USS Interpreter (AGR-14)
|Namesake:||One who explains, translates, or tells the meaning of.|
|Ordered:||as type (Z-EC2-S-C5) hull, MCE hull 2341|
|Builder:||J. A. Jones Construction Co. Inc., Panama City, Florida|
|Laid down:||5 January 1945, as Liberty ship SS Dudley H. Thomas|
|Launched:||8 February 1945|
|Sponsored by:||Miss Carrie Corbitt|
|Acquired:||by the U.S. Navy, 5 June 1957|
|Commissioned:||29 September 1958 as USS Interpreter (AGR-14) at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard|
|Decommissioned:||1 July 1965|
|Refit:||converted to a Radar Picket Ship at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
|Struck:||1 July 1965|
|Fate:||transferred to the Reserve Fleet 1 July 1965; sold for scrapping 4 November 1974|
|Type:||Guardian-class radar picket ship|
|Tons burthen:||11,365 tons|
|Installed power:||two electric generators|
|Propulsion:||Two 220 PSI boilers; Filer & Stowell Co., of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, three cylinder triple-expansion reciprocating engine; Single 4 blade, 18' 6" propeller; Shaft Horsepower, 2,500|
|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:||two 3 in (76 mm) guns|
USS Interpreter (AGR-14) was a Guardian-class radar picket ship acquired by the U.S. Navy in 1957 from the “mothballed” reserve fleet. She was reconfigured as a radar picket ship and assigned to radar picket duty in the North Pacific Ocean as part of the Distant Early Warning Line. The ship was built as the SS Dudley H. Thomas in 1945 for the Maritime Administration under the Emergency Shipbuilding program for World War II War Shipping Administration.
Liberty ship launched in Panama City, Florida
Interpreter (AGR-14) was launched as Liberty Ship SS Dudley H. Thomas by J. A. Jones Construction Co., Inc., Panama City, Florida, 8 February 1945; sponsored by Miss Carrie Corbitt; and delivered 21 February 1945 to Merchants and Miners Transportation Co., Boston, Massachusetts.
The ship served as an aircraft freighter during the war and later as a cargo ship for various companies.
War Relief and Seacowboys
In 1946, after World War II, the Dudley H. Thomas was converted to a livestock ship, also called a cowboy ship. From 1945 to 1947, the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration and the Brethren Service Committee of the Church of the Brethren sent livestock to war-torn countries. These "seagoing cowboys" made about 360 trips on 73 different ships. The Heifers for Relief project was started by the Church of the Brethren in 1942; in 1953, this became Heifer International. The SS Bucknell Victory was one of these ships, known as cowboy ships, as she moved livestock across the Atlantic Ocean. The Dudley H. Thomas she took 780 horses, several thousand baby chicks and hay bales to Poland on each leg of her trip. Dudley H. Thomas moved horses, heifers, and mules, as well as some chicks, rabbits, and goats. In 1947, with her war and relief work done, she was laid up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet.
In 1950, a new war was starting in the Far East, so she was removed from the Reserve Fleet in 1951.
SS Dudley H. Thomas served as merchant marine ship supplying goods for the Korean War. About 75 percent of the personnel taken to Korea for the Korean War came by the merchant marine ship. SS Dudley H. Thomas transported goods, mail, food and other supplies. About 90 percent of the cargo was moved by merchant marine naval to the war zone. SS Dudley H. Thomas made trips between 1951 and 1953, helping American forces engaged against Communist aggression in South Korea. On 25 August 1953, she was returned to the National Defense Reserve Fleet. On 5 June 1957, she was acquired by the US Navy.
Reconfigured as a radar picket
Renamed Interpreter, the ship was converted to Navy use at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and commissioned there 29 September 1958, Comdr. J. S. Craft in command.
One of a class of sixteen radar picket ships, Interpreter conducted shakedown exercises in the Caribbean before departing Guantanamo Bay 1 February 1959 for her new home port, San Francisco, California.
Equipped with the most advanced long range radar and communications gear, Interpreter joined the Continental Air Defense Command as part of America's vital early warning system. Operating with search aircraft for periods of 3 to 4 weeks at sea, the ship reported and tracked aircraft at great distances and controlled interceptors in the event of enemy air attack.
Interpreter continued regular patrols in the Contiguous Radar Barrier, for 6 years, providing a vital link in the air defense of her country.
Honors and awards
Interpreter personnel qualified for the following medals:
- Heifer International
- Sea going cowboys
- seagoingcowboys, In Memorium [sic], Posted on April 1, 2017
- Seacowboys reort
- Korean War Educator, Merchant Marine, Accounts of the Korean War
- Small United States and United Nations Warships in the Korean War, By Paul M. Edwards
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive - AGR-14 Interpreter