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Staten Island

(AGB-5: dp. 3,575; l. 269'; b. 64'; dr. 29'; s. 16 k.; cpl. 365; cl. Burton Island)

An island at the entrance of New York harbor, forming the county and borough of Richmond, New York City.

Staten Island (AGB-5) was built by the Western Pipe and Steel Co., San Pedro, Calif., and delivered to Russia under the Lend-Lease program on 24 February 1944 and served that country as Severny Veter (Northwind). The ship was returned to the United States at Bremerhaven, Germany, on 19 December 1951 and commissioned there on 31 January 1952 as Northwind (AGB-5), Lt. Comdr. Edmund L. Andronik in command.

Originally built as an icebreaker, the ship arrived at Boston, Mass., on 25 February for overhaul and fitting out as a unit of the United States Atlantic Fleet. Her name was changed to Staten Island on 15 April 1952 to avoid confusion with the Coast Guard ship Northwind. She departed Boston on 1 July 1952 and proceeded to Grenfell Sound, Labrador, to conduct ice reconnaissance in Frobisher Bay.

Staten Island remained in Frobisher Bay on icebreaker duty until 8 September when she returned to Boston. She remained in the New England area until 25 April 1953 when she sailed for Resolution Island to relieve Edisto (AGB-2) until returning to Boston on 10 June. In August, she became the first Navy ship to cut through the Davis Strait from Thule to the "Alert" station on Ellesmere Island, approximately 435 miles from the North Pole. She conducted a total of six ice breaking operations in northern waters between 1952 and 15 December 1954. On 19 May 1955, Staten Island sailed for the Pacific and duty with Service Squadron 1.

The ship arrived at her new homeport, Seattle, on 10 June. The following week, she got underway to assist in resupplying the Distant Early Warning (DEW) radar stations along the top of the North American continent, returning to Seattle on 28 September 1955. From 5 July to 6 September 1956, Staten Island again broke ice for ships resupplying the DEW line.

Staten Island stood out of Seattle on 3 November en route to Antarctica to assist in Operation "Deep Freeze II." She was joined at the Canal Zone by the attack cargo ship, Wyandot (AKA-92), which carried scientists, construction teams, and material for an Antarctic outpost. The two ships reached the Weddell Sea ice pack on 15 December and, five days later, crossed the Antarctic Circle. After breaking through heavy ice, the two ships arrived within a few miles of Cape Adams, the original site chosen for Ellsworth Station. The beach, mostly sheer ice cliffs as high as 150 feet in places, made it impractical to offload Wyandot. The ships proceeded to the Gould Bay area where the base site was selected. On 11 February 1957, the Ellsworth International Geophysical Station was commissioned. The icebreaker began the long voyage home that evening and arrived at Seattle on 5 April.

Staten Island participated in operations and expeditions in the Arctic and Antarctic until early 1966. She was placed out of commission on 1 February 1966 and, by a previous agreement with the Coast Guard, was recommissioned in that service as USCGC Staten Island (W-AGB-278). Staten Island was struck from the Navy list on 1 March 1966.

Published: Thu Sep 24 15:09:52 EDT 2015