1956, she received a new name and her Navy hull designation to become Vigil (YAGR-12). She completed conversion early in 1957 and was placed in service on 5 March 1957, Lt. Comdr. Stanley Abstetar, USNR, in command.
During Vigil's eight-year naval career, she was assigned to the Continental Air Defense Command and served as one of that organization's radar picket ships operating as seaward extensions of its radar coverage system. The ship operated out of Davisville, Rhode Island, during her entire period of service and spent on the average of 200 days per year actually engaged in picket patrols in waters off the coast of New England.
On 28 September 1958, she was redesignated AGR-12, thereby dropping her yard craft designation and becoming a commissioned auxiliary.
On 3 March 1965, Vigil was placed out of commission. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 1 April 1965, and she was returned to the U.S. Maritime Commission for lay up with the Hudson River Group of the National Defense Reserve Fleet. On 23 November 1970, she was sold to the Spanish firm, Revalorizacion de Materiales, for scrapping.
Honors and awards
Vigil personnel qualified for the following medals:
- This article includes text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive - YAGR / AGR-12 Vigil