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Pathfinder II (T-AGS-60)


The second U.S. Navy ship named for one who discovers a new route through untraversed regions.


(T-AGS-60: displacement 5,000; length 329'; beam 58'; draft 19'; speed 16 knots; complement 51; armament none; class Pathfinder)

The second Pathfinder (T-AGS-60) was laid down on 3 August 1992 at Moss Point, Miss., by Halter Marine, Inc.; launched on 4 October 1993; sponsored by Mrs. Beverly Nelson, wife of Stewart B. Nelson, Ship Design Coordinator, Naval Oceanographic Office; and was placed in service with the Military Sealift Command (MSC) on 28 October 1994.

Pathfinder II (T-AGS-60) 1994-MSC
Pathfinder is the lead ship of a class of oceanographic survey ships that support worldwide oceanography programs. (Unattributed or dated U.S. Navy photograph, Pathfinder (T-AGS-60), Ship Inventory, MSC)

The MSC’s Special Mission program supports worldwide oceanographic programs with ships like Pathfinder that perform acoustical, biological, physical, and geophysical surveys. These ships gather data that provides much of the military’s information on the ocean environment. The collected data helps to improve technology in undersea warfare and detecting enemy ships. In particular, Pathfinder utilizes a variety of underway, towed, and over-the-side systems to support bathymetry, hydrography, physical oceanography, and navigation.

Pathfinder II (T-AGS-60) 1994-080906-N-3970R-001
Capt. Troy Erwin, Pathfinder’s master, greets Ukrainian Navy Adm. Igor Tenukh before the ship sails from Sevastopol, Ukraine, 6 September 2008. Pathfinder embarks a Ukrainian oceanographic surveying team and members of the U.S.-based Institute for Exploration, and carries out an at-sea capabilities demonstration with Ukraine’s Department of Underwater Heritage. According to the institute’s preliminary cruise report, the ship identifies at least 15 shipwrecks during her voyage, including German submarine U-18 from World War II and World War I-vintage Russian minelayer Prut. The expedition does not, however, achieve one of its objectives and fails to discover Soviet hospital ship Armenia, sunk by German planes during World War II. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jenniffer Rivera, U.S. Navy Photograph 080906-N-3970R-001, Navy NewsStand)
Pathfinder II (T-AGS-60) 1994-101021-N-5972N-006
Daniel Braun (left to right), Eric Sanchez, and David Barney, Systems Center Pacific engineers at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, inspect littoral battlespace sensing gliders on board Pathfinder at San Diego, Calif., 21 October 2010. Each glider hosts a payload suite of sensors that measure the physical characteristics of the water column as the glider routinely descends and ascends in the ocean. The ship deploys the gliders during at-sea testing in southern Californian waters, 22 October–6 November. (Rick Naystatt, U.S. Navy Photograph 101021-N-5972N-006, Navy NewsStand)
Pathfinder II (T-AGS-60) 1994-141023-N-WA189-008
Patrick Murphy, Pathfinder’s master, shows the navigation system of the ship’s bridge to Rear Adm. George W. Ballance, Commander Naval Forces Southern Command/Fourth Fleet, and Rear Adm. Peter J. Clarke, Deputy Director Joint Interagency Task Force South, during a tour of the ship at Naval Station Mayport, Fla., 23 October 2014. Also pictured are: Lt. Emily Merritt (right) and Lee Kormondy, Senior Naval Representative for Naval Oceanographic Office (middle). (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Adam Henderson, U.S. Navy Photograph 141023-N-WA189-008, Naval Oceanography, Facebook)

Detailed history pending.

Mark L. Evans

14 December 2015

Published: Mon Jan 11 14:06:01 EST 2016