Cities in Alabama and Texas. The first Huntsville retained her former merchant name.
(T-AGM-7: dp. 5,498 (It.); l. 455'; b. 62'; dr. 29'; 9.17 k.; cpl. 49; a. none; T. VC2-S-AP3)
The second Huntsville was laid down under Maritime Commission contract as Knox Victory by Oregon Shipbuilding Corp., Portland, Oregon, 2 March 1945; launched 13 April 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Charles B. Gilbert; and delivered to WSA 11 May 1945. During the remainder of the war she operated as a merchant ship under charter to Olympic Steamship Co., and she continued merchant service under bareboat charters from the Maritime Commission and the Maritime Administration until 1958 when she entered the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Olympia, Wash.
Knox Victory was acquired by the Navy from the Maritime Administration 11 August 1960 and assigned to MSTS. She was renamed Huntsville and designated T-AGM-7, a missile range instrumentation ship, 27 November. After conversion to a special projects ship by Triple "A" Machine Shop, Inc., San Francisco, Calif., Huntsville began duty as a range tracking ship in 1961.
Manned by a civilian crew, Huntsville operated out of Port Hueneme, Calif., and Honolulu, Hawaii, while assigned to special duties in the Pacific. During the next 4 years she made intermittent "on station" patrols in the Central Pacific, extending from the coast of Mexico to Wake Island and the Marshalls. She continued these patrols, which contributed mightily on America's space programs, until the spring of 1965; then she entered Avondale Shipyards, Inc., Westwego, La., 2 June 1965 for conversion, completed 30 October 1966. In June 1967 Huntsville returned to the Pacific, where she operated with Watertown (T-AGM-6). As an improved sea-based tracking station, she provides an important link in communications during the scheduled "Apollo" moon shots, which will send American astronauts to the moon and back.