Warren Craghead
Bowditch Memorabilia 1961-65

USNS Bowditch Ashtray

We designed this logo for the Bowditch in 1962, long before the patches on your website were born. This is on an ashtray we had made in Norway...this may well be the last of that batch. Note that the turtle (not over 18 knots) is holding a magnet, an apple and a scale for the magnetics bunch, the gravity bunch and the hydrography bunch. The white hat on the turtle represents the Navy contingent. He is also wearing a backpack for radar and LORAN-C /LORAN-A reception. SINS and GPS were long in the future.

The connected dots on the rim of the ashtray represent the usual course plots as Loran-C was always running a little behind of where you actually were and you had to keep giving small course corrections to try to stay on the survey lines. We were spacing the survey lines 1,000 ft apart on a 10 nautical mile by 10 nautical mile grid.

Of course if you gave a course correction of too many degrees (a novice mistake) the ship would suddenly be 1,000 ft off course in the other direction. Then the see-sawing of the plot line would get out of hand as the poor soul in hydro-plot began throwing in degree changes in the other direction. It sometimes got so bad that the line would have to be resurveyed. That was not looked upon favorably by the crew, the scientists or the navy contingent as that extended the voyage just a little bit more. Usually we were out about 24 to 28 days and in port 3 to 5 days.

Order of the Top of the World
June 29, 1961

I got this when I crossed the Arctic Circle on the Bowditch on the way to a survey site in the Arctic Ocean off Murmansk, USSR in 1961. On this trip we sailed from Stavanger Norway and returned to Bergen Norway. It is signed by the commander of the Navy contingent, LCDR Wagner. This is the wallet copy and has had a bit of wear as well as being lost for a number of years. I have no idea what happened to the "frameable" document.

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