USNS Michelson (T-AGS-23)

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USNS Michelson (T-AGS-23) was a Bowditch class oceanographic survey ship for the United States Navy. Launched as the SS Joliet Victory in 1945, Maritime Commission hull number MCV 114, a type VC2-S-AP3 Victory ship, she was named after of Albert Abraham Michelson. The ship was reactivated from the James River, Va., Maritime Administration Reserve Fleet 8 February 1958, delivered to the Navy Department at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard 8 August 1957 and converted by Charleston, S.C., Naval Shipyard for surveys. USNS Michelson (AGS‑23) was placed in service 15 December 1958 under the operational control of MSTS Atlantic[1].

SS Joliet Victory

SS Joliet Victory was a World War II era Victory ship. She was laid down on 1945-05-11 and delivered to the Maritime Commission on 1945-06-30. She was acquired by the U.S. Navy in 1957, renamed Michelson, and converted to an Oceanographic Survey Ship (AGS) at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard from 10 Oct 1957 to 30 Sep 1958.

USNS Michelson T-AGS-23

USNS Michelson T-AGS-23 was placed in service on 1958-12-15 and assigned to the Military Sea Transportation Service. She was manned by a civilian crew.

Michelson 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: Michelson, and identical sister ships USNS Bowditch T-AGS-21 and USNS Dutton T-AGS-22.

Attached aboard Michelson 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 (NASL, later NSSNF), and about 7 technical representatives from private corporations.

Michelson was taken out of service and disposed of by MARAD sale September 22, 1977[2].


  1. | Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships - Michelson (AGS‑23)
  2. | Naval Vessel Register - Michelson (AGS-23) (ex-MCV 114)


This article includes text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.

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