GEMINI RECOVERY SHIP COVER & POSTMARK VARIETIES

Gemini 4 - 7 June 1965

Recovery Force Ships
Ship Type Designation Covers
Atlantic
USS Wasp PRS - Carrier CVS-18 Y
USS Blandy SRS - Destroyer DD-943 Y
USS Chukawan SRS - Oiler AO-100 Y
USS Furse SRS - Destroyer DD-882 Y
USS Hawkins SRS - Destroyer DD-873 Y
USS Hoist SRS - Salvage Ship ARS-40 N
USS Nimble SRS - Minesweeper MSO-459 N
USS Robert A Owens SRS - Destroyer DD-827 Y
USS Rich SRS - Destroyer DD-820 Y
USS Skill SRS - Ocean Minesweeper MSO-471 Y
May Have Participatediv
USS Barry SRS - Destroyer DD-993 Y
USS Charles S Sperry SRS - Destroyer DD-697 Y
Pacific
USS Goldsborough SRS - Guided Missile Destroyer DDG-20 Y
USS Higbee SRS - Destroyer DD-806 Y
USS Leonard F Mason SRS - Destroyer DD-852 Y
USS Orleck SRS - Destroyer DD-886 Y
USS Ponchatoula SRS - Oiler AO-148 Y
USS Rupertus SRS - Destroyer DD-851 Y
Tracking & Communications Ships
USNS Rose Knot TS - Atlantic T-AGM 14 Y
USNS Range Tracker TS - Pacific or Indian Ocean T-AGM 1 Y
USNS Wheeling TS - Pacific or Indian Ocean T-AGM 8 Y
USNS Kingsport Communications Relay Ship - Pacific or Indian Ocean T-AG 164 Y
Others      
USNS Coastal Sentry TS - Ship was on Standby T-AGM 15 N
Not Involved
USS Everglades Destroyer Tender AD-24  
USNS Huntsville

Tracking Ship

T-AGM 7

Y

USNS Gen. H. H. Arnold Tracking Ship T-AGM 9 Y
USNS Longview Tracking Ship T-AGM 3 Y
USNS Richfield Tracking Ship T-AGM 4 Y
USNS Sunnyvale Tracking Ship T-AGM 5 Y
USNS Twin Falls Tracking Ship T-AGM 11 Y

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

Designed by Morris Beck it shows a Gemini capsule with parachute

 Maroon, Black Rubber Stamp
Navy Recovery Force Cachet
Pacific

Designed by Morris Beck it shows a Gemini capsule with parachute

 Maroon Rubber Stamp
Beck Cachet - Gemini 3 See Beck Cachet for Gemini 3  Yellow-Blue Printed
Beck Cachet - Gemini 4
Atlantic
Same as Navy Cachet for Gemini 4  Light Green-Red-Black Printed
Beck Cachet - Gemini 4
Pacific
Same as Navy Cachet for Gemini 4  Light Blue-Red-Blue Printed
 GT-4 Cachet A small circular text cachet usually appears as an extra cachet. Produced by Morris Beck Black, Red, Blue Rubber Stamp
Orbit Cachet Complex Printed Cachet showing Astronauts and Rocket etc - Navy Cachet usually on Back Green Printed

Postmark Variations
Ship Description of Postmark Scarcity
USS Wasp Machine Cancel Common
USS Wasp Hand Cancel Extremely Rareiii,3
USS Rupertus Ship's name bottom of postmark Common
USS Rupertus Ship's name top of postmark Common
USNS Arnold Kwajalein postmark - Jun 3 U/K
USNS Arnold Honolulu Kwajalein M. I. BR. postmark - Jun 9 U/K
USNS Rose Knot Rodman, Canal Zone Postmark Scarce
USNS Rose Knot Balboa Postmark Scarce

Navy Recovery Force Cachet Colours & Beck Cachet Numbers

Ship

Known Cachet Colours

Beck Numbers

USS Wasp Black 522i, 540
USS Barry Maroon 544
USS Blandy Maroon 545
USS Chukawan Black 548
USS Furse Black, Maroon 542
USS Hawkins Black 543
USS Robert A Owens Maroon 521i,ii, 522i,ii, 541
USS Rich Maroon 546
USS Charles S Sperry Maroon 547
USS Goldsborough Maroon 534
USS Higbee Maroon 536
USS Leonard F Mason Maroon 538
USS Orleck Maroon 539
USS Ponchatoula Maroon 535
USS Rupertus Maroon 537

Interesting Cachets & Covers
Cachet Description of Cachet Colours Type
USS Wasp Very Unusual Captain's cover on back of an Orbit cover Green/Blue Printed
USS Wasp Interesting double machine postmark Black Rubber Stamp
USS Wasp Interesting cover mailed from the UN with UN stamps, then marked in Norfolk on 5th and finally postmarked aboard the USS Wasp on 7th June. None N/A
USS Chukawan Ship's Cachet

Small circular cachet shows a ship

Black Rubber Stamp
USS Blandy4 A Morris Beck printed cover with both an extra Morris Beck small circular text cachet in blue (seems to be the hardest colour to find) and a George Goldey JFK cachet. An ususual combination. Light Green-Red-Black, Blue, Brown Printed & Rubber Stamps
USS Blandy Late postmark 14 Jun 1965 Maroon Rubber Stamp
USNS Rose Knot2 A different USNS Rose Knot cover Black Rubber Stamp and Typed
US Navy 13766 Navy cachet with a Marine post Yokosuka Japan postmark Maroon Rubber Stamp
USS Hawkins Beck B543 cover signed by the Commanding Officer Light Green-Red-Black Printed
USS Kingsport Cover includes a corner card plus extra Syncom cachet black - maroon Rubber Stamp
USS Everglades1 Created by space cover servicer George Goldey who printed his Goldcraft Cachet on the cover describing it for Gemini 4 Black Printed

Signed PRS Covers including Helicopter Recovery Covers - these covers were actually aboard the PRS during recovery
Postmark Description of Cover Postmark Date
Cape Canaveral While not a PRS cover and postmarked 11 years later, it is signed by the Pilot and Co-Pilot of the Recovery Helicopter 7/6/1965
USS Wasp Lovely Captain's cover signed by the Commander of the Atlantic Recovery Group and the Recovery helicopter pilot 7/6/1965
USS Wasp Unusual cover signed by the main Recovery helicopter pilot 7/6/1965

 

Notes General:
i) GT-3 Beck cachets postmarked for GT-4
ii) Beck cacheted covers were sent to the wrong ship and later used for GT-4. See the note that was returned with the covers.
iii) Only one (excluding Captain's covers) cover with a hand cancel has been reported. It may be unique. Steve Durst has a Captain's cover with a hand cancel.
iv) There are discrepencies between different reports as to the number of recovery ships in the Atlantic. NASA's Mission Report puts the number at 10, while a DOD letter puts it at 12. In addition, the Wilhelm Katalog lists the names of only 10 ships while Schultz's 'Project Gemini ... two ships into space' lists the names of 12 ships. The two ships in question are the USS Barry and the USS Charles S Sperry.
 

Notes Other:
1) From the collection of Tom Steiner
2) From the collection of Steve Durst
3) From the collection of Eddie Bizub.
4) From the collection of Luc Jallot
 

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Last modified on 25 September 2018

 

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