From: Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships


Nathaniel Bowditch was born in Salem, Mass, 26 March 1773. An astronomer and navigator, he published the first edition of his The New American Practical Navigator in 1802. He was the author of numerous other scientific works including a translation and commentary on Laplace's classic Mecanique Celeste. He died in Boston Mass., 16 March 1838.

(AG-30: dp. 5405; l. 386'; b. 53'; dr. 21'6"; s. 12 k.; cpl. 406; a. 4 3")

Bowditch (AG-30) was launched in 1929 by Burmeister and Wain, Copenhagen, Denmark, as the passenger ship Santa Inez, purchased by the Navy 4 March 1940, temporarily commissioned 12 March 1940, outfitted as a surveying vessel by Norfolk Navy Yard, and commissioned 1 July 1940, Commander E. E. Duvall in command.

Following commissioning Bowditch made geodetic surveys in Little Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, Bermuda; the Bahamas; Jamaica; Cuba; and Haiti. Departing Norfolk 9 January 1942 she steamed south to conduct surveys of the waters between Panama and Colombia; off the Galapagos Islands, and off the Cocos Islands Costa Rica. Returning to Norfolk for repairs 21 November 1942, she departed for the south again 17 February 1943. After survey work in the Caribbean through May, she transited the Panama Canal to work along the coasts of Panama, Colombia, and Ecuador. Bowditch was reclassified AGS-4, 1 December 1943.

Assigned to Service Force, Pacific Fleet, she arrived at Pearl Harbor 6 January 1944. Bowditch served as a survey ship during the invasion of Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls (4 February-2 April 1944); occupation of Saipan (22 July-4 October); and the capture of Okinawa (18 April-2 September 1945). While off Okinawa she helped rescue survivors of Montgomery (DM-17) and PC-1603. Bowditch remained off Okinawa until 3 November 1946 when she departed for the United States. She arrived at San Francisco 29 November. On 17 February 1946 she sailed for Bikini Atoll to begin preliminary surveys for Operation Crossroads. She continued surveying at Bikini after the atomic bomb tests, returning to San Francisco 19 October 1946.

Bowditch left San Francisco for Norfolk 23 November and was decommissioned there 31 January 1947. She was transferred to the Maritime Commission 9 June 1948.

Bowditch received three battle stars for her World War II service.