APOLLO RECOVERY SHIP COVER & POSTMARK VARIETIES

Apollo 12 - 24 November 1969

Recovery Force Ships
Ship Type Designation Covers
Atlantic
USS Austin SRS - Amphibious Transport Dock LPD-4 Y
USS Escape SRS - Salvage Ship ARS-6 Y
USS Hawkins SRS - Destroyer DD-873 Y
Pacific
USS Hornet PRS - Carrier CVS-12 Y
USS Joseph J Strauss SRS - Guided Missile Destroyer DDG-16 Y
Tracking Ships
USNS Vanguard TS - Tracking Ship T-AGM-19 Y
Other
USS Hassayampaiii,4 Oiler - replenishment operations AO-145 Y (Only 2 known)
Not Involved
USS Ingraham Destroyer DD-694 Y
USS Talbot Destroyer Escort DEG-4 Y
USNS Huntsville2 Tracking Ship T-AGM 7 Y (Only 1 known)
Recovery Control Centers
Norfolk VA Atlantic Recovery Control Center N/A Y
Kunia HI Pacific Recovery Control Center N/A Y

Postmark Variations
Ship Description of Postmark Scarcity
USS Hornet  Machine Cancel Common
USS Hornet Hand Cancel - AM below 1969 Pmk Rare
USS Hornet1 Hand Cancel - AM above 1969 Pmk Rarer
USS Hornet Hand Cancel - No Time Slug Rarer
USS Hornet Both Apollo 11 & Apollo 12 postmarks with an Apollo 12 cachet Only 1 seen
USS Hornet3 Both a Hand Cancel & a Machine Cancel (also signed). Extremely Rare
USS Hornet4 Another with both a Hand Cancel & a Machine Cancel. Also especially note the Hand Cancel. The NOV is significantly to the left of the normal position. Possibly Unique
USS Austin Hand Cancel - 'USS Austin' Bottom of Pmk -
'P.M.' Variety
Common
USS Austin Hand Cancel - 'USS Austin' Bottom of Pmk -
'P M' No Periods Variety
Common
USS Hawkins Hand Cancel - 'USS Hawkins' Top of Pmk Common
USS Hawkins Hand Cancel - 'USS Hawkins' Bottom of Pmk Rare
Norfolk Naval Air Station Large Postmark Common
Norfolk Naval Air Station4 Different Postmark Scarce
Norfolk Smaller Postmark Common


Cachets
Cachet Description of Cachet Colours Type
Navy Recovery Force Cachet - Atlantic

Designed by Morris Beck it shows an Apollo Command Module with Lunar Lander attached above the Moon

Maroon, Black Rubber Stamp
Navy Recovery Force Cachet - Pacific

Designed by Morris Beck it shows an Apollo Command Module with Lunar Lander attached above the Moon

Maroon, Black Rubber Stamp
Beck Cachet - Atlantic Similar to Navy Cachet Orange/Blue/Green Printed
Beck Cachet - Pacific Similar to Navy Cachet Red/Blue/Green Printed
 Goldcraft Cachet Shows Apollo Capsule in the Water & a Helicopter - also seen on a USS Hawkins cover  Black Printed
Orbit Cachet Printed cachet with Navy Cachet on top Greyscale/Maroon Printed/Rubber Stamp
Artopages Cachet Shows the USS Hornet plus text within a shield Blue/Red Printed

Navy Recovery Force Cachet Colours & Beck Cachet Numbers

Ship

Known Cachet Colours

Beck Numbers

USS Austin Black B823
USS Hawkins Black B824
USS Hornet Maroon B821
USS Joseph J Strauss Maroon B822

Interesting Cachets & Covers
Cachet Description of Cachet Colours Type
USS Hornet Cover has two Great Britain Postage Due stamps added N/A N/A
USS Hornet USS Hornet cover with a Navy cachet & a Romanian stamp!
(signatures are autopen)
Maroon Rubber Stamp
USS Hornet Cachet shows the USS Hornet and an Apollo Capsule attached to Parachutes Black Rubber Stamp
USS Hornet USS Hornet postmark & Apollo 12 Navy cachet with a 2nd postmark; FDI First Man on the Moon stamp Maroon Rubber Stamp
USS Hornet Postage Due Stamp Maroon Rubber Stamp
USS Hornet Unusual cachet shows capsule in water & helicopters Black-Red Printed
USS Hornet Cachet shows Lunar Lander on Moon Blue Printed
USS Hornet Scarce NASA Recovery Team cover. Here is another signed by the three astronauts.3a Black Printed
USS Hornet Interesting Apollo 12 Recovery Team cover. Here is a second with an additional Navy cachet.3a Blue Printed
USS Hornet2 Cachet shows astronauts being recovered from capsule Greyscale Printed
USS Hornet3a Beautiful Hand painted van Waay Cachet Multicolour Hand Painted
USS Hornet3a US Navy emblem cachet Multicolour Printed
USS Hornet3a Unusual Apollo 12 cover with a machine cancel for Apollo 11 and a hand cancel for Apollo 12. Maroon Rubber Stamp
USS Hornet3c Greyscale photo of capsule in the Ocean Greyscale Printed
USS Hornet6 Interesting cover from member of Associated Press Photo Pool Maroon Rubber Stamp
USS Hornet /
USS Joseph J Stauss
2
Extremely Unusual - Postmarks from Two Recovery Ships Maroon Rubber Stamp
USS Hawkins3a Austrian Postcard Black Rubber Stamp
USS Ingraham Although not involved an interesting cover to the Commanding Officer N/A None
Honolulu Apollo 12 Navy Pacific with a 29 November Honolulu postmark Maroon Rubber Stamp
Norfolk Apollo 12 Atlantic Fleet Destroyer & Rocket Cachet - Black Navy cachet on back Maroon Rubber Stamp
Western Samoa Special Recovery Postmark - FDC Black Hand Cancel
Western Samoa Special Recovery Postmark - Different cachet Black Hand Cancel

