Elisha Kent Kane, born in Philadelphia 28 February 1820, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School in 1842. He became Assistant Surgeon in the Navy 14 September 1843 to serve in the China Commercial Treaty mission under Caleb Gushing, in the Africa Squadron, and in the Marines during the Mexican War.
He became senior medical officer of the unsuccessful Arctic expedition searching for explorer Sir John Franklin in 1850 and 1851. Kane organized and headed a second rescue expedition which sailed from New York 31 May 1853, and wintered in Rensselaer Bay. Though at times near death, and scurvy-ridden he resolutely pushed on and chartered the coasts of Smith Sound (now called Kane Basin) and penetrated farther north than any other explorer had done up to that time. At Cape Constitution he discovered the ice-free Kennedy Channel, later followed by Hayes, Hall, Greely, and Robert E. Peary in turn as they drove toward the North Pole.
Kane finally abandoned the icebound brig Advance 20 May 1855 and escaped the clutches of the frozen north by an 83-day march of indomitable courage to Upernavik. The party, carrying the invalids, lost only one man in the retreat to stand in the annals of Arctic exploration as the archetype of victory over defeat. Kane returned to New York 11 October 1855 and the following year published his two-volume "Arctic Explorations." After visiting England, he sailed to Havana, Cuba, where he died 16 February 1857.
(T-AGS-27: dp. 2,623 t.; l. 282'11½"; b. 48'; s. 12 k.; cpl. 44; a. none.)
The second Kane (T-AGS-27) was launched 20 November 1965 by the Christy Corp., Sturgeon Bay, Wis.; sponsored by Mrs. Harold T. Duetermann, wife of Vice Admiral Deutermann; assigned to MSTS; and placed in service 26 May 1967 for scientific operations under the Atlantic. Besides conducting coastal hydrographic and oceanographic surveys, Kane also tends small survey craft, helicopters, and Marine Corps survey teams. She is capable of compiling and printing finished charts on the spot to meet fleet and landing force requirements and has accommodations for scientists.