USS.Granville.S..Hall  YAG-40
This was Andy's last duty station.
Read his account BELOW!

Granville Stanley Hall was born in 1846 at Ashfield, Mass. Hall founded the "American Journal of Psychology" in 1887


Granville S. Hall (YAG-40), a Liberty ship, operated as a general merchant cargo vessel until entering the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Suisun Bay, Calif., June 1952.  The ship was fitted out with scientific instruments of all kinds, including nuclear detection and measurement devices. These enabled her to explore fallout areas and carry out ship decontamination tests. Granville S. Hall was also equipped with remote control devices which allowed her to be operated by a small crew in a sealed hold, and thus making her able to explore fallout areas of heavy concentration
General Cargo Vessel Type EC2-S-C1 (LIBERTY SHIP) MCE Hull 2325
Laid down, 16 September 1944 at J.A. Jones Construction co., Inc., Panama City, FL

Being laid up in the NDRF, Suisun Bay, CA; she was acquired by the US Navy May 1953, designated YAG-40 and served in the Pacific until 1957.
 On reactivation in 1962 she was Commissioned USS Granville S. Hall YAG-40. She was decommissioned in 1971, struck from record in 1972 disposed of as target off the Hawaiian Islands in 1972.

Displacement: 11,600 long tons     
Length: 441 ft. 6 in.   Beam: 56 ft  10.75 in.   Draft: 27 ft. 9.25 in.

Propulsion: Two oil-fired boilers - 3 cylinder triple-expansion steam engine single screw, 1,950 hp.
Speed: 10 knots -  Range: 20,000 nmi  (23,000 mi)    Complement: 8–15   Armament:  None

The photo at top of page is AG-40 underway off the coast of Oahu, HI., 8 November 1965.
Note the big pie plate shape on her forward mast which was a Nuclear Fallout Sampling platform.

AG-40 was part of Project
Shipboard Hazard and Defense [SHAD]

To evaluate the effectiveness of shipboard detection and
Protective procedures against biological/chemical warfare
agents and to determine the distance released agents could
travel. Plutonium Contamination on Johnston Atoll was one.
The adjoining photos are from that time in 1963-64

About the Granny's last time underway as a USN ship. This happened in August 1970. I can't remember exact dates.

Forty-two years ago I was in the Navy and was serving as an officer on the Granville S. Hall (YAG-40). The Granville Hall was home ported at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The Granny as we called her not the kind of ship that you picture as a naval vessel. She looked like a tramp freighter. She was a Liberty ship and had begun her life as a freighter during WW2.

We were operating south of the equator about 2000 miles east of New Zealand and 3000 miles south of Hawaii. There is a lot of ocean at that spot on the Earth and not much else but a few tiny islands.

One afternoon as I was the Officer of the Deck watch the skipper came on the bridge with the navigator and began looking at our navigation chart which showed where we were and then they marked another point on the chart drew a line between the two points and then the skipper said, “Andy, change course,” and he gave me the new course. That began Granville Hall’s search for “La Balsa.”

“La Balsa” was the name of a 1970 expedition to sail a balsa raft from South America to Australia across the Pacific Ocean. The 8600 mile voyage was, at that time, the longest know raft voyage in history. They began their voyage on the coast of Ecuador and ended it at Mooloolaba, Australia.

The expedition lasted 160 days, starting May 29, 1970 and ending on November 5. The raft was about 46 feet long and 14 feet wide and was made of seven balsa wood logs. They steered with the use of short planks between the logs.

This was mid August. They had been underway for almost three months. La Balsa had a very low powered radio transmitter and a limited amount of gasoline for their generator.

La Balsa Memorial  - Location Not Known
They had grossly overestimated the speed of the currents they were riding and expecting to complete their voyage by the end of August and were very low on food and water. Appraising their situation they had decided to send a distress signal. That radio signal was picked up in Mexico City by the Mexican Navy headquarters who relayed it to the U.S. Navy who in turn radioed us with our instructions and La Balsa’s daily position.

La Balsa’s navigator was using the same primitive navigation instruments that South American sailors would have used 500 years ago. We had the most modern navigation system available at the time. It was capable of determining our position within 50 feet on the earth’s surface.

Daily we would mark La Balsa’s position on our chart and change our course by a degree or two. Hour by hour we drew closer. After four days and 1000 miles of ocean the navigator came to the bridge in the afternoon and marked La Balsa’s position and our position. I again had the watch and was told that we should soon visually sight La Balsa at a certain compass bearing. La Balsa was low to the water and wooden so our radar wasn’t expected to pick it up first. Within 15 minutes of our predicted sighting time one of our lookouts yelled, “There it is!” And sure enough about six miles straight ahead of us we could see the sail of La Balsa. The needle in the haystack had been found!

La Balsa had found us and there was much rejoicing. The cooks had been preparing a banquet and a cake for those fellows who had been living quite a Spartan existence on the raft. The entire ship’s company had a party and we all met La Balsa‘s crew. We soon drew close and sent a small boat to Balsa. The crew of four came aboard for about six hours eating, showering, and replenishing water, gasoline, food, and other supplies. 

Showered and refreshed they left our ship, returned to La Balsa, hoisted their sail and headed west towards Australia at the mercy of the winds and the currents. I read years later that they attempted and completed the same voyage in 1973 only that time there were four balsa rafts instead of one.

We soon returned to Pearl Harbor and the Granville Hall never went to sea under her own power again. She was decommissioned in May 1971 and sold for scrap shortly thereafter.

A book was written about La Balsa's voyage by the leader of the expedition , Vitak Asar, and is available on line.

Thought you might find it of interest. Andy Bullions, Lieutenant USN - Andy also served on USS Kawishiwi AO-146

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Music by TIM BARRON SM3 1968-70 USS Kawishiwi AO-146