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USS ESTES (AGC-12 ) - a Mount McKinley-class amphibious command ship

In Commission 1944 to 1955

AGC-12 Deployments - Major Events

Add a AGC-12 Shellback Initiation Add a AGC-12 Deployment - Major Event
Month Year to Month Year Deployment / Event
AUG 1943 - Keel Date: 25 AUG 1943
at North Carolina Shipbuilding Company Wilmington NC
NOV 1943 - Launch Date: 1 NOV 1943
OCT 1944 - Commissioned: 9 OCT 1944
JAN 1945 - MAY 1945 Middle Pacific
JAN 1945 - MAY 1945 Middle Pacific
NOV 1947 - Shellback Initiation - 26 NOV 1947 - Pacific Ocean
JAN 1951 - JUN 1952 Recommissioned Jan. 1951 - in Korea war until June 1952
JAN 1952 - JAN 1952 AEC Bomb tests Marshall Islands
MAY 1953 - SEP 1953 Alaska
JAN 1954 - MAY 1954 Marshall Islands H-Bomb tests
MAY 1955 - Shellback Initiation - 22 MAY 1955 - Pacific Ocean
JAN 1959 - JUL 1959 West Pac
JAN 1961 - JUN 1961 West Pac
APR 1962 - MAY 1962 Worlds Fair Seattle
JAN 1963 - AUG 1963 West Pac
JAN 1963 - NOV 1963 West Pac-Viet Nam
AUG 1963 - OCT 1963 West Pac-Viet Nam
FEB 1965 - DEC 1965 West Pac-Viet Nam
MAR 1965 - JUL 1966 West Pac
JAN 1966 - JAN 1967 West Pac-Viet Nam
JUL 1966 - Shellback Initiation - 7 JUL 1966 - Atlantic Ocean
SEP 1966 - Shellback Initiation - 7 SEP 1966 - Pacific Ocean
JAN 1967 - APR 1967 West Pac-Viet Nam
JAN 1968 - AUG 1968 West Pac-Viet Nam
JUL 1968 - OCT 1968 West Pac-Viet Nam
JAN 1969 - OCT 1969 West Pac-Viet Nam
MAR 1969 - OCT 1969 West Pac-Viet Nam
JUL 1969 - SEP 1969 West Pac-Viet Nam
OCT 1969 - Decommissioned: 31 OCT 1969
APR 1970 - Shellback Initiation - 13 APR 1970 - Pacific Ocean

AGC-12 General Specifications

Class: Mount McKinley-class amphibious command ship

Complement: 633 Officers and Enlisted

Displacement: 7240 tons

Length: 459 feet 2 inches

Beam: 63 feet

Draft: 24 feet

Final Disposition: Sold for scrap 1 December 1977


Estes (AGC-12) was launched 1 November 1943 by North Carolina Shipbuilding Co. Wilmington N.C. as Morning Star; acquired by the Navy 22 February 1944; and commissioned 9 October 1944 Commander R. O. Mathews in command.

On 20 November 1944 Estes arrived at Pearl Harbor from Norfolk and after training broke the flag of Rear Admiral W. H. P. Blandy Commander Amphibious Group One. She sailed from Pearl Harbor 10 January 1945 for rehearsal landings in the Marianas and on 16 February arrived off Iwo Jima. As flagship for TF 52 Estes served as control center for the preinvasion bombardment and the work of underwater demolition teams preparing the beaches for the assault. She remained off the island through the landings of the 19th receiving wounded and supplying and repairing small craft. She arrived at Ulithi 11 March to make final preparations for the Okinawa assault.

Again flagship for TF 52 the amphibious support force Estes was off Okinawa 24 March 1945. She landed an underwater demolition group then sailed with the bombardment group directing the preinvasion pounding of the beaches and Japanese strong points. Using information gained from her contacts with the radar picket destroyers she controlled carrier planes protecting the vast concentration of shipping assembled for the assault on 1 April. After almost a month off the bitterly contested island she sailed 20 April to replenish at Saipan and carry Admiral Blandy to Pearl Harbor where he and his staff disembarked 19 May.

Estes continued to San Francisco for overhaul and equipment installation designed to make her even more effective. On 20 July she embarked Rear Admiral R. O. Davis Commander Amphibious Group 13 and on 8 August sailed for the Philippines. She arrived at Leyte 28 August for occupation duty coordinating the lifting of troops from the Philippines to Japan. After cruising widely in the Philippines on this duty Estes sailed for Shanghai and upon her arrival 7 November broke the flag of Admiral T. C. Kinkaid Commander 7th Fleet. Before she had completed her tour of occupation duty along the Chinese coast for part of which she was homeported at Tsingtao she served as flagship for three succeeding commanders of the 7th Fleet Vice Admiral D. E. Barbey Admiral C. M. Cooke and Admiral O. C. Badger. In June 1946 Estes became flagship for Naval Forces Western Pacific and continued to cruise between Tsingtao and Hong Kong aside from a 1947 overhaul at Bremerton until 29 January 1948 when she departed Tsingtao for San Francisco. Arriving 16 February she lay at San Francisco and San Diego until decommissioned and placed in reserve 30 June 1949.

Estes recommissioned 31 January 1951 and after training off San Diego sailed 20 June for Yokosuka and Inchon where from 25 July to 6 August she served as flagship for Vice Admiral I. N. Kiland Commander Amphibious Force Pacific. She carried successive Commanders Amphibious Group One through the remainder of this tour of duty in the Far East during which she operated off Korea and in exercises off Japan.

Returning to San Diego 19 April 1952 Estes carried high-ranking observers to the Marshall Islands for nuclear weapons tests in the fall of 1952 and in the summer of 1953 served as flagship for an expedition to supply Government activities in the Arctic. Between January and May 1954 she again sailed for atomic weapons tests at Eniwetok and on 6 July cleared for the Far East. As control ship for Operation "Passage to Freedom " the evacuation of refugees from Communist North Vietnam Estes operated from Haiphong 18 August to 29 October. Between 6 and 11 February 1955 she joined in another outstanding illustration of the Navy's ability to aid freedom-loving people when she operated in the evacuation of the Tachen Islands.

Estes returned to San Diego 22 May 1955. She operated out of there for the next year. Between March and July 1956 she was again in the Marshalls for weapons tests and on 31 January 1957 sailed for Yokosuka where she provided quarters and communications facilities until April sailing then to visit Hong Kong. She returned to stateside duty 15 May voyaging to Pearl Harbor in July and August.

The next year found Estes sailing north in July to ports in British Columbia and again in August to call at Seattle. During her 1959 tour of duty in the Far East she directed important amphibious operations off Japan Okinawa and Korea and exercises off Borneo with ships of the Royal Navy and Royal New Zealand Navy. She returned to Long Beach in August and through 1962 operated along the west coast twice visiting the Pacific Northwest.

Estes received two battle stars for World War II service and two for Korean war service.

[Note: The above USS ESTES (AGC-12) history may or may not contain text provided by crew members of the USS ESTES (AGC-12) or by other non-crew members and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]