Naval History and Heritage Command

National Museum of the U.S. Navy

NH 55390:  Steam yacht Corsair III prior to World War I service.  NHHC Photograph Collection.

USS Corsair (SP-159), later USS Oceanographer (AGS-3)

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USS Corsair (SP-159), later USS Oceanographer (AGS-3)

Built as private steam yacht by T.S. Marvel Shipbuilding, Newburgh, New York, Corsair III was launched in December 1898.  Upon United States entry into World War I, she was acquired by the U.S. Navy in May 1917 and renamed USS Corsair (SP-159).  Departing with the first Atlantic Convoy of American Expeditionary Forces to France, she performed escort and patrol duties off France, later relocating to Ireland and Scotland.  After the war, she was returned for private yacht service.   In January 1930, Corsair III was brought into service by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey and renamed USCGS Oceanographer (OSS-26), where she surveyed the east coast of the United States.   Acquired again by the U.S. Navy in April 1942, following United States entry into World War II, she was briefly named USS Natchez (PG-85) before renamed USS Oceanographer (AGS-3).   Ordered to the Pacific, she served in the Solomon Islands area during the Guadalcanal Campaign and helped to chart the area for amphibious landings until June 1944 when she departed for repairs.  Following inspection at both Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, and San Pedro, California, Oceanographer was decommissioned that September and was later scrapped.  

A model of Corsair can be found in the World War I section at the National Museum of the U.S. Navy.    

Image:  NH 55390:  Steam yacht Corsair III prior to service during World War I.  NHHC Photograph Collection.