USS Guardian (YAGR-1)
|Ordered:||as SS James Squires,
Z-EC2-S-C5 hull, MCE hull 3171
|Laid down:||20 March 1945|
|Launched:||8 May 1945|
|Commissioned:||1 February 1955|
|Decommissioned:||28 July 1965|
|Fate:||scrapped in September 1971|
|Length:||441 ft 6 in (134.57 m)|
|Beam:||56 ft 11 in (17.35 m)|
|Draft:||24 ft (7.3 m)|
|Propulsion:||two 220 PSI boilers; one 3 cylinder triple-expansion steam engine; one 4-blade, 18 ft 6 in (5.64 m) propeller; Shaft Horsepower 2,500; Electric Generators 2|
|Speed:||11 knots (20 km/h)|
|Capacity:||Fuel Oil, 443,646 gals; Diesel, 68,267 gals; Fresh Water, 15,082 gals; Ballast, 1,326,657 gals fresh water|
|Complement:||13 officers, 138 enlisted|
|Armament:||2 3 inch (76 mm)/50 caliber guns|
USS Guardian (YAGR-1) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship, converted from a Liberty Ship acquired by the U.S. Navy in 1954. Her task was to act as part of the radar defenses of the United States in the Cold War, serving until 1965.
Built and placed into reserve
Guardian was launched as Liberty Ship SS James G. Squires 8 May 1945 by J. A. Jones Construction Co., Inc., Panama City, Florida; sponsored by Mrs. Elisa Broome; and delivered 31 May to Waterman Steamship Corporation. The ship served until 5 October 1945, when she was placed in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River, Virginia.
The honor of "being the first"
The first ocean radar station ship put into service by the Navy, Guardian conducted shakedown in Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, and surrounding waters, reporting to Newport, Rhode Island, her home port, 2 June 1955. In 1958 the Atlantic ocean radar picket force relocated to Davisville, Rhode Island.
Equipped with highly sensitive radar gear to enable her to detect, track, and report any aircraft penetrating the continental United States, Guardian was attached to the Eastern Continental Air Defense Command. She and her sister ships spent 3 or 4 weeks at a time off the U.S. East Coast and West Coast on radar picket duty, even in the heaviest winter weather in the North Atlantic Ocean.
In addition to radar picket duty, Guardian participated in ASW exercises with both American and Canadian naval units and in local operations out of Newport and Key West, Florida. Her designation was changed to AGR-1 on 28 September 1958.
Guardian was decommissioned 28 July 1965, and struck from the Naval Vessel Register (date unknown). She was returned to the Maritime Commission for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet. Final disposition: scrapped in September 1971 at Bilbao, Spain.
Military awards and honors
Guardian's crew was eligible for the following medals:
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.