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
USS ESTES (AGC-12)
Estes (AGC-12) was launched 1 November 1943 by North Carolina Shipbuilding Co.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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]