Photo Courtesy of EM2 Terry D. Gann(USNR-Ret) USS Maury AGS16
A History of the USS Maury AGS16
Edited by Frank Burgess, Maury 68, EA2, USNR
Comdr. Mathew Fontain Maury, astronomer and
hydrographer, was born in Spotsylvania County, Va. 14 January 1806.
Appointed midshipman 1 February 1825, he achieved the rank of
commander 14 September 1855. He was appointed Superintendent of
the Department of Charts
and Instruments in 1842, and upon the establishment of the Naval
in 1844 became its first superintendent, holding that position until
resignation in April 1861. During this period he published some of his
known scientific works, and his "Wind and Current Charts,"
Directions," and "Physical Geography of the Sea" remain
. He became world-famous as the "Pathfinder of
the Seas," the leading
oceanographer of history. Following his resignation at the outbreak of
the Civil War, he joined the Confederate Navy, in which he attained the
rank of Commodore. At the end of the war he occupied the chair of
at the Virginia Military Institute. He died at Lexington, Va., 1
Statistics for AKA-36: displacement: 4,087 tons, length: 426ft.
beam: 58ft draft: 16ft, speed: 16.9 knots, complement: 303,
class: Artemis, T.S4-SE2-BE1
The third USN ship built with the name Maury was built under Maritime
Commission contract, was launched as USS RENATE(AKA-36) by the
Walsh-Kaiser Shipyard, Providence, R.I. 31 January 1945, and was
sponsored by Mrs.
Joseph L. Baker and commissioned 28 February 1945, with LtCdr. Joseph
F. Wickham in command.
Renate sailed from Portsmouth, Va., 31 March 1945 for Pearl Harbor
where she took on passengers and cargo destined for Eniwetok, Ulithi
and Okinawa. Departing 14 May, she returned to Hawaii the day before
the Japanese capitulation and was assigned to operation "Campus", the
occupation of the defeated enemy's home islands. She got underway for
Kyushu 1 September, mooring 16 days later at Sasebo, where she
disembarked units of the 5th Marines. Completing another occupation
troop lift, from the Philippeans to Sasebo, in early October, she
joined in operation "Magic Carpet." the transportation of Pacific
campaign veterans back to the United States. With
San Francisco as her terminus, she completed two more "Magic Carpet"
by mid-January 1946.
The next month she sailed for the East Coast, arriving at
Norfolk on the 26th. In June she entered Portmouth Naval Shipyard for
conversion to a survey ship and on 12 July was renamed USS
MAURY(AGS-16). As Maury
she emerged from the shipyard in October with a new silhouette.
Electronic survey and sounding equipment, as well as photographic,
printing, and repair shops had been added within her compartments and a
drafting room and soundboats been provided topside. The boats would be
used in charting positions and depths accurately, while the ships
would transport surveyors and their equipment to points ashore and
aerial photographic missions.
On 6 January 1947 Maury got underway for the Pacific and her first
hydrographic mission, the charting of waters around Truk and Kwajalein.
Having added navigational knowledge of those areas she sailed for San
arriving 13 September and remaining until 11 July 1948. She then got
for New York City where she reported for duty with Service Force,
Fleet, 10 August.
For the next 11 years Maury gathered navigational information with
the Atlantic Fleet, until 1952, her annual extended cruises of 7
to 8 months took her on survey missions to the Eastern Mediterranean,
Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf. In 1952 she began a re-survey of the
Northern Atlantic. Through 1957 she served in the Western Atlantic,
far north as Newfoundland in the summer months and working to the
as far as the West Indies, during the winter.
In 1958 Maury returned to the Mediterranean for abbreviated deployment,
3 February to 9 May. In July her Northern Atlantic re-survey missions
were extended and she crossed the ocean to chart the waters in and
around the Shetland and Faroe Islands. Throughout this period , while
fulfilling her primary assignment of correcting navigational charts,
she added to meteorological knowledge by studying the North Atlantic's
weather patterns, particularly with reguard to hurricanes.
Early in the Spring of 1959, Maury again passed through the straights
of Gibraltar. Continuing on tho the Eastern Mediterranean she began a
study of the Turkish Coast. By September she was ready to extend that
to the Turkish Black Sea Coast and on the 17th and 18th transited the
Dardanelles. Maury thus became the first U.S. Naval Unit to enter the
Black Sea since 1945.
