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(T-AGM-6: dp. 15,200 (f.) ; l. 455.3'; b. 62.2'; dr. 28.6'; s. 17.0 k.; cpl. 56; cl. Range Tracker)

Cities and towns in the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Niantic Victory was laid down on 12 February 1944 at Portland, Oreg., by the Oregon Shipbuilding Corp. under a Maritime Commission contract (MCV hull 100); launched on 25 April 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Marvin Owen; and delivered to the Maritime Commission on 18 May 1944. From 1944 until 1957, Niantic Victory was operated for the Maritime Commission by a succession of contractor firms, beginning with the American-Hawaiian Steamship Line and ending with the Isbrandtsen Co. in 1957. Her activities between 1957 and 1960 are a mystery. She was listed in the American Bureau of Shipping Record as still belonging to the Maritime Commission, but no operator was listed. Furthermore, she was dropped from the active list of Maritime Commission ships in the April 1957 issue of Merchant Vessel Register. All of this suggests that she went out of service early in 1957. This speculation, however, cannot be corroborated, because her name does not appear in any of the lists of ships in National Defense Reserve Fleet berthing areas.

In any event, Niantic Victory was turned over to the Navy Department in 1960 and assigned to the Military Sea Transportation Service on 11 August for conversion to a range instrumentation ship. On 27 November, she was renamed Watertown and designated AGM-6. For the next 11 years, she served in the Pacific in support of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Air Force on the latter service's Western Missile Test Range. She operated as a mobile tracking station, recording test data from missiles and satellites out of range of land-based stations. In February 1972, the Air Force decided that it no longer required Watertown's services. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 16 February 1972, and she was returned to the Maritime Administration at its berthing facility at Suisun Bay, Calif., on 23 March. She was probably sold for scrap soon thereafter.

Published: Mon Oct 26 16:28:17 EDT 2015