Coast and Geodetic Survey Ship PATHFINDER at Seattle.
length 229.3 feet, beam 39 feet, draft 15.5 feet. Built in 1942 at
Lake Washington Shipyards in Houghton, Washington, at a cost of $1,265,448,
the Coast and Geodetic Survey’s first million-dollar ship. In
Navy service 1942-1947. In Coast and Geodetic Survey service 1946-1971.
Sold to General Auto Wrecking Company, Ballard, Washington, for scrap
built for the Coast and Geodetic Survey, it was first commissioned
as a fleet survey vessel for the United States Navy on August 31,
1942. This ship is probably the most famous of all Coast and Geodetic
Survey ships as it was said that “The road to Tokyo was paved
with PATHFINDER charts.” The PATHFINDER was the first survey
ship to have a chart printing press installed and turned out thousands
of charts for fleet units during the war. Captain Junius Jarman of
the Coast and Geodetic Survey was instrumental in developing techniques
for chart printing in a shipboard environment. Admirals Nimitz and
Halsey commended the PATHFINDER for work in the Solomon Islands, Green
Islands, Marianas Islands, Philippine Islands, and Okinawa during
the war. The ship was a lucky ship and survived over 50 bombing raids
although working well in advance of the fleet on many occasions. While
anchored on what is now named Pathfinder Reef in the Marianas Islands,
the PATHFINDER was closer to Japan than any other U. S. Navy vessel.
The ship was crashed by a Kamikaze at Okinawa and suffered one killed.
Following the war, the ship was returned to the Coast and Geodetic
Survey and surveyed throughout the North Pacific Ocean and the Bering
Sea. Besides Pathfinder Reef, the ship is commemorated by Pathfinder