USNS Bowditch (T-AGS-21)

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Career 100x35px
Name: SS South Bend Victory
Builder: Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation, Portland, Oregon
Laid down: 11 May 1945
Launched: 30 June 1945
In service: 27 July 1945
Out of service: 22 October 1953
Fate: Transferred to the Navy, 2 August 1957
Name: USNS Bowditch
Namesake: Nathaniel Bowditch
Acquired: 2 August 1957
In service: 8 October 1958
Out of service: 1988
Struck: 4 March 1988
Fate: Sold for scrapping, 4 March 1988
General characteristics
Type: Oceanographic survey ship
Displacement: 4,420 long tons (4,491 t) light
13,050 long tons (13,259 t) full
Length: 455 ft (139 m)
Beam: 62 ft (19 m)
Draft: 23 ft (7.0 m)
Propulsion: Cross compound steam turbine with double reduction gear, 6,000–8,500 hp (4.5–6.3 MW)
Speed: 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph)

USNS Bowditch (T-AGS-21) was the lead ship of her class of oceanographic survey ship for the United States Navy. Launched as the SS South Bend Victory in 1945, Maritime Commission hull number MCV 694, a type VC2-S-AP3 Victory ship, she was named after of Nathaniel Bowditch, the second U.S. Navy vessel named in his honor. The ship was acquired by the Navy in August 1957 and converted to an AGS at Charleston Naval Shipyard. Named Bowditch on 8 August 1957 and placed in service 8 October 1958 for operation by the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS)[1].

SS South Bend Victory

SS South Bend Victory was a World War II era Victory ship. She was laid down on 11 May 1945 and delivered to the Maritime Commission on 30 June 1945. The ship was acquired by the U.S. Navy in August 1957, renamed Bowditch, and converted to an Oceanographic Survey Ship (AGS) at the Charleston Naval Shipyard from 10 October 1957 to 30 September 1958.

USNS Bowditch T-AGS-21

The second Bowditch, USNS Bowditch T-AGS-21, was placed in service on 8 October 1958 and assigned to the Military Sea Transportation Service. She was manned by a civilian crew.

Bowditch was operated by the U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office for the U.S. Navy Office of Special Projects in support of the U.S. Navy Fleet Ballistic Missile Program. Three ships were converted for this purpose: Bowditch, and identical sister ships Dutton and Michelson.

Attached aboard Bowditch was a US Navy Oceanographic Detachment, upgraded ca. May 1966 to an Oceanographic Unit, of approximately 3 officers and 22 enlisted personnel, mostly technicians. Varying numbers of civilian scientists and engineers managed survey operations, and maintained certain navigation and sonar equipment, usually about 12 oceanographers from the Naval Oceanographic Office, some personnel from the Naval Applied Sciences Laboratory, and about 7 technical representatives from private corporations.

Bowditch was taken out of service and Disposed of by MARAD exchange 4 March 1988[2].


  1. | Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships - Bowditch (AGS-21)
  2. | Naval Vessel Register - Bowditch (AGS 21) (ex-MCV 694)

External links