a website collaboration between Science Service and the Smithsonian Institution

1959 - Gerald G. Guess, of Bisbee, Ariz., will record flight of missiles on the Atlantic test range


E&MP 103.032

Radar - Missile Tracking

January 22, 1959


This videotape recorder, similar to that used by television networks for recording and rebroadcasting programs, has been installed on the Defense Department's new "missile measurement ship," the S. S. [American] Mariner. to record flight of missiles on the Atlantic test range.

It is part of elaborate system of electronic and optical instruments installed by Radio Corporation of America to make vessel a veritable floating laboratory. The ship, inspected by military and civilian scientists today, (Thursday), January 22 at [the] Baltimore yard of Maryland Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, is scheduled to sail tomorrow to take up her duties.

Operating the recorder is Gerald G. Guess, of Bisbee, Ariz., one of RCA crew of engineers who will operate the complex equipment.

- 0 -

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


Search - Site Map - Subjects to Choose From - Numbering Format

Credits - Copyright - Comments