(YAGR–7: dp. 10,590 (f.); l. 441’6”; b. 56’11”; dr. 27’; s. 11 k.; cpl. 137; a. 2 3”; cl. Guardian; T. Z–EC2–S–C5)
Picket (YAGR–7) was laid down 28 March 1945 as S.S. James F. Harrell (MCE hull 3138) by J. A. Jones Construction Co., Panama City, Fla.; launched 17 May 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Alice Harrell; and delivered for merchant marine service 11 June 1945.
As a merchant ship, James F. Harrell served Alcoa Steamship Lines June to October 1945. Following assignment to the National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River, Va., 6 October 1945 to 31 January 1947, she served U.S. Navigation Co., Baltimore, Md., January 1947 to August 1948. Her next merchant duty was for Boland and Cornelius Co., New York, August 1948. Picket remained in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Wilmington, 29 August 1948 to 11 July 1955.
Acquired by the Navy 12 July 1955, and renamed Picket, the merchant ship was towed to the Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Va., for conversion to radar station ship YAGR–7. She commissioned 8 February 1956, and was reclassified AGR–7 on 28 September 1958.
From 1956 to 1965, Picket used her long range radar and communications equipment to serve the North American Air Defense Command. She provided vital radar information on seaward air approaches to the Pacific coast. She spent more than half of 1964 at sea, on various stations 500 to 600 miles off the west coast of the U.S. and Canada. Her sea tours usually included 30 to 35 days at sea, followed by 15 to 30 days in San Francisco between patrols.
Struck from the Naval Vessel Register 1 September 1965, Picket joined the Maritime Administration Reserve Fleet, Suisun Bay, San Francisco, Calif., where she remains in 1970.