Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
USS Liberty (AGTR-5)
|Laid down:||23 February 1945|
|Decommissioned:||June 28, 1968|
|Fate:||Damaged beyond economical repair by Israeli attack|
|Stricken:||28 June 1968|
|Displacement:||7725 tons (light displacement)|
|Length:||139 metres (455 feet)|
|Beam:||18 metres (60 feet)|
|Draft:||7 metres (23 feet)|
|Propulsion:||Westinghouse steam turbines, single shaft, 8500 horsepower (6.3 MW)|
|Speed:||17.5 knots (30 km/h) maximum sustained, 21 knots emergency|
|Range:||12,500nm at 12 knots|
|Complement:||358 officers and men|
|Armament:||four M2 .50-caliber (~12.7 mm) machine guns|
- Note that this article deals with only the undisputed facts regarding "USS Liberty." It does not attempt to describe the events of June 8, 1967, where it was attacked by the Israel Defense Forces. See the USS Liberty incident.
USS Liberty (AGTR-5) was a Belmont-class technical research ship. Her keel was laid down on February 23, 1945 as Simmons Victory, a Maritime Commission type (VC2-S-AP3) hull, under a Maritime Commission contract at Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation of Portland, Oregon. She was delivered to the Maritime Commission on May 4, 1945, and chartered to the Pacific Far East Line of San Francisco, California. She operated in commercial trade until 1958, Simmons Victory was returned to the Maritime Administration for layup in the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Olympia, Washington.
In February 1963, the Navy acquired Simmons Victory and converted her to a "Miscellaneous Auxiliary" ship at Williamette Iron and Steel of Portland. On June 8, she was renamed the Liberty and given hull classification symbol AG-168. On April 1, 1964, she was reclassified a Technical Research Ship (AGTR-5). She was commissioned at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington, in December.
In February 1965, Liberty steamed from the west coast to Norfolk, Virginia where she was further outfitted (cost: US$20,000,000)to suit her for a mission of supporting the National Security Agency by collecting and processing foreign communications and other electronic emissions of possible national defense interest.
In June, Liberty began her first deployment, to waters off the west coast of Africa. She carried out several more operations during the next two years, and went to the Mediterranean Sea in 1967. During the Six-Day War between Israel and several Arab nations, she was sent to collect electronic intelligence in the eastern Mediterranean.
On the afternoon of June 8, 1967, while in international waters off the Sinai Peninsula, Liberty was attacked and damaged by Israeli forces; 34 crewmen were killed and 172 wounded. Considerable controversy surrounds this attack; (See USS Liberty incident). Though severely damaged with a 50-foot hole amidships and a twisted keel, Liberty’s crew kept her afloat, and she was able to leave the area under her own power. She was escorted to Valletta, Malta by units of the Sixth Fleet and was there given temporary repairs. After these were completed, Liberty returned to the United States on July 27, 1967. She was decommissioned and striken from the Naval Vessel Register on June 28, 1968. She was laid up in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet of Norfolk until December 1970, when she was transferred to the Maritime Administration for disposal. In 1973 she was sold for scrapping to the Boston Metals Company of Baltimore, Maryland.
See USS Liberty for other ships of the same name.
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