APOLLO RECOVERY SHIP COVER & POSTMARK VARIETIES

Apollo 202 (AS-202) - 25 August 1966 - Unmanned

Recovery Force Ships

 

Ship Type Designation Covers

Atlantic

USS Chikaskiaiii

SRS - Oiler

AO-54

N

USS Opportune

SRS - Salvage Ship

ARS-41

Y (E. Rare)

USS James C Owens

SRS - Destroyer

DD-776

Y

USS Robert A Owens

SRS - Destroyer

DD-827

Y

USS Salamonieiii

SRS - Oiler

AO-26

N

Pacific

USS Hornet

PRS - Carrier

CVS-12

Y

USS O'Bannon

SRS - Destroyer

DD-450

Y

USS Sproston

SRS - Destroyer

DD-577

Y

USS Benjamin Stoddert

SRS - Guided Missile Destroyer

DDG-22

Y

Tracking & Communication Ships

USNS Coastal Sentry

TS - positioned in Arafura Sea, north of Darwin, Australia.

T AGM-15

N

USNS Rose Knot

TS - stationed in the Central Pacific Ocean in the vicinity of Ascension Island

T AGM-14

Y

USNS Wheeling

TS - positioned between USAF ARIA and Hawaii

T AGM-8

N


Cachets

Cachet

Description of Cachet

Colours Type
Navy Recovery Force Cachet - Atlantic

Designed by Morris Beck it shows a rocket on its pad

 Maroon, Black Rubber Stamp
Navy Recovery Force Cachet - Pacific

Designed by Morris Beck it shows a rocket on its pad

 Maroon, Black Rubber Stamp
Beck Cachet - Atlantici Similar to Navy Cachet Brown-Green Printed
Beck Cachet - Pacifici Similar to Navy Cachet Black-Red Printed
AS 202 Cachet A small circular text cachet usually appears as an extra cachet. Produced by Morris Beck. Maroon, Purple Rubber Stamp
Harry Gordon Cachet1 Harry Gordon added both the text cachet and the “meatball cachet.” Various Rubber Stamp

Postmark Variations

Ship

Description of Postmark

Scarcity
 USS Hornetii  Machine Cancel Common
 USS Hornet Hand Cancel  Scarce

Navy Recovery Force Cachet Colours & Beck Cachet Numbers

Ship

Known Cachet Colours

Beck Numbers

USS Hornet Maroon 673, 674
USS O'Bannon Maroon 675, 676
USS Sproston Maroon 678
USS Benjamin Stoddert Maroon 677
USS James C Owens Black, Maroon 698, 700
USS Robert A Owens Black, Maroon 697, 699

Interesting Cachets & Covers

Cachet

Description of Cachet

Colours Type
USS Hornet Navy cachet plus an additional Apollo NASA cachet Maroon / Black Rubber Stamp
USS Robert A. Owens  Ship's Cachet - usually on back of cover Black Rubber Stamp

Notes General:
i ) The Beck cachets for Pacific based ships were originally printed a AS 203. They were corrected by being over-printed with black diamonds and 'AS 202' added in black.
ii ) USS Hornet machine cancels usually don't have a time slug. The one illustrated is the only one seen which has a faint but clear AM time slug. Update: A second such cover is in the collection of Antoni RIGO with a much clearer AM time slug. It is unknown how rare or otherwise this variety is. However, it is certainly less common than the no time slug variety. This cover is even more interesting in that it has a Wake Island cancel on the back which is the closest port to where the USS Hornet picket up the Apollo capsule.
iii ) The Chikaskia was scratched at the very last minute. The Salamonie was already at sea when reassigned to the recovery force as a replacement. Official records do not show the Chikaskia as being scratched, but show both oilers. However, correspondence with the Chikaskia's P.A.O. confirmed she was scratched. 'Project Apollo ... three steps to the moon' by Donald O. Schultz

Notes Other:
1) From the collection of Steve Durst

This page © Dr Ross J Smith
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Last modified on 13 January 2017


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