The Crews


The ships were manned by four distinct groups or organizations. Details will have varied slightly from ship to ship and, probably significantly, over the lifetime of the program. These listings are for Bowditch, Dutton and Michelson during the period c. 1966-1972.
Listing compiled by Earl Adams from data supplied by Carl Friberg.

TAGS Ship Crew List

MSTS (Military Sea Transportation Service), later MSC (Military Sealift Command).

See Carl Friberg's discussion of MSTS crew.
MSTS/MSC provided the Master (ships' captain), ships' officers, and merchant marine crewman, all of whom were U.S. Navy civilian civil service employees. These men navigated and maintained the ship

  • Master (only on government owned ships is the Captain (Master) listed on the crew list.
  • 1st Officer (Chief Mate, MSTS preferred "Officer".)
  • 2nd Officer (Second Mate)
  • 3rd Officer (Third Mate)
  • 4th Officer (Fourth Mate)
  • Chief Engineer
  • First Assistant Engineer
  • Second Assistant Engineer
  • Third Assistant Engineer
  • Fourth Assistant Engineer
  • Three Oilers
  • Three FWT (Fireman Watertender)
  • Two Wipers
  • Chief Electrician
  • Second Electrician
  • Reefer Engineer
  • Machinist
  • Plumber
  • Bos'n (The Boatswain - Bos'n was an Able Seaman)
  • Carpenter (Able Seaman)
  • Two ABMs (Able Seamen Maintenance) Day workers
  • Six ABs (Able Bodied Seamen) Watch Standers
  • Three Ordinary Seamen
  • Chief Steward
  • Chief Cook
  • Second Cook/Baker
  • Third Cook
  • Galley Man (Messman who worked in the galley
  • Two Crew Messmen
  • Two Officers' Messmen
  • Two Utility Men (Messman entry level rating - made bunks, and cleaned rooms, and passageways.)
  • Laundryman
  • Purser
  • Junior Purser
  • Three Yeomen (One for each Department)
  • Radio Officer

TOTAL: 54 MSTS/MSC operating crew in Deck, Engine and Stewards departments.

United States Navy

The Navy manned an Oceanographic Detachment/Unit, one for each ship, numbered One, Two and Three and embarked aboard T-AGS-21, -22 and -23, respectively. The Oceanographic Units provided the technical personnel to operate and maintain the electronics navigation systems, sonar systems and gravitometric or magnetometric equipment.

This Navy contingent changed from a "Detachment", with an Officer in Charge, to a "Unit", with a Commanding Officer, sometime around May of 1966.

OcUnit Navymen stood around the clock watches to provide accurate updated navigation data and SASS sonar data to the NAVOCEANO oceanographers.

We generally had enough technical Petty Officer ratings, mostly ETs with a few STs and ICs, to fill out three or four watches while working regular 8-hour days at sea. In practice this varied so widely, based on the individual preferences of the Unit officers, and the whims of BuPERS, that it is difficult to generalize. At one time on Michelson, while I was an ET-1 and leading ET, we had only enough techs to man three watches--12 technicians total including myself, and we had lost our electronics CWO and ETC.

So with that variability in mind, here's the Navy manning for the period c. 1966-72.

TOTAL: 25 US Navy officers and enlisted.

Navy Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO)

Made the ocean bottom topography maps, and directed survey operations from Survey Control.

TOTAL: 12 NAVOCEANO personnel.

Civilian Technical Representatives

Electronics field engineers from General Instruments, Bunker Ramo, Sperry, perhaps other companies.

TOTAL: 7 tech reps.

GRAND TOTAL: 98 crew members
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