USS Observer (MSO-461)

Career (US)
Laid down: 20 July 1953
Launched: 19 October 1954
Commissioned: 31 August 1955
Decommissioned: date unknown
Struck: 1 November 1977
Fate: sold for scrapping 1 April 1979
General characteristics
Displacement: 775 tons
Length: 172 ft (52 m)
Beam: 36 ft (11 m)
Draught: 10 ft (3.0 m)
Speed: 15 knots
Complement: 65
Armament: one 40mm mount

USS Observer (AM-461/MSO-461) was an Aggressive-class minesweeper acquired by the U.S. Navy for the task of removing mines that had been placed in the water to prevent the safe passage of ships.

The second ship to be named Observer by the Navy was laid down 20 July 1953 as AM-461 by Higgins, Inc., New Orleans, Louisiana; launched 19 October 1954 sponsored by Mrs. E. V. Richards, reclassified MSO-461 on 2 February 1955, commissioned 31 August 1955, Lt. Comdr. P. H. Barkley in command.

European operations

After fitting out, Observer joined the Atlantic Fleet Mine Force and participated in minesweeping exercises prior to deploying to the Mediterranean. Observer sailed for the Mediterranean 1 May 1956 as part of Mine Division 85. After ports of call in the Mediterranean, she participated in NATO exercises in the area of Harwich, England. Following these exercises, Observer made goodwill visits to several Scandinavian countries, France, Portugal, Italy, and Gibraltar. She departed Gibraltar 28 September and began the long trip home, arriving 13 October.

North Atlantic operations

Observer participated in operations along the Atlantic seaboard, in the Caribbean and off Panama during the first half of 1957. In June 1957, she visited Hampton Roads, Virginia, for the Naval Review. Then Observer put into Norfolk Navy Yard for an extended overhaul. Then came refresher training, and exercises prior to deploying to the Mediterranean in January 1958. Observer continued this trend of operations, deploying with the U.S. 6th Fleet and participating in exercises along the Atlantic coast and in the Caribbean, into 1970. Observer's last exercise was Operation Snowy Beach off the coast of Maine, January 1972.


Observer was decommissioned on 1 July 1972, struck from the Navy list 1 November 1977, and was sold for scrapping 1 April 1979.


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

External links

  • Observer
  • NavSource Online: Mine Warfare Vessel Photo Archive – Observer (MSO 461) – ex-AM-461
  • USS Observer

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