USS Currituck (AV-7)

Western Group
Capt. John E. Clark, USN



Activities & Discoveries

Read Their Story

2 DEC 46 Departed San Diego, CA.
12 DEC 46 Rendezvoused with USS Henderson and USS Cacapon near Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia.
24 DEC 46 Reached pack ice near Balleny Islands; first airplane operations were held.
4-5 JAN 47 More mapping flights.
6 JAN 47 Proceeded toward Ross Sea to assist Central Group.
10-11 JAN 47 Made recon flights over the Ross Sea for Central Group.
16 JAN 47 Operating off George V Coast.
25 JAN 47 Operating off Adelie Coast.
1 FEB 47 Operating off Budd Coast.
11 FEB 47 Continued west to vicinity of Shackleton Ice Shelf.
17 FEB 47 Operating off Kemp Coast.
22 FEB 47 Operating off Princess Ragnhild Coast.
28 FEB 47 Located in Prydz Bay.
1 MAR 47 Final flights made in these waters.
3 MAR 47 Ship proceeded north en route to Sydney, Australia.
14 MAR 47 Arrived Sydney, Australia.
20 MAR 47 Departed Sydney, Australia.
9 APR 47 Arrived Balboa, Canal Zone.
18 APR 47 Arrived Norfolk, VA.

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USS CURRITUCK covers are generally found canceled with a homemade pictorial postmark, of which three varieties are known. Initially, the word "Expedition" was incorrectly spelled "Expedetion" (figure 1). This is known on a cover with a 10 January 1947 date. Subsequently, the error was corrected by cutting off the arms of the "E", making it an "I". Two types of this "corrected" postmark are known, the first bearing a month, day and year in the cancel (figure 2), the other variety without specific date, but just the years "1946 / 1947" (figure 3). Figure three is by far the most widely used variety of postmark from this ship during OPERATION HIGHJUMP but several other official types can be found. The standard four-bar (figure 4), the double-circle all purpose (figure 5) and at least one known "war-time" issue U.S. Navy four-bar postmark was applied on April 10 (inverted) 1947 while the ship was at Balboa, Canal Zone (figure 6). Another cover is known to have received the local postmark of Coco Solo, Canal Zone on 12 April 1947 (figure 7). These latter two covers can be identified by the OPERATION HIGHJUMP rubber stamp cachet and the return address of crewmembers of the Currituck.

Two different types of return address rubber stamps have been found and appear confusing until it is explained that the USS CURRITUCK began OPERATION HIGHJUMP from the western coast of the United States (figure 8 with San Francisco, California wording) and returned to a port on the eastern coast (figure 9 with New York, New York wording). The reason for this being that the ship was to be deactivated at that time.

Although of questionable origin, the four-line "ADMIRAL BYRDS / POLAR EXPEDITION / USS CURRITUCK AV-7 / 1946-47" handstamp has been found on both cards and covers to different addresses which would indicate that it may have been used on board the ship by crewmembers (figure 10).

The large TASK GROUP 68.2 cachet has been found on the front and reverse of a number of covers sent by various crewmembers and, in fact, appears as the letterhead on one known typed letter (figure 11). This cachet appears to have been inspired by the 'label' applied to another cover originating on the Currituck (figure 12). Not to be outdone, another crewmember apparently decided to hand draw his own interpretation of the penguin in figures 11 and 12, in rough, reverse-image style (figure 13).

This writer has left a recent discovery (July 1993), made by ASPP'ers Mark Smith and Murray Fishler, until last for several reasons. Not the least of these reasons is the fact that this latest variety of the fancy cancel (shown as figures 1, 2 and 3) appears on a cover cacheted and canceled in 1943 when the USS CURRITUCK was launched (figure 14). The second reason would be that the writer does not have any explanation for the appearance of another 'piece' of iceberg in the design. How did it get there? This cancel was applied quite cleanly to both the front and reverse of the cover and the iceberg extension is very evident. Figures 15 and 16 will give the reader a comparison of the two different iceberg designs. Is there a chance that more than one of these stamps were made up? Perhaps the readers of this essay will be good enough to examine their albums and report what they find. Presently, this is the only usage known to the writer.