Return to HOME Page  


Her History

A Island of the same name about 20 miles south of Charleston, S.C.

Edisto (AG-89), one of the world's most powerful icebreakers, was launched 29 May 1946 by Western Pipe and Steel Co., San Pedro, Calif.; sponsored by Mrs. George B. Gelly; and commissioned 20 March 1947, Commander E. C. Folger in command. 

She was reclassified AGB-2, 28 January 1949.

Edisto sailed for the east coast 11 April 1947 to shake down. During a training cruise to Greenland that summer she crossed the Arctic Circle for the first of many times in her career. Upon return to Boston, she was assigned to TF 39 for the Second Antarctic Development Project. 

She sailed 1 November for a rendezvous via Panama with Burton Island (AG-88) at Samoa. Together they ventured south into the Ross Sea. Edisto trained sailors and tested cold weather equipment, and investigated installations and equipment left by Operation "Highjump," the previous year. The data she collected might be the key to understanding geographic, hydrographic, photographic, oceanographic, meteorological and electromagnetic conditions in south polar regions. 

Returning to Boston 31 March 1948, Edisto immediately began preparations for summer in the far north. Her task force resupplied weather stations at Thule and on Ellesmere and Ellif Rengnes Islands. The ships did reconnaissance to establish additional weather stations, trained men in cold-weather operations, tested equipment and collected a variety of data. Except for brief repairs in Boston when ice had snapped a propeller shaft, Edisto continued this grueling grind until 25 September 1948.

Edisto's next cruise to the north was purely exploratory. Not even waiting for summer, she went out of Boston 24 January 1949, to determine how much an icebreaker would be limited by the foul Arctic storms and lowest 

 temperature. She weathered extreme subzero conditions and returned proudly to Boston 25 March.

From 1949 through 1960, Edisto continued her indispensable support to exploration in both Arctic and Antarctic. She supplied bases,  reported ice packs and floes; took part in oceanographic, hydrographic, geological, coast and geodetic, and hydrophone surveys and Arctic convoy exercises.

Transcribed by Yves HUBERT

 Commissioned USCGC Edisto (WAGB-284), 20 October 1965 at Boston, MA; Decommissioned by the Coast Guard, 15 November 1974 at USCG Yard, Baltimore, MD; Transferred to the Maritime Administration for disposal; Final disposition, fate unknown.

Specifications: Displacement 3,575 t(lt) 6,500 t.(fl).; Length 269'; Beam 63' 9"; Draft 25' 9"; Speed 16kts; Complement, Navy 353, Coast Guard 204; Armament one single 5"/38 dual purpose gun mount; Aircraft, Coast Guard, two helicopters; Propulsion, six 10 cylinder Fairbanks-Morris diesel engines, which furnished power to two low speed direct drive 5,000hp dc main motors.

NEW INFO as of 07/29/01

  20 Oct 65 - Dec 71 EDISTO remained stationed in Boston, MA, and used for icebreaking; 29 Jul - 1 Sep 66 conducted oceanographic cruise in Baffin Bay and Nares Strait; Nov - Dec 66 assisted cable ship John Cabbot repair break in the Thule-Deer Lake ocean cable; Aug - Oct 67 circumnavigated the North Pole to obtain meteorological and oceanographic data;  30 Jul 67 helped locate and repair submarine cables 600 miles above the Artic Circle;  Oct 67 conducted oceanographic survey in Labrador Sea;  27 Mar 68 helped fight fire on Long Wharf, Boston, MA;  Jul - Nov 68 participated in MSTS resupply
cruise to the Arctic;  Dec 71 - Dec 72 stationed at Milwaukee, WI and used for icebreaking as part of a study to extend the shipping seasons on the Great Lakes; 5 Oct 72 collided with tow USS Mizar in heavy ice off Greenland, lost a propeller and badly damaged her rudder, towed to Reykjavik, Iceland by the Southwind, arriving 23 Oct;  Dec 72 - 15 Nov 74 stationed at Baltimore, MD, and used for icebreaking.  15 Nov 74 decommissioned; EDISTO was transferred to the General Service Administration and sold 29 Sep 77 to the Boston Metals Company of Baltimore, MD.  and sold to the Union Minerals Company of Carey, New Jersey who dismantled her there in the Baltimore Shipyard.  Disposition of her parts after dismantling - unknown. 
Boston Metals Company is no longer in the ship salvage or metals business. They have been contacted for information regarding Edisto's final disposition - they are not sure the records are still available.  They are checking.