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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND
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George Eastman

 

George Eastman, born in Waterville, N.Y., 12 July 1854, was educated at the University of Rochester, Rochester, N.Y. An avid photographer, he stimulated photography as a popular hobby by developing and mass-producing his photographic inventions. He invented a process for coating dry plates and began their manufacture at Rochester in 1880. Four years later he developed the first flexible roll film; in 1888 he invented and marketed the "Kodak," the first portable, compact camera, and the following year he perfected a transparent film for amateur use. The George Eastman Co. introduced a daylight-loading film in 1891. Reorganized into the Eastman Kodak Co in 1898, his firm became one of the first in the country to produce a standardized product on a large scale. Eastman established excellent research and chemical laboratories, and under his direction his firm later pioneered the development of many allied photographic products and processes, including amateur motion-picture cameras and a process for color photography. Building Eastman Kodak Co. into a world wide organization, Eastman amassed a great fortune, well over $75 million of which he donated for the advancement of education. His philanthropies established and endowed the Eastman School of Music; and he gave millions of dollars to the University of Rochester, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tuskegee and Hampton Institutes, and to various scientific and medical institutions in the United States and Europe. George Eastman died in Rochester, N.Y., 14 March 1932.

 

(YAG-39: dp. 3,890 (lt.); l. 442'; b. 57'; dr. 30'; s. 10 k.; cpl 100; a. none; T. EC2-S-C1)

 

George Eastman, a "Liberty-type" cargo ship, was laid down under Maritime Commission contract 24 March 1943 by Permanente Metals Corp., Yard 2, Richmond, Calif.; launched 20 April 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Ann Trout-man; and delivered under charter from WSA to Pacific-Atlantic Steamship Co., Vancouver, Wash., 5 May 1943.

 

She operated as a merchant cargo carrier until placed in the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Suisun Bay, Calif., 24 June 1948. Later taken out of reserve, she was chartered to Pacific Far East Line, Inc., San Francisco, 24 December 1951 and operated as a merchantman in the Far East during the Korean War. On 2 June 1952 she was transferred by the Maritime Administration to the custody of the Navy at Suisun Bay.

 

Acquired by the Navy 2 April 1953, she was designated YAG-39 the following month. She was then fitted out with numerous scientific instruments, including nuclear detection and measurement devices, which enabled her to conduct contamination and fallout measurement tests after nuclear explosions. Manned by an experimental crew in a specially protected control cubicle, she also was fitted with electronic remote-control gear that enabled her to serve as a robot ship.

 

Following extensive conversion, YAG-S9 was placed in service at San Francisco 20 October 1953, Lt. Comdr. Hugh W. Anglin in command. Assigned to Joint Task Force 7, she steamed to Eniwetok, Marshall Islands, where from March through May 1954 she participated in atomic tests at the Pacific Proving Grounds. During Operation Castle," a nuclear underwater test, she gathered fallout data and carried out experimental ship protection studies. After returning to San Francisco, she was placed out of service from June until February 1955.

 

In May, YAG-39 again served with Joint Task Force 7 during Operation "Wigwam," the deep underwater nuclear test carried out in the Eastern Pacific. During the next 10 months she operated between the West Coast and Hawaii, and conducted various experimental tests before returning to Eniwetok 8 April 1956 to particpate in additional nuclear tests. From 21 May to 23 July she took part in four nuclear-proving tests and gathered scientific data to advance our knowledge of the atom and the effects of nuclear fission.

 

Departing Eniwetok 28 July, YAG-39 steamed via Pearl Harbor to San Francisco where she arrived 16 August. After receiving additional scientific equipment, she departed San Francisco 6 February 1957 to resume experimental operations off the California coast. During the next few months she steamed with YAG-40 while testing advanced weapons and ship protection systems. Towed to San Diego 21 October for inactivation, she was placed out of service 1 November and assigned to the Pacific Reserve Fleet at San Diego.

 

Reactivated In 1962, YAG-39 commissioned at San Francisco 20 October, Lt. Comdr. William G. Sternberg in command. With her sister ship, YAG-40, she departed San Francisco 15 November for Pearl Harbor, where she arrived 24 November for underway training. Assigned to Service Squadron 5, she operated off Hawaii and carried out extensive experimental tests in the fields of ship protection systems and scientific warfare analysis. On 3 July 1963 she was assigned her former merchant name, George Eastman.

 

Since 1963, George Eastman has operated as a research ship between the Hawaiian sea frontier and the equatorial area of the mid-Pacific, providing valuable support for various scientific research and defense projects of the Department of Defense. She sailed to the West Coast in April 1966 for a 3-month overhaul; and, following her return to Pearl Harbor 18 August, she resumed research cruises in Hawaiian waters. Her support activities continued through 1966 into 1967.