USNS Coastal Crusader (T-AGM-16)

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Career (USA)
Name: USS Coastal Crusader
Namesake: A name retained
Ordered: by the Navy as USS Wexford (AK-220), 25 February 1945
Builder: Letham D. Smith Shipbuilders, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Laid down: date unknown, as type (C1-M-AV1) hull, MC hull 2174
Launched: date unknown
Completed: on 26 July 1945
Acquired: by the U.S. Army as USAT Pvt. Joe R. Hastings; by the U.S. Air Force as USAFS Coastal Crusader (ORV-16); by the United States Navy as USNS Coastal Crusader (T-AGM-16) in 1964
In service: 1964
Out of service: date unknown
Renamed: MV Coastal Crusader circa 1945
Reclassified: AGS-36 in 1969
Struck: 30 April 1976
Fate: disposed of by MARAD sale, 12 April 1977, fate unknown
General characteristics
Type: missile range instrumentation ship
Tonnage: 3,366 tons
Tons burthen: 6,090 tons
Length: 338' 9"
Beam: 50' 4"
Draft: 17' 7"
Propulsion: Diesel, single propeller
Speed: 11.5 knots
Endurance: 30 days at sea
Complement: unknown
Sensors and
processing systems:
Armament: none

USNS Coastal Crusader (T-AGM-16) was acquired by the United States Navy as a missile range instrumentation ship in 1964. Originally, she was constructed at the end of World War II as USS Wexford (AK-220) and then renamed Coastal Crusader, but she was found to be excess-to-needs, and was sold for commercial use. She was later acquired by the U.S. Army which used her as Army transport USAT Private Joe R. Hastings.

The ship was later acquired by the U.S. Air Force, and redesignated Ocean Range Vessel USAFS Coastal Crusader (ORV-16). And, in 1964, she was reacquired by the United States Navy and redesignated USNS Coastal Crusader (T-AGM-16), a missile range instrumentation ship.

The ship—eventually maintaining the name Coastal Crusader -- had the distinction of serving the U.S. Army, the U.S. Air Force, and the U.S. Navy, as well as serving with her commercial sisters.

Built in Wisconsin

Coastal Crusader -- a C1-M-AV1 cargo vessel—was laid down under a U.S. Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 2174) on 12 April 1945 at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, by the Leathern D. Smith Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 24 June 1945; sponsored by Mrs. DeForrest Colburn; and completed on 26 July 1945.

On 25 February 1945, the Navy had assigned the name Wexford and the designation AK-220 to the projected ship; but the contract for her acquisition by the Navy was cancelled in August 1945 because of the cessation of hostilities in the Pacific Ocean and the surrender of Japan. Coastal Crusader thus entered mercantile service, never having borne the name Wexford.

Service with the U.S. Army

The vessel was placed in service (date unknown) by the U.S. Army Transportation Service as USAT Private Joe R. Hastings.

Service with the U.S. Air Force

Coastal Sentry was acquired by the U.S. Air Force which redesignated her Ocean Range Vessel USAFS Coastal Crusader (ORV-16). She was used as a missile range instrumentation ship which operated on the U.S. Air Force’s Eastern Test Range during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Coastal Crusader operated under an Air Force contract with Pan American Airways Guided Missile Range Division headquartered in Cocoa Beach, Florida.

Coastal Crusader was assigned to the South Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean area, and provided the Air Force with metric data on intercontinental ballistic missiles launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida.

Coastal Crusader operated in the intercontinental ballistic missile re-entry area near Ascension Island, and was home-ported out of Recife, Brazil.

Service with the U.S. Navy

When Coastal Crusader was acquired from the U.S. Air Force in 1964, the Navy redesignated the ship as USNS Coastal Crusader (T-AGM-16). Operational data while on U.S. Navy service during this period of the vessel’s history is lacking. However, Navy records indicate Coastal Crusader was redesignated Survey Ship USS Coastal Crusader (AGS-36) in 1969, and finally struck from the Navy list on 30 April 1976.


Coastal Crusader was subsequently sold by MARAD on 12 April 1977. Her ultimate fate is not known.