a website collaboration between Science Service and the Smithsonian Institution

1959 - Central control room S. S. American Mariner ready to assist in tracking its missiles fired 
            over the South Atlantic


E&MP 103.031

Radar - Missile Tracking

January 22, 1959


Central control room of the new "missile measurement ship," the S.S. American Mariner, which is scheduled to sail from Baltimore tomorrow (Friday, January 23) to assist in tracking its missiles fired over the South Atlantic.

The ship was fitted out at the Maryland Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company by the Radio Corporation of America as a veritable floating laboratory of electronic and optical instruments.

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Original Caption by Science Service
© Radio Corporation of America

Additional Information
February 21, 2005

S.S. AMERICAN MARINER with reference images

American Mariner began construction in Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyard in Baltimore, MD, as S.S. George Calvert, U.S. Maritime Commission hull number 20. Immediately upon launching, the standard construction and outfitting contract with Fairfield was cancelled, and she was towed to the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation's Key Highway plant in Baltimore for completion as a cadet training ship.

At that time, her name was changed to American Mariner to become a companion to American Seaman and American Sailor as cadet training vessels. She continued in service as a training ship until 1950, when she was laid up at Kings Point, NY.

She was still used for training even though laid up until December 1953 when she was transferred to the Hudson River Reserve Fleet at Jones Point, NY.

Here she remained until June 1958 when she was towed out of reserve for conversion into a missile tracking platform for the Army.

She began her new duties on the Atlantic Missile Range in January 1959. She continued as a missile tracking ship for various agencies until 1965.

On October 21, 1966 she was sunk in 20 feet of water in the Chesapeake Bay near Point Lookout, MD as a target ship for Navy pilots flying from Patuxent River Naval Air Station.

She remains there today.

2 pages 93 KB requires Adobe Acrobat Reader
Courtesy: A. Davis Whittaker, Jr.

National Museum of American History


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