Golden Bear (ship)

The TS Golden Bear is the training ship of the California State University Maritime Academy (CSUMA), a campus of the California State University. The first training ship of the then–California Nautical School was known as the Training Ship California State, then as the T.S. Golden State. Since then, there have been three ships to bear the name T.S. Golden Bear.

The third T.S. Golden Bear docked alongside the then–California Maritime Academy, February 17, 2007
Name: Golden Bear
Owner: MARAD
Operator: California State University Maritime Academy
Ordered: June 28, 1985
Builder: Bethlehem Steel
Laid down: July 29, 1986
Launched: September 4, 1987
Commissioned: March 31, 1989
Out of service: September 1994 and laid up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet in Suisun Bay, California
Renamed: Renamed Golden Bear upon transfer to then– California Maritime Academy (CMA). Previously named USNS Maury
Reinstated: May 4, 1996 as TS Golden Bear
Homeport: Vallejo, California
Fate: Transferred to MARAD in 1994, CMA in 1996.
Notes: The former USNS Maury is the 3rd ship to bear the name Golden Bear, and the 4th training ship of the CSUMA.
General characteristics
Class and type: T-AGS
Type: Training
Tonnage: 10,939 long tons (11,115 t)
  • 9,319 long tons (9,469 t) light
  • 15,821 long tons (16,075 t) full
Length: 499 ft 10 in (152.35 m)
Beam: 72 ft (22 m)
Height: 151 ft (46 m)
Draft: 30 ft 6 in (9.30 m)
Propulsion: R5-V16 Twin diesels, 17,000 shp (12,677 kW), single 5-blade propeller, 18 ft 7 12 in (5.68 m) diameter
Speed: 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)
Range: 17,820 mi (28,680,000 m)
Capacity: 288

The current Training Ship Golden Bear was transferred to the United States Maritime Administration (MARAD) from the US Navy in 1994. She was converted for use by the then–California Maritime Academy and transferred there in 1996. Her sister ship, the TS State of Maine (formerly USNS Tanner) currently resides as the training ship of Maine Maritime Academy.

TS Golden State

The first training ship of the California Maritime Academy was the T.S. Golden State. Originally planned to be named the SS Lake Fellowship, after construction, the ship was launched on October 19, 1919. After completion, she was commissioned in November 1920 as the SS Henry County. In the mid-1920s, the SS Henry County was placed out of service in the James River Reserve Fleet.

The Navy purchased the ship in 1930 and transferred it to the then-named California Nautical School. Commissioned as the C.T.S. California State on January 23, 1931, the cadets who lived aboard quickly gave her the nickname "Iron Mother." In December 1941, the ship was renamed the T.S. Golden State. She sailed on 12 major ocean cruises, including one around the world in 1933. She was also in service when the California Nautical School became the California Maritime Academy.

After being decommissioned on August 12, 1946, she was placed in the National Defense Reserve Fleet in Suisun Bay, California. In 1948, she was sold into private trade, and was operated under various names including Isle of Patmos and Santa Rosa until she was scrapped in Brazil in August 1962.

First TS Golden Bear

On September 25, 1944, the keel was laid for the USS Mellena, the twelfth of the Artemis-class attack cargo ship, at the Walsh-Kaiser Company Shipyard in Providence, Rhode Island. She was hull #1893. After construction, she was launched on December 11, 1944, and commissioned as the USS Mellena (AKA-32) on January 10, 1945.

After serving the Navy in the Western Pacific during World War II, she was decommissioned on June 11, 1946, at Mare Island Naval Shipyard. Immediately after her decommissioning, she was transferred to the CMA and commissioned as the Training Ship Golden Bear on September 7, 1946.

After serving as the T.S. Golden Bear, and sailing on 24 major ocean cruises, the first Golden Bear was decommissioned on May 14, 1971, and then sold for scrap.

Second TS Golden Bear

Originally named the SS Delorleans, the ship was contracted on December 16, 1938, by Maritime Commission as a Type C3 ship hull #49. The keel was laid May 8, 1939, by the Bethlehem Steel Company, Sparrows Point Maryland, where she was launched on February 17, 1940, and delivered to Delta Lines on August 23, 1940.

This was the third of a series of six ships designed by the Mississippi Shipping Company, as a modification of the standard C3 design, to carry both passengers and cargo between New Orleans and Buenos Aires on the so-called "Coffee Run". Twenty six staterooms accommodated 67 passengers on the shelter deck.

The US Government requisitioned the SS Delorleans on June 3, 1941. The Navy assumed control on June 9, 1941, and stripped the ship to prepare her for war duty, and she was commissioned on October 10, 1941, as the USS Crescent City. After involvement in almost all the major campaigns in the Western Pacific during WWII, the USS Crescent City was redesignated as APA-21 in 1943. Before being decommissioned in San Francisco on April 30, 1948, she earned a Navy Unit Commendation and 10 battle stars for her service in WWII.

The ship was transferred to CMA in May 1971, for conversion to a training ship. She was commissioned in June 1971 as the T.S. Golden Bear, then sailed on 28 major ocean cruises, over 24 years. The "Golden Bear II" was decommissioned in 1995 and placed in the reserve fleet.

