Conversion To Radar Picket Ship
The Navy selected William J. Riddle for conversion to a radar picket ship in May 1957. Towed to the Charleston Naval Shipyard (South Carolina) soon thereafter, conversion work began on 24 May 1957. Renamed Interrupter, and classified as AGR-15, the erstwhile "Liberty" was commissioned at Charleston, South Carolina, 16 October 1958, Lt. Comdr. George S. Harrison in command.
Following shakedown in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and post-shakedown availability at her conversion yard, Interrupter sailed for the Pacific Ocean. She transited the Panama Canal on 26 January 1959 and arrived at her home port, San Francisco, California, on 12 February, the sixth AGR to join newly formed Radar Picket Squadron 1.
Fitted out with the latest radar detection equipment, Interrupter and her seven Guardian-class sister ships were designed to serve as the seaborne eyes of the North American Air Defense Command -- the naval link in the chain of early-warning stations covering the Pacific approaches to the United States. Her mission was to "detect, report, and track enemy airborne threats approaching by overseas routes and to control the intercepts used to destroy such threats."
Before putting to sea for her first patrol, she conducted training evolutions with U.S. Air Force officers embarked on board for familiarization with the ship's mission. In addition, Interrupter's, officers and men familiarized themselves with the Air Force's part in this vital mission. On 6 March 1959, Interrupter sailed from San Francisco on her first barrier patrol.
Read more about this topic: USS Tracer (AGR-15)
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