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.
Bowditch (AGS-21) was launched 30 June 1945 by Oregon Shipbuilding Co., Portland, Oreg., as South Bend Victory for the Maritime Commission, sponsored by line. Margaret H. Loney; acquired by the Navy in August 1957, underwent conversion to an AGS at Charleston Naval Shipyard; renamed Bowditch 8 August 1957; placed in service 8 October 1958; and reported to the Military Sea Transportation Service.