Signed PRS Covers including Helicopter Recovery Coversiv - most of these covers were actually aboard the PRS during recovery
Postmark Description of Cover Postmark Date
USS Hornet Signed by the ship's Commanding Officer - Captain C. J. Seiberlich - Hand Cancel 24 November 1969
USS Hornet Signed by the ship's Commanding Officer - Captain C. J. Seiberlich - Machine Cancel 24 November 1969
USS Hornet Signed by the pilot of helicopter Swim 1ii - Lieutenant Bill Sherrod - Machine Cancel 24 November 1969
USS Hornet Helicopter recovery cover signed D. S. Jones, who appears not to be involved with Apollo 12. A real mystery cover! 24 November 1969
USS Hornet Signed by members of the Photo Helicopter 24 November 1969
USS Hornet Signed by the pilot of helicopter Recovery 1 i - Commander Warren Aut - Machine Cancel 24 November 1969
USS Hornet Another cover signed by the pilot of helicopter Recovery 1 i - Commander Warren Aut - Hand Cancel 24 November 1969
USS Hornet Signed by the co-pilot of helicopter Recovery 1 - Lieutenant Junior Grade Glenn Casey - Machine Cancel 24 November 1969
USS Hornet Signed by a crew member of helicopter Recovery 1 - Chief Aviation Antisubmarine Warfare Operator, Ken Cunningham - Machine Cancel 24 November 1969
USS Hornet Signed by members of the Recovery Team - Hand cancel 24 November 1969
USS Hornet Cover from Helicopter Recovery Team member includes a hand written letter 24 November 1969
USS Hornet3b Helicopter recovery cover signed by the pilot of the main Recovery helicopter - Hand Cancel 24 November 1969
USS Hornet2 Signed by entire crew of helicopter Recovery 1 (Helo 66) - Hand Cancel 24 November 1969
USS Hornet2 Signed by the pilot of helicopter Recovery 1i - Commander Warren Aut - Hand Cancel 24 November 1969
USS Hornet3 Signed by Capt. Charles G. Colvin, In charge of moving Mobile Quarantine Facility, Maj. Steve Lytle, Wing Space Recovery Officer, and Capt. George H. Ufer USAF Representative aboard the U.S.S. Hornet for Apollo 12 24 November 1969
USS Hornet3 Signed by members of Swin One Recovery Team, Lt. William Sherrod, Pilot, Lt. Jg. Larry Lybarger, Co-Pilot, AWH-2 Gregg Wilscam 1st Crewman, and AWH-1 Harold M. Faurot 2nd Crewman 24 November 1969
USS Hornet2 Signed by the Frogmen, Lt. Jg. Ernest Lee Jahncke, Decontamination Swimmer, Lt. Jr. William C. Robertson, Swimmer, St-1 Arles L. Nash, Swimmer, and PH-3 William R. Pozzi, Sea Anchor man, and first swimmer in the water 24 November 1969
USS Hornet3a Morris Beck printed cover signed by the ship's Commanding Officer and the main Recovery helicopter pilot 24 November 1969
USS Hornet5 Cover Signed by the ship's Commanding Officer - Captain C. J. Seiberlich 24 November 1969

 Notes General:
i ) The main recovery helicopter piloted by Commander W. Aut was a SH3D Sea King and carried the decontamination swimmer.
ii ) Swim 1 piloted by Lieutenant Bill Sherrod was the Helicopter 10 nautical miles uprange from the carrier and carried 3 swimmers.
iii ) The USS Hassayampa was there facilitating with Underway Replenishment Operations as needed (http://www.angelwind.com/hassayampa/history.html)
iv) Four operational helicopters (Recovery, Photo, Swim 1 and Swim 2) were used plus one was held as a reserve.

Notes Other:
1) Scan provided by Steve Durst
2) From the collection of Tom Steiner
3) Sold on eBay during 2010 a) 2013 b) 2014 c) 2017 d) 2018
4) From the collection of Gerard Zonneveld
5) Scan provided by Robert Fish of the USS Hornet Museum
6) From the collection of  Joseph Volutza


This page © Dr Ross J Smith
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Last modified on 8 September 2018

 


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