- SIGNIFICANT OPERATIONS -
(Noteworthy events and activities above and beyond normal survey ops.)

 

The AGI Vertikal Incident, ca. January-September 1965
The 1972 US-USSR Incidents at Sea Agreement

(Contributions are from Rick Hollis and Glenn Krochmal, with additional material and commentary from EG Adams.)
  For a period of some months, ca. January to September of 1965, USNS Dutton was harassed by the Soviet Intelligence Trawler AGI Vertikal.  Such harassment was common during the Cold War.  Soviet "trawlers" lay in wait outside Fleet Ballistic Missle Submarine bases, violated nautical rules of the road to interfere with carrier flight ops, and followed ships like Dutton in an ultimately futile attempt to defeat her mission.

Soviet Naval planners had never considered what would happen when they sent one of their experienced intelligence gathering pirates up against the TAGS sailors of USNS Dutton.  Glenn Krochmal's account of what happened is documented here on his "COMMENTARIES..." page.
  The New York Times reports these incidents in an April 3, 1965 article, although as is usual for the Times it gets its facts wrong and calls the Dutton a "Cable Ship".  The full article is on the right, the paragraphs related to Dutton on the left.
(Submitted by EG Adams from the NYT archives, and by Glenn Krochmal.)
NYT_Apr4-1965-Dutton.jpg (117332 bytes) NYT_Apr4-1965r.jpg (325859 bytes)
  The Vertikal and her sisters were variously described by Jane's Fighting Ships as "Intelligence Trawlers" or "Direction Trawlers".  They were equiped with electronic communications intelligence equipment and operators, and charged with intercepting the communications of American ships, especially when those ships were operating under warlike or emergency conditions.  There could be no doubt the Rooskies knew just what a TAGS was and what it was doing (we steamed in straight lines, back-and-forth, back-and-forth, and made loud noises underwater), plus Jane's Fighting Ships published our essential mission, although not the particulars.

(Copies of Jane's Fighting Ships entries subitted by EG Adams.)
Vertikal_Janes-2.jpg (304638 bytes) Vertikal_Janes-1.jpg (251329 bytes)
  The Russian Intelligence Trawler AGI Vertikal.
Photographed by PH1 Fred Martin from USNS Duttton, 1965.
(Contributed by Glenn Krochmal)
AGI_Vertikal-1200.jpg (274817 bytes)
 

The RAF Avro Shackleton MR.3 maritime patrol aircraft, which buzzed the AGI Vertkal in response to Dutton's distress calls.  The Brits have always been the good guys (after 1814, that is!).

Photographed by PH1 Fred Martin from USNS Duttton, 1965.
(Contributed by Rick Hollis)

The aircraft was identified for the TAGS site by Clare Carr, Assistant Curator, Royal Air Force Museum Cosford, UK
http://www.rafmuseum.org
"This (aircraft) entered service with the RAF in 1957 and was operated by nos. 120, 201, 203, 206 and 220 Squadrons.  Unfortunately I cannot make out the aircraft serial numbers on the aircraft, other than that it was Y-Yankee."

Avro_Shackleton_MR3.jpg (76121 bytes)
  Closeups of AGI Vertikal.
Photographed by PH1 Fred Martin from USNS Duttton, 1965.
(Contributed by Rick Hollis)
Fred was promoted to PHC for his fine photographic work.  (Unfortunately we have only digital scans of xerox copies of copies of Fred's original work.  Oh, to have the negatives!)
 

The forepart of Vertikal.

AGI_Vertikal_Close1-1200.jpg (339199 bytes)  

The bridge of Vertkal.  Just visible in deep shadow in the port bridge window is a Vertikal crewman with a pair of binoculars to his eyes.  Standing on the port wing is another crewman, possibly holding a camera.

AGI_Vertikal_Close2-1200.jpg (363638 bytes)
 

Another Vertkal crewman, just bringing a pair of binoculars up to his eyes.  He's standing just aft of the bridge, forward of the stack.

AGI_Vertikal_Close3-1200.jpg (301565 bytes)  
  As a result of such hazardous maritime incidents as that between USNS Dutton and AGI Vertikal, The United States and the USSR concluded the "Incidents at Sea Agreement", signed May 1972.

This paper by by the naval historian David F. Winkler in the The Journal of Strategic Studies recounts the history of the agreement.  The Dutton-Vertikal incident is described on p373.

(Submitted by EG Adams.)
  CWaS_361-377_incidents_at_sea_Page_01.jpg (271617 bytes)
  The incident is also described on p30 of Winkler's "Cold War at Sea". 

(Submitted by EG Adams.)
  p30b.jpg (435697 bytes)

 

Palomares Incident, ca. late January, 1966
 

On 17 January 1966, a B-52 bomber collided with a KC-135 tanker while refueling over Spain. Of the four nuclear weapons carried by the B-52, three fell on Spanish soil and one landed in the Mediterranean sea off Palomares, Spain.

USNS Dutton was there, along with Rick Hollis, who preserved these news magazine accounts of the incident:

  Readers Digest, September, 1966

Readers_Digest-p239.jpg (853342 bytes)

Dutton is mentioned in the bottom left panel of p262.
All Hands Magazine, Sept, 1966*

AllHands_Jun1966-p50.jpg (707068 bytes)

The Dutton is mentioned briefly on p53.
Look or Life Magazine, 1966

Look-p1.jpg (728664 bytes)

Dutton is not mentioned.
  SAGA Magazine, September, 1966.

SAGA_Sep1966-p1.jpg (756645 bytes) 
Unidentified by name in the article, a photo of Dutton appears on p3 in the lower left pane.
Sandia LabNews, January, 1995

Sandia_LabNews-p1.jpg (601335 bytes)

Dutton is not mentioned.
 
  *- ALL HANDS magazine back issues are online at http://www.navy.mil/allhands.asp , however this scan of Rick Hollis' original copy is higher resolution.
From Faceplates Magazine, September 2006:
    (The) "Navy Oceanographic Office’s Survey Ship, USNS DUTTON steamed in and was employed in a underwater survey from which charts were published and the Decca System was surveyed in. DUTTON also placed some underwater velocity meters. (Prior to DUTTON charts, the TF had to depend on some old Spanish charts dated in the early 1900’s.)"
    Ref: DCR D.H. Moody, USN (Ret.). 40th Anniversary of Palomares. Faceplate, Vol. 10, No. 2, September 2006, pp 15-19. http://www.supsalv.org/pdf/FACEPLATESept06.pdf (go to p15).