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USNS Valdez (T-AG-169)

USNS Valdez (T-AG-169), named after World War II Medal of Honor recipient PFC Jose F. Valdez, was an US Army ship during WWII but was recommisioned by the Navey and served as a technical research ship in operation during the 1960s. The "Galloping Ghost of the Ivory Coast" or "Grey Ghost of the African Coast", as she was affectionately called by her crew, was deployed around Africa from 1961 until 1969



Pvt. Jose E Valdez

Pvt. Jose E Valdez was born On January 3, 1925, in Governador, New Mexico, While he was in the U.S. Army, located near Rosenkrantz, France on January 25 1945, he valiantly made his stand as an Hispanic American. Pvt. Valdez was on outpost duty with 5 others when the enemy counterattacked with overwhelming strength. From his position near some woods 500 yards beyond the American lines he observed a hostile tank about 75 yards away, and raked it with automatic rifle fire until it withdrew. Soon afterward he saw 3 Germans stealthily approaching through the woods. Scorning cover as the enemy soldiers opened up with heavy automatic weapons fire from a range of 30 yards, he engaged in a fire fight with the atackers until he had killed all 3. The enemy quickly launched an attack with 2 full companies of infantrymen, blasting the patrol with murderous concentrations of automatic and rifle fire and beginning an encircling movement which forced the patrol leader to order a withdrawal. Despite the terrible odds, Pfc. Valdez immediately volunteered to cover the maneuver, and as the patrol 1 by 1 plunged through a hail of bullets toward the American lines, he fired burst after burst into the swarming enemy. Three of his companions were wounded in their dash for safety and he was struck by a bullet that entered his stomach and, passing through his body, emerged from his back. Overcoming agonizing pain, he regained control of himself and resumed to his firing position, delivering a protective screen of bullets until all others of the patrol were safe. By field telephone he called for artillery and mortar fire on the Germans and corrected the range until he had shells falling within 50 yards of his position. For 15 minutes he refused to be dislodged by more than 200 of the enemy; then, seeing that the barrage had broken the counter attack, he dragged himself back to his own lines. He died later as a result of his wounds. Through his valiant, intrepid stand and at the cost of his own life, Pfc. Valdez made it possible for his comrades to escape, and was directly responsible for repulsing an attack by vastly superior enemy forces. "I was with him when he got shot, though I had never met him before that day," Willis Daniel stated. "He had turned 20 five days before the day he got shot....he was 20 when he died.

Private Jose F. Valdez
Acquired: 2 September 1950
In service: 2 September 1950
Out of service: 22 December 1959
Reclassified: Transport ship
Identification: Hull symbol: T-APc-119
Notes: Returned to Reserve Fleet
Acquired: 29 August 1961
In service: 29 August 1961
Out of service: 7 November 1969
Reclassified: Technical research ship
Struck: 15 August 1976
Homeport: Brooklyn, New York
Identification: Hull symbol: T-AG-1169
Fate: Sold for scrap, 27 July 1977

General Characteristics
Type: C1-M-AV1
Displacement: 6,070 long tons (6,167 t)
Length: 388 ft 8 in (118.47 m)
Beam: 50 ft (15 m)
Draft: 18 ft (5.5 m)
Installed power:
  • 1 × Nordberg Diesel TSM 6 diesel engine
  • 1,700 hp (1,268 kW)
Propulsion: 1 × shaft
Speed: 11.5 knots (21.3 km/h; 13.2 mph)
Complement: Approximately 55 civilians and 100 Navy personnel (USNS)
Armament: 1 × 3 inches (76 mm)/50 caliber gun