From: Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
YAG-39: dp. 3,890 (It.); l. 442'; b. 57'; dr. 30'; s. 10 k.; cpl 100; a. none; T. EC2-S-C1
George Eastman, a "Liberty~type" cargo ship, was laid down under Maritime Commission contract 24 March 1943 by Permanente Metals Corp., Yard 2, Richmond, Calif.; launched 20 April 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Ann Troutman, and delivered under charter from WSA to Pacific Atlantic Steamship Co., Vancouver, Wash., 5 May 1943.
She operated as a merchant cargo carrier until placed in the National Defense Reserve Fleet in Suisun Bay, Calif., 24 June 1948. Later taken out of reserve, she was chartered to Pacific Far East Line, Inc., San Francisco, 24 December 1951 and operated as a merchantman in the Far East during the Korean War. On 2 June 1952 she was transferred by the Maritime Administration to the custody of the Navy at Suisun Bay.
Acquired by the Navy 2 April 1953, she was designated YAG-39 the following month. She was then fitted out with numerous scientific instruments, including nuclear detection and measurement devices, which enabled her to conduct contamination and fallout measurement tests after nuclear explosions. Manned by an experimental crew in a specially protected control cubicle, she also was fitted with electronic remote-control gear that enabled her to serve as a robot ship.
Following extensive conversion, YAG-39 was placed in service at San Francisco 20 October 1953, Lt. Comdr. Hugh W. Anglin in command. Assigned to Joint Task Force 7, she steamed to Eniwetok, Marshall Islands, where from March through May 1954 she participated in atomic tests at the Pacific Proving Grounds. During Operation Castle," a nuclear underwater test, she gathered fallout data and carried out experimental ship protection studies. After returning to San Francisco, she was placed out of service from June until February 1955.
In May, YAG-39 again served with Joint Task Force 7 during Operation "Wigwam," the deep underwater nuclear test carried out in the Eastern Pacific. During the next 10 months she operated between the West Coast and Hawaii, and conducted various experimental tests before returning to Eniwetok 8 April 1956 to participate in additional nuclear tests. From 21 May to 23 July she took part in four nuclear-proving tests and gathered scientific data to advance our knowledge of the atom and the effects of nuclear fission.
Departing Eniwetok 28 July, YAG 39 steamed via Pearl Harbor to San Francisco where she arrived 16 August. After receiving additional scientific equipment, she departed San Francisco 6 February 1957 to resume experimental operations off the California coast. During the next few months she steamed with YAG-40 while testing advanced weapons and ship protection systems. Towed to San Diego 21 October for inactivation, she was placed out of service 1 November and assigned to the Pacific Reserve Fleet at San Diego.
Reactivated in 1962, YAG-39 commissioned at San Francisco 20 October, Lt. Comdr. William G. Sternberg in command. With her sister ship, YAG-40, she departed San Francisco 15 November for Pearl Harbor, where she arrived 24 November for underway training. Assigned to Service Squadron 5, she operated off Hawaii and carried out extensive experimental tests in the fields of ship protection systems and scientific warfare analysis. On 3 July 1963 she was assigned her former merchant name, George Eastman.
Transcribed by: Bill Mozingo, email@example.com