USNS Coastal Sentry (T-AGM-15)

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Career (USA)
Name: USS Somerset
Namesake: Counties in Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania
Builder: Leathem D. Smith Shipbuilding Company, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Laid down: 9 October 1944, as type (C1-M-AV1) hull, MC hull 2166
Launched: 21 January 1945
Sponsored by: Mrs. Fred Bradley
Acquired: by the Navy 20 September 1945; reacquired by the U.S. Navy, 1964
In service: 1964 as MSTS USNS Coastal Sentry (T-AGM-15)
Out of service: 1972
Renamed: Coastal Sentry in 1945
Reclassified: as a missile range instrumentation ship, 1964
Struck: 5 December 1945; date of 2nd striking not known
Fate: returned to MARAD for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet; fate unknown
General characteristics
Type: Alamosa-class cargo ship
Tonnage: 2,382 tons
Tons burthen: 7,125 tons
Length: 338' 6"
Beam: 50'
Draft: 21' 1"
Propulsion: Diesel, single propeller, 1,700shp
Speed: 11.5 knots
Endurance: 30 days at sea
Capacity: 3,500 DWT (as an AK)
Complement: 85 officers and enlisted (as an AK)
Sensors and
processing systems:
Armament: As an AK: one single 3"/50 dual purpose gun mount, six 20mm guns. As an AGM: none.

USS Somerset (AK-212) was originally a U.S. Navy Alamosa-class cargo ship built for service in World War II, and was later re-acquired from the U.S. Air Force in 1964 as the USNS Coastal Sentry (T-AGM-15), a missile range instrumentation ship.

Built in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

The third ship to be so named by the Navy, Somerset (AK-212) (ex-MC hull 2166) was laid down on 9 October 1944 by the Leathern D. Smith Shipbuilding Co., Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin; launched on 21 January 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Fred Bradley; acquired by the Navy from the U.S. Maritime Commission on 20 September 1945; and commissioned the same day.

Inactivity due to war’s end

Somerset was acquired for Navy use as a cargo ship; but, due to the cessation of hostilities with Japan, she saw no naval service. She was returned to the U.S. Maritime Commission on 2 November 1945, renamed Coastal Sentry, and struck from the Navy list for the first time on 5 December 1945.

Service as an Air Force ship

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

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

Acquisition by the Navy

Costal Sentry was acquired from the U.S. Air Force by the U.S. Navy in 1964 which placed her out of service in 1972. Operational data while on U.S. Navy service on this vessel is lacking.


Coastal Sentry was struck from the Navy list (date unknown), and was subsequently returned to MARAD for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet. Her ultimate fate is not known.