In 1999, the City of Oakland, California purchased the ship and renamed it "Art Ship" as part of a failed art colony project. She was sold for scrap in 2004, but dismantling was halted because of high PCB levels and because she was considered too historic. Thereafter, she was privately owned and plans were put in place to convert her into a luxury hotel and museum. She had been laid up at Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California since 2004 pending these plans.

On November 7, 2011, she was publicly auctioned and sold to Esco Marine, Inc. She was renamed Pacific Star and she departed Mare Island for scrapping at Brownsville, Texas on January 15, 2012.

Third TS Golden Bear

On July 29, 1986, the keel was laid for hull #4667, ordered under a MARAD contract for the Navy, at Bethlehem Steel in Sparrows Point, Maryland. After launching on September 4, 1987, she was delivered to the Navy on March 31, 1989, and entered service as the USNS Maury (T-AGS-39). At the time, the USNS Maury was the fastest and largest oceanographic ship in the United States fleet. She also featured a number of advanced oceanographic tools and technologies, including a "multi-beam, wide-angle precision sonar for continuous charting of a broad strip of ocean floor under the ship's track." In addition, the main engines, two Enterprise R5 V-16 diesel engines, were mounted on "rafts", isolated from the hull by rubber cushions, similar in nature to the acoustic isolation aboard nuclear submarines.

The USNS Maury was placed "out of service" in September 1994, and laid up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet in Suisun Bay, California. On October 1, 1994, she was stricken from the Navy rolls and transferred to MARAD under agreement that she would be transferred to CMA after retrofitting. After conversion of the living spaces aboard, she was transferred to CMA on May 4, 1996 and rechristened as the TS Golden Bear. Since that time, the ship has almost continuously undergone substantial repairs, remodeling and improvements, including periodic drydock inspections and overhauls. In early 2009, additional staterooms were installed, along with a supplemental MSD (Marine Sewage Device), and both the ship's gym and library were renovated. Current construction projects include an enclosed simulation laboratory for navigation training atop the 04 deck and refurbishment of the cadet living quarters on the 01 and 02 decks.

Sister ship

The sister ship of the USNS Maury, the USNS Tanner, was transferred to the Maine Maritime Academy after a similar conversion, where it is now known as the TS State of Maine.

Commanding officers

The current Commanding Officer of the Training Ship is a commissioned as a Captain in the United States Maritime Service. Ten alumni have returned to serve in this position.

From To Name Title Notes
May 11, 1930 February 14, 1934 Emil Topp LCDR, USN (ret)
February 15, 1934 June 30, 1937 Richard C. Dwyer See note 1
July 1, 1937 June 30, 1940 Neil E. Nichols CAPT, USN (ret)
July 1, 1940 October 1, 1941 Claude B. Mayo CAPT, USN (ret) See note 2
October 1, 1941 February 1, 1942 Bennett M. Dodson CAPT, USN (ret) XO, See note 3
February 1, 1942 1943 Hugh Severin LCDR, USNR XO, See note 3
? 1944 May 6, 1945 Edwin C. Miller LCDR, USNR 1st LT, See note 3
May 7, 1945 May 31, 1946 Lester Martin CDR, USNR
June 1, 1946 August 9, 1957 Ralph M. G. Swany CAPT, USNR (ret) '33-D CMA Graduate
September 12, 1957 October 11, 1957 Raymond G. Russell LCDR, USNR '34-D CMA Graduate, Never sailed as C.O.T.S.
October 14, 1957 April 15, 1958 John W. Anderson
May 29, 1958 March 17, 1960 Edward A. Turpin CDR, USNR (died at sea)
June 6, 1960 October 1, 1971 Carl G. Bowman CAPT, USCG (ret)
October 1, 1971 November 30, 1976 William H. Aguilar ‘34-D CMA Graduate
January 3, 1977 August 31, 1982 William D. Craig CAPT, USN (ret)
September 1, 1982 September 18, 1992 John M. Keever CAPT, USMS ‘70-D CMA Graduate
Mar 1993 Jul 1993 Justin D. Johnson Captain, ARCO Marine (for cruise only) ‘76-D CMA Graduate
October 15, 1993 October 17, 1993 Dick Crane Captain, Matson (for mini-cruise only) '59-D CMA Graduate
Apr 1994 Jul 1994 Bruce P. Butterfield Captain, Military Sealift Command (for cruise only) '70-D CMA Graduate
March 15, 1995 January 15, 1996 Peter G. Bonebakker '68-D CMA Graduate
January 16, 1996 April 21, 2008 John M. Keever COMMO, USMS '70-D CMA Graduate
April 21, 2008 August 22, 2018 Harry Bolton COMMO, USMS '78-D CMA Graduate
August 22, 2018 Present Sam Pecota
  1. R.C. Dwyer replaced by N.E. Nichols due to Navy requirements for regular Navy officers to be in charge of Navy owned vessels.
  2. C.B. Mayo never got a Master’s License so command of Training Ship was delegated to the wartime Navy officers.
  3. Early World War II – Superintendent and Master became separate positions.
  4. The title MASTER changed to COMMANDING OFFICER in July 1946.

See also


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