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USS Glacier AGB-4 Association

USS Glacier History

The Ingalls Shipbuilding Corp., Pascagoula, Miss., launched the fourth Glacier (AGB-4) and commissioned 27 May 1955 Comdr. E. H. Maher in command.

Glacier's shakedown cruise and maiden voyage were combined in her important role in Operation Deep Freeze 1. Her first encounter with the ice came in Click to enlargeDecember 1955 when, after breaking through the Ross Ice Pack, Glacier subsequently continued 400 miles west to break ice into an off-loading site for the establishment of the Naval Air Facility at McMurdo Sound. Glacier returned to Boston, her home port, 6 May 1956 after these accomplishments.

Click to enlargeThe ship returned to McMurdo Sound 28 October 1956 asClick to enlarge spearhead for Deep Freeze II. After supply deliveries there and at Little America, she led seven other Navy ships from New Zealand through the ice pack to the two Antarctic base sites.

During Deep Freeze III and the IGY of 1957-58, Glacier participated as a launching platform for extensive "rockoon" test during which balloon-lifted rockets gained information useful to the "Explorer" space satellite program.

The summer of 1958 found Glacier at the opposite end of the earth as she escorted ships participating in Operation Sunec for the resupply of North Polar Click to enlargeradar and weather stations. By November of that same year, however, she was again near the South Pole at McMurdo Sound, and after supplying the base steamed to Little America V to begin deactivation of that station. Fifth of the Navy's Antarctic support operations, Deep Freeze 60 (for the season 1959-60) took the ship once more to McMurdo and a tour of exploration into the Bellingshausen Sea.

The Icebreaker departed Boston 13 October 1960 on her sixth Antarctic voyage and reached Port Lyttleton, New Zealand, 21 November to unload cargo. Most of December was spent breaking a 21-mile channel through McMurdo Sound toClick to enlarge open the way for the thin-hulled supply ships. Following the return voyage to Wellington for repairs and to receive the Navy Unit Commendation for her Bellingshausen achievement of the preceding expedition, she again entered the ice-choked Amundsen. Work continued until March 1961 when she sailed for Boston, arriving 27 April.

Underway again 8 October 1961 for Deep Freeze 62, she loaded cargo at Port Lyttleton in early November and encountered the Ross Sea ice pack 13 November, reaching McMurdo Sound by the end of the month. She returned to New Zealand 6 March 1962 and subsequently put in at Boston 5 May after steaming 36,000 miles.

The busy ship stood out of Boston 17 September 1962 for Deep Freeze 63, entering the pack ice 6 November and reaching the edge of the fast bay ice of Click to enlargeMcMurdo Sound a week later. The thickness of the ice necessitated repairs at Wellington. Glacier was again churning through McMurdo Sound en route to McMurdo Station by 31 December 1962 . She continued operations off Click to enlargeMcMurdo Station through 1965. One of her many duties was to keep the channel open for supply ships. On 29 December 1965, Atka (AGB-3) and Burton Island (AGB-1) assisted her in pushing an iceberg out of the shipping lane. After further participation in her 11th Operation "Deep Freeze," Glacier returned to the home port, Boston, Mass., in the late spring of 1966.

On July 1 1966 Glacier was struck from the Navy list after transfer to the Coast Guard 30 June 1966.

Keel Laid
Overall Length
Extreme Beam
Light Displacement
Full Load Displacement
Maximum Speed
Cruising Range
03 August 1953
27 August 1954
27 May 1955
310 Feet
074 Feet
028 Feet
4,960 Tons
8,625 Tons
17 Knots
25,000 Miles


Aviation Officers:
Aviation Enlisted:

The Glacier is currently anchored in Suisun Bay, CA, with the Federal Reserve Click to enlarge Fleet, the only remaining Ice Breaker afloat of the original U. S. Navy Ice Breaker Fleet. She was visited in 1993 by shipmate John Willard and in 1995 by shipmate Bob Dietrich. Both men took a group of pictures.

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