USNS Private Joe E. Mann (T-AK-253)

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Name: USNS Private Joe E. Mann
Namesake: Joe E. Mann, awarded the Medal of Honor
Builder: Permanente Metals Corporation, Richmond, California
Yard number: Yard #2
Laid down: 12 June 1945, as Owensboro Victory, type (VC2-S-AP3) hull, MCV hull 719
Launched: 21 July 1945
Sponsored by: Mrs. Robert A. Nieman
Acquired: by the U.S. Army on 31 October 1947 as USAT Private Joe E. Mann; by the United States Navy on 7 August 1950
In service: 7 August 1950 as USNS Private Joe. E Mann (T-AK-253); 27 November 1960 as USNS Richfield (T-AGM-4)
Out of service: 21 November 1968
Struck: date unknown
Fate: fate unknown
General characteristics
Type: miscellaneous auxiliary
Tonnage: 4,512 tons
Tons burthen: 15,589 tons
Length: 455'
Beam: 62'
Draft: 29'
Propulsion: cross compound steam turbine, single propeller, 8,500shp
Speed: 15.5 knots
Complement: 99 personnel
Armament: none

USNS Private Joe E. Mann (T-AK-253) was a United States Navy miscellaneous auxiliary ship acquired in 1950 from the U.S. Army where it was known as the USAT Private Joe E. Mann.

In 1960, the Navy converted the ship to a Longview-class missile range instrumentation ship and re-named her USNS Richfield (T-AGM-4). Richfield served on the Pacific Missile Range, based out of California, and was placed out of service in 1968.

Victory ship constructed in California

Private Joe E. Mann (AK–253) was laid down, under U.S. Maritime Commission contract, as Owensboro Victory (MCV hull 719) by the Permanente Metals Corporation, Yard #2, Richmond, California, 12 June 1945; launched 21 July 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Robert A. Nieman; and delivered to the Maritime Commission, thence to Coastwise Lines for operation, 27 August 1945.

Post-World War II commercial service

A month and a half after delivery, Owensboro Victory departed San Francisco, California, carrying cargo and passengers to occupied Japan. In December, she sailed for the United States, via the Suez Canal, and arrived Boston, Massachusetts, 7 February 1946.

Shifting to New York City the following month, she made cargo runs to European ports until returned to the U.S. Maritime Commission in September for transfer to the Army Transportation Service.

U.S. Army service

Renamed USAT Private Joe E. Mann, 31 October 1947, she served the Army until she was again returned to the Maritime Commission and simultaneously transferred to the Navy, 7 August 1950.

U.S. Navy service

Designated AK–253, the Victory ship was manned by a civil service crew and operated under Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) as a cargo ship until October 1958.

Conversion to a missile tracking ship

Then fitted out as a missile range instrumentation ship, she was reassigned by MSTS to the Pacific Missile Range. Renamed and reclassified USNS Richfield (AGM–4) on 27 November 1960, she operated off the California coast, in cooperation with the U.S. Air Force.

Final inactivation

Richfield continued her missile tracking until transferred to the Maritime Administration, 21 November 1968 when she was berthed with the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Suisun Bay, Benecia, California.

Richfield’s subsequent fate is not known.

See also