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Wyman

 

Eldon P. Wyman—born in Portland, Oreg., on 11 January 1917—attended the University of Oregon from 1936 to 1940 before he enlisted in the Naval Reserve as an apprentice seaman on 22 August 1940 at Portland. After training in Tuscaloosa (CA-37), he accepted an appointment as midshipman in the Naval Reserve on 17 March 1941.

 

Attending the Naval Reserve Midshipman's School at Northwestern University, Chicago, 111., Wyman was commissioned ensign on 12 June and reported to Oklahoma (BB-37) on 19 July. That battleship subsequently operated out of Pearl Harbor as a unit of Battleship Division 1 on exercises in the Hawaiian operating area and off the west coast as tensions increased in the Pacific and in the Far East. By early in December 1941, Wyman was serving as junior watch officer of the ship's "F" (fire control) division. Moored outboard of Maryland (BB-46) on that "day of infamy," Oklahoma took four aerial torpedoes and rolled over at her berth; among those trapped within the doomed ship's hull was Ensign Eldon P. Wyman.

 

Robert H. Wyman—born at Portsmouth, N.H., on 12 July 1822—was appointed midshipman on 11 March 1837 and served initially in the razee Independence on the Brazil station. After sea duty in the sloops-of-war Fairfield and John Adams—the latter commanded by his father—he was appointed passed midshipman in 1843. Over the next three years, Wyman served in South American waters in the schooner On-ka-hy-e, the brig Perry, and the frigate Brandywine before participating in the Mexican War in Commodore Conner's Home Squadron—first in the steamer Princeton and later in the brig Porpoise and the sloop Albany. During that time, he took part in the expeditions against Tampico during November 1864 and Veracruz in March 1847.

 

Passed Midshipman Wyman spent a tour of duty ashore at the Naval Observatory, Washington, D.C., before reporting to the receiving ship at Boston, Franklin, and subsequently being promoted to lieutenant on 16 July 1850. Over the next decade, he served at sea; and the outbreak of the Civil War in April 1861 found him in command of Richmond on the Mediterranean station.

 

Early in July, soon after he brought that steam sloop-of-war home for wartime duty, he took command of Yankee. In September, Wyman assumed command of Pocahontas. That ship, as part of the Potomac River Flotilla, helped to keep open the Union's vital waterway communications with Washington while cutting off Southern forces from their sympathizers in southern Maryland.

 

Commanding the steamer Pawnee from October 1861, Wyman took part in Flag Officer DuPont's capture of the key seaport of Port Royal, S.C. After that operation, Wyman returned north and took command 01 the Potomac River Flotilla on 6 December 1861. He held this important post until the end of June 1862. During his time in the Potomac, he was active in maintaining Union control of that vital river and of much of the Rappahannock during General McClellan's Peninsular Campaign. His ships destroyed Southern bridges, captured nine Confederate ships, and burned 40 schooners.

 

Promoted to commander on 16 July 1862, Wyman was ordered to command the gunboat Sonoma on the James River. Transferred to the West Indian Squadron the following October, he commanded the steam sloop Wachusett and the paddle steamer Santiago de Cuba, and captured the blockade runners Brittania and Lizzie. During the last two years of the War Between the States, Wyman served on special duty in the Navy Department in Washington.

 

After the Civil War, Wyman commanded Colorado, the flagship for the European Squadron, and was promoted to captain on 25 July 1866 and took command of the steam sloop Ticonderoga the following year. After that tour of sea duty, Wyman headed the Navy's Hydrographic Office for eight years, receiving promotions to commodore on 19 July 1872 and to rear admiral on 26 April 1878. His leadership of the Hydro-graphic Office proved to be of great importance to the Navy and seafaring men in general. Through the Civil War, the United States Navy had relied upon foreign sources—principally British—for their navigational charts, doing little of their own hydrographic work. Under Wyman's direction, the office began a systematic and sustained program of world-wide charting and surveying, the precursor of the Navy's present globe-girdling oceanographic research effort.

 

Following his promotion to flag rank in the spring of 1878, Wyman was given command of the North Atlantic Squadron. Subsequently becoming chairman of the Lighthouse Board, Rear Admiral Wyman died in Washington, D.C., on 2 December 1882.

 

The first Wyman (DE-38) honors Ensign Eldon P. Wyman; the second Wyman (T-AGS-34) honors Rear Admiral Robert H. Wyman.

 

II

 

(T-AGS-34: dp. 2,596 (1); l. 286'7½ "; b. 48'0"; dr. 15'0"; s. 15.5 k.; cpl. 43; cl. Wilkes)

 

The second Wyman (T-AGS-34)—an oceanographic survey vessel—was laid down on 18 July 1968 at Bay City, Mich., by the Defoe Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 30 October 1969; sponsored by Mrs. Francis J. Blouin, wife of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, Vice Admiral F. J. Blouin; and was accepted by the Military Sealift Command (MSC) on 19 November 1971 at the Boston Naval Shipyard. J. H. Blythe was the ship's first civil service master.

 

Wyman, designed and built to conduct hydro-graphic and oceanographic studies and operated by a civilian crew, serves with MSC under the technical direction of the Oceanographer of the Navy. Initially assigned to MSC Atlantic, Wyman was transferred to MSC Pacific on 16 November 1974 for a brief tour of duty that lasted into the summer of 1975. She was returned to MSC Atlantic at Port Canaveral, Fla., on 21 August 1975 and remained active with that fleet into 1979.