George Washington Littlehales, born in Pottsville, Pa., 14 October 1860, graduated from the Naval Academy 9 June 1883. He resigned from the Navy 2 years later to join the Hydrographic Office. An eminent mathematician, oceanographer, and civil engineer, Littlehales compiled many publications in navigation, terrestrial magnetism, and oceanography. He served as chairman of the Section of Physical Oceanography, American Geophysical Union, and as vice president of the Section of Oceanography, International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics. He was a member of the Washington Academy of Science, the Philosophical Society, and the American Society of Naval Engineers. From 1919 until retirement, Littlehales ably represented the United States at numerous hydrographic congresses and councils throughout the world.
Littlehales died 12 August 1943 at Washington, D.C.
(YF-854: t. 300 (lt.); 132'6"; b. 31'; dr. 9'; s. 10 k. cpl. 19; a. none; cl. YF-852)
The second Littlehales (AGSC-15) was laid down as YF-854 31 May 1945 by Erie Concrete & Steel Co., Erie, Pa.; launched 28 August 1945; and commissioned 17 December 1952.
Launched at the end of World War II, YF-854 remained inactive until commissioning in 1952. From 1953 to 1958, the ship conducted surveys and collected data along the west coast from Alaska to Panama.
On 14 February 1959, YF-854 was named Littlehales and redesignated AGSC-15. For the next 3 years, she surveyed along the east coast, making oceanic soundings and charting harbors from Mayport, Fla., to Argentina, Newfoundland.
The ship joined Project AUTEC (Atlantic Underwater Test and Evaluation Center) in February 1962, for open ocean research in TOTO (Tongue of the Ocean) off the Bahamas. From 1962 to 1968 Littlehales operated in the TOTO area, with only occasional visits to her home port at Little Creek, Va. The data gathered by Littlehales is helping science unravel the oceanís age-old secrets and widening manís horizons. She was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 20 February 1968 and in an event rare in Naval History, was decommissioned 1 April 1968, over a month after she had been struck.