13 May 1967 -  Commissioning

Class: AGER 2    Fleet: Pacific
Status: Active, in commission
Date status changed: Commissioned  05/13/1967
Maintenance Category:
Force: MARAD Type:

Delivery Date: 07/05/1944
Award Date:: Age (since delivery): 65.3 years
Keel Date:: Commission Date: 05/13/1967
Launch Date: 04/16/1944 Inactivation Date:
Age (since launch) 65.5 years Decommission Date:
Years from Commission to Decommission:

Stricken Date:_____________________________!

Overall Length: 177 ft     Waterline Length:  0 ft
Extreme Beam: 32 ft      Waterline Beam: 0 ft
Maximum Navigational Draft:  9 ft    Draft Limit: 0 ft
Light Displacement:   550 tons      Full Displacement: 895 tons
Dead Weight:  345 tons
Hull Material: Steel hull, steel superstructure.
Number of Propellers: One  (Editor's note: USS PUEBLO has twin propellers)
Propulsion Type:   blank    
(Editor's note: Twin GMC diesel engines, maximum speed 12.8 knots)

Accommodations: Officers: 6 Enlisted: 70
No changes to this information were reported since 12/13/2001

Naval Vessel Registry (with Editor's notes added)
Pamphlet produced for the commissioning
by and courtesy
of Kewaunee Engineering Corporation. Pictures in pamphlet are of PUEBLO as its original 1944  designation FS-344
(Click on photo to view full size)
16 April 1944 to September 1945
In mid World War II Lt. William T. Melms was completely "at sea" when, due to a military goof-up he was given command of a 200 foot Army transport ship, FS-344. Without marine experience beyond a leaky 16 foot sailboat on Lake Ste. Clair and an equally untrained crew headed across the Pacific. These were soldiers skilled in close order drill and KP duty, but without any experience to know "one never spits into the wind." A well intentioned voyage became a comedy of errors, from sinking a friendly Ecuadorian banana boat to an encounter with an enemy submarine in the Gulf of Mexico. Only innocent ignorance saved the day.

Source: excerpt from rear cover
"How To Stay Afloat Wearing Army Boots"
by William T. Melms (First CO of FS-344 aka USS PUEBLO)
(ex- FS-344)

USS Pueblo, an 850-ton environmental research ship, was built at Kewaunee, Wisconsin, in 1944 as the the U.S. Army cargo ship FP-344.  FP-344, an 850-ton general purpose supply vessel built at Kewaunee, Wisconsin, was delivered to the U.S. Army Transportation Corps in July 1944. She was later renamed FS-344 and served in the Philippines area. Laid up in 1954, she remained in reserve until April 1966 She was transferred to the Navy in April 1966 and renamed Pueblo. Initially designated a light cargo ship (AKL-44), she soon began conversion by LTV Corporation at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, WA to a research ship. She was redesignated AGER-2 shortly before commissioning in May 1967. Following training operations off the U.S. west coast, in November 1967 Pueblo departed for the Far East to undertake electronic intelligence collection and other duties.

Source: Dept. of the Navy
  Naval Historical Center
Editor's Note: The history of FS-344 from the end of WWII until her second mothballing in 1954 remains to be determined. We know she served in theatre during the Korean War. Any help with this history would be appreciated.
The beginning:

USS PUEBLO AGER-2 was originally christened US Army vessel FP-344. A little while later the ship was reclassified by the Army FS-344. Along with her sister ship FP-345, she was built by the Kewaunee Shipbuiding & Engineering Corp., Kawaunee, Wisconsin. Both were Camano class small cargo ships. Essentially, the two were identical twins. During World War II both ships served in the South Pacific theatre. After the war FS-344 was moored for mothballing at  the coal docks, San Francisco California. In late 1967 the sisters would meet again at the US Naval base Yokosuka, Japan
FS-345, FP-345, AKL-25, USS BANNER (AGER-1)
photo from the collection of
Bob Hockenhull, USS BANNER sailor.

May 13, 1967
Copyright 2018 USS PUEBLO Veteran's Association. All rights reserved.
Puget Sound Naval Shipyard
Bremerton, Washington
One of the first PUEBLO sailors remembers!
US Army FP-344 very soon to be FS-344. Outfitting in 1944. (Note the antaircraft gun mount tub off the starboard flying bridge.)
The birth of USS PUEBLO was at the
Kewaunee Shipbuilding and Engineering Co.
Kewaunee, Wisconsin in 1944.
Here are some great photos