USS JAMESTOWN (AGTR-3)
third Jamestown (AG-166), a converted Liberty ship, was launched as J.
Howland Gardner under Maritime Commission contract by New England Shipbuilding Corp., South Portland,
Maine, 10 July 1945; and sponsored by Mrs. George W. Elkins of Newport, R.I.
liberty ship was completed 14 August and chartered under general agency
agreement by Waterman Steamship Co.,
until 17 June 1946 when she went into the Maritime Reserve Fleet. She was
chartered by U.S. Navigation Co., 3 February 1947, and by South Atlantic
Steamship Lines, 20 October 1948.
J. Howland Gardner returned to Maritime Reserve Fleet at Beaumont, Tex. She was
acquired there by the Navy 10 August 1962: renamed Jamestown and designated
AG-166 on 6
March 1963; and commissioned 13 December at Norfolk Navy Yard, Comdr. Alan J. Kaplan in command.
The research ship was
assigned to Service Squadron 8, Service
Force, Atlantic Fleet, with Norfolk her home port. Her mission is "to conduct technical research
operations in support of U.S. Navy
electronic research projects, which include
electromagnetic propagation studies and advanced communications systems such as satellite communications."
fitting out at Norfolk, Jamestown departed 20 January 1964 for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where
she underwent 2 weeks of intensive shakedown
training. She was there when Cuban
Fidel Castro shut off all fresh water to that base, and stood by ready
to evacuate American families. Upon
completion of shakedown training, she made brief visits to Kingston,
Jamaica, and Key West before returning to
Norfolk 27 February.
Jamestown was redesignated AGTR-3 on 1 April and 8 days later departed on her first deployment
Valletta, Malta; Aden; Capetown; and Freetown, Sierra Leone, before returning Norfolk 17 August. The ensuing weeks were devoted to preparation for
deployment off the African coast.
She stood out of Norfolk 2 November
for Dakar, Senegal, Capetown, South Africa, and further service acquiring new
knowledge in the vital field of electronic communications. Jamestown then
returned to Norfolk 6 February 1965. After
operation in the Caribbean in the
spring, she transited the Panama Canal
for a cruise along the Pacific Coast of South America reaching Valparaiso, Chile, 9 June. She
celebrated the Fourth of July at
Callao. Peru, and then transited the Panama Canal, returning to Norfolk
3 months later Jamestown got underway for the Far East and reached Subic Bay in the
December. She operated in the South China Sea gathering valuable information for the Navy's ships fighting to protect the independence of South Vietnam
while adding to the long Navy tradition of serving the field of scientific research. She continued operating in the
Far East, often operating in the Vietnam war zone, through mid-1967.
[Note: The above USS JAMESTOWN (AGTR-3) history may, or may not, contain text provided by crew members of the USS JAMESTOWN (AGTR-3), or by other non-crew members, and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]