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Mission Capistrano


A merchant name retained. A Franciscan mission in colonial California founded by Fr. Junipero Serra in 1776.




(AO‑112: dp. 21,880; l. 524'; b. 68'; d. 30'; s. 16 k.; cpl. 52; a. none; cl. Mission Buenaventura; T. T2‑SE A2)


Mission Capistrano was laid down 29 February 1944 under a Maritime Commission contract by Marine Ship Corp., Sausalito, Calif.; launched 7 May 1944; sponsored by Mrs. James E. George; and delivered 14 June 1944.


Chartered to Pacific Tankers Inc., she spent the rest of the war supporting our forces overseas until returned to the Maritime Commission 20 April 1946 and laid up at the Maritime Commission Reserve Fleet at Mobile, Ala.


Acquired by the Navy on 17 November 1947, she was designated as Mission Capistrano (AO‑112) and transferred to the Naval Transportation Service for duty. She served with this service until 1 October 1949, when the Naval Transportation Service was absorbed into the new Military Sea Transportation Service. Redesignated USNS Mission Capistrano (T‑AO‑112), she was transferred to the operational control of MSTS on the same date. She continued her service with MSTS until 10 January 1955, when she was transferred to the Maritime Administration and laid up at the Beaumont, Tex., Reserve Fleet.


Reacquired by the Navy on 5 July 1956, she was transferred to MSTS on the same date and placed in service for further duty with MSTS. She continued her voyages along the world’s tanker routes transporting oil to and from the United States until early 1960 when she entered the Todd Shipyards at New Orleans for conversion to a sound testing ship. Reclassified AG‑162 on 1 July 1960, she was modified to carry an ultra‑high‑powered sonar transducer array that is five stories high and several tons in weight. The transducer can be raised and lowered like a centerboard through the ship’s bottom. Upon completion of her conversion, she joined Project “Artemis”, a project designed to ultimately produce a system that can detect submarines at long range. Into 1969, Mission Capistrano is continuing these duties.