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WAGB 4 Glacier

Pack ice is composed of massed fragments of sea ice drifting with wind and current. Modern Icebreakers such as Glacier, Edisto and Eastwind normally transit such ice fields without difficulty or loss of speed. However, thinned skinned vessels must be protected from ice pressures against their hulls. This may be accomplished by leading the escorted vessel through the dangerous areas with its bow lashed firmly into the notched stern of the icebreaker.

The fourth Glacier (AGB-4) was launched 27 August 1954 by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Corp., Pascagoula, Miss.; sponsored by Mrs. Roscoe F. Good; and commissioned 27 May 1955, Comdr. E .H. Mater in command. The U.S. Coast Guard Icebreaker Glacier is significant as the last remaining vessel of the U.S. Navy's icebreaking fleet as well as the only extant diesel-electric, DC-powered icebreaker. The ship served in the U.S. Navy from 1955 until 30 June 1966 when the U.S. Coast Guard acquired it. As a polar icebreaker, the Glacier undertook twenty-one deployments to the Antarctic and another ten to the Arctic. The ship proved critical in establishing permanent American bases in the Antarctic and resupplying them annually, which fostered scientific study. The Glacier is considered a prototype in icebreaker construction.

The USS Glacier (AGB-4) was the most powerful icebreaker the Navy had during the first years of Operation Deep Freeze. As part of Operation DEEP FREEZE I between November 1955 and April 1956, the Navy began to prepare the way for a permanent research station on Antarctica. It was also a shakedown cruise for the Navys newest and largest icebreaker, U.S.S. Glacier. The ship proved itself to be very reliable, faster, and more effective than older icebreakers. Icebreaker Glacier's shakedown cruise and maiden voyage were combined in her important role in Operation Deep Freeze I. Her first encounter with the ice came in December 1955, when after breaking through the Ross Ice Pack, she carved out an ice harbor in Kainan Bay to permit the offloading of cargo ships at the site for Little America V.

She continued operations off McMurdo 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 llth Operation "Deep Freeze," Glacier returned to her home port, Boston, Mass., in the late spring of 1966. On 1 July 1966 Glacier was struck from the Navy List after transfer to the Coast Guard 30 June 1966.

Displacement to DWL7,600 long tons
Displacement, maximum8,449 long tons
Length overall310'7"
Length, DWL290'0"
Beam, maximum74'3"
Beam, DWL72'6"
Depth to main deck38'4"
Draft to DWL25'9"
Draft, maximum28'6"
PropulsionDiesel-electric
SHP16,000
Number of screws2
Speed, knots, cruisingl7.6
Cruising Range25,000 Miles
Complementl97
WAGB 4 Glacier WAGB 4 Glacier
WAGB 4 Glacier



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Page last modified: 18-04-2019 14:30:37 ZULU