The next year, 1960 Maury was transferred to the Pacific Fleet and
by 22 March was operating out of Pearl Harbor, attached to the 7th
Fleet's Logistic Support Group during her extended cruises, she
completed a preliminary survey of the Gulf of Siam in preparation for
her next long-range assignment, an accurate survey of designted areas
of the South Western Pacific and Indian Oceans. After Modernization at
Pearl Harbor, she return to the Gulf of
Siam in December with the USS Serrano(AGS-24). Working together, Maury
concentrated on hydrographic survey, while Serrano gathered information
on the physical and chemical makeup of the waters and the ocean floor.
During their 1961, 1962 and 1963 7th Fleet tour, the oceanographic
charted and collected data on the Gulf of Siam, the Andaman Sea, the
of Malacca and areas of the Phillipeans.
In November 1962, while in Bangkok, the ship learned of wide typhoon
devestation in Southern Thailand. Over 700 people were killed and
10,000 left homeless. Immediatly volunteering to assist, Maury delayed
departure from Bangkok and loaded tons of rice, blankets, clothing and
building materials in preparation for relief operations. Off-loading
was conducted by the
ship's boats which operated day and night negotiating dangerous inland
waters to bring aid to the stricken Thai's. The warm gratitude extended
by the local population gave ample testimony to a job "well done."
On 1 February 1965 Maury departed Pearl Harbor for a 4 month survey of
the continental shelf off Buenaventura, Columbia, Returning to
June, she began preparations including a month in dry dock for her
return to South East Asia. Departing 15 November she soon commenced a 7
month survey of the coast of strife torn South Viet Nam. Concentrating
on the Mekong
Delta, Cam Ranh Bay, Nha Trang, Phan Rang and Vung Tau areas during
cruise returning to Pearl Harbor mid June 1966. During this 1966
to Viet Nam, Maury produced Field Charts for the first time since World
War II. For the first nine months of 1967, Maury was deployd again to
Nam. During this period Maury and her sound boats surveyed various
of the Mekong River and Nha Trang area. Fourteen Field Charts were
constructed and reproduced on board depicting the results of both Maury
These 1967 Field Charts were in four colors for greater ease in use.
this the Maury and Serrano were awarded the "Meritorious Unit
from the Secretary of the Navy.
After return to Pearl Harbor she departed 29 March 1968 again for South
Viet Nam surveying the area South of the Mekong Delta while
Serrrano surveyed the area North of Vung Tau returning to Pearl Harbor
on 11 October 1968. The 1969 Cruise, Maury's last, was to the
waters off South Korea. After completeing her last
operational survey operations, off the the coast of the Republic
of Korea, MAURY sailed for
home. Pausing at Pearl Harbor en route, she stood out for the
west coast on her final voyage on 1 December 1969. She reached San
Francisco on 8 December 1969, off-loading fuel ammunition, and vehicles
before shifting to the Inactive Ships Maintenance Faciality, Mare
Island, Vallejo, Calif, later that same day. Decommissioned on 19
December 1969. Her Final Deck Log Entry Reads, "0845 Ship
Decommissioned". Custody passed to CO Inactive Maintenance Facility,
Vallejo, Calif. MAURY was
Stricken from the Navy List the same day. The ship remained at
the Inactive Maintenance Facility until She was transferred to the
custody of the Maritime Administration (MARAD) on 26 June
1970. Taken to MARAD'S Suisun Bay, Calif., berthing area, she
remained there until She was sold to the National Steel and Metal
Co., of Terminal Island, Calif., on 10 August 1973 to be broken up for
For Her Efforts, MAURY earned
a Meritorious Unit Commendation and six Battle stars for her service in
the Viet Nam War.
Her efforts have added significantly to the knowledge of the
characteristics of the coastal area in which Naval Forces
conduct riverine warfare, amphibious operations and support land
forces with Naval Gunfire
Compiled from the Dictionary of American Fighting Ships Office of Naval
Operations, Naval History Division, Washington,DC. Review of Maury's
Deck Logs, at the National Archieves, College Park, Md. various
documents published aboard the Maury and interviews with over 200