Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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USS Bear (AG-29)

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS Bear (AG-29)

USS Bear was built in 1874 by Alexander Stephen and Sons, Ltd., Dundee, Scotland, as a sealing vessel; purchased by the Navy at St. John's, Newfound land, 28 January 1884; and commissioned 17 March 1884, Lieutenant W. H. Emory in command.

USS Bear was purchased for use in the rescue of Lieutenant A. W. Greeley, USA, and his expedition, who were marooned in the Arctic. Bear and Thetis successfully rescued Greeley and the six other survivors at Cape Sabine, 22 June 1884. In April 1885 USS Bear was decommissioned and transferred to the revenue Cutter Service.

She remained with the Revenue Cutter Service and Coast Guard until 1929, making 34 voyages to Alaskan and Arctic waters. Sold by the Coast Guard in 1929 to the City of Oakland, Calif., for use as a museum, she was used (as Bear of Oakland) by Rear Admiral R. E. Byrd during his Antarctic Expedition of 1933-35. Repurchased by the Navy 11 September 1939, she was commissioned the same day as USS Bear (AG-29). Following two voyages to the Antarctic (22 November 1939-5 June 1940 and 10 October 1940-18 May 1941),  USS Bear (AG-29) served with the Northeast Greenland Patrol until returning to Boston 15 November 1943. She was decommissioned 17 May 1944 and transferred to the Maritime Commission 13 February 1948.

For a complete history of USS Bear (AG-29) please see its DANFS page.