Gemini 2 - 19 January 1965 - Unmanned

Recovery Force Ships 


Designation Covers
USS Lake Champlain PRS - Carrier CVS-39 Y
USS Agile SRS - Ocean Minesweeper MSO-421 N
USS Bulwark SRS - Ocean Minesweeper MSO-425 N
USS Eugene A. Greene SRS - Destroyer DD-711 Y
USS Holder SRS - Destroyer DD-819 Y
USS O'Hare SRS - Destroyer DD-889 Y
USS Paiute SRS - Fleet Ocean Tug ATF-159 Nii
USS Putnamiii SRS - Destroyer DD-757 Y (scarce)
USS Forrest Royal SRS - Destroyer DD-872 Y
USS Vogelgesang SRS - Destroyer DD-862 Y
Tracking & Communications Ships
USNS Rose Knot TS - Position Unknown T-AGM 14 N
USNS Coastal Sentry TS - Position Unknown T-AGM 15 N
USS Turnervii Invoved in Aborted Launch DDE-834 N
Not Involved
USS Charles R Ware SRS - Destroyer DD-865 Y
Cachet Description of Cachet Colours Type
Project Gemini General Gemini Cachet Maroon Rubber Stamp
Navy Recovery Force Cachet Designed by Morris Beck it shows two men & a capsule Black,Blue,Maroon,Green,
Rubber Stamp
Beck Cachet Same as Navy Cachet Blue-Red Printed
Goldcraft Cachet A printed orange cachet over a Navy Beck rubber stamped
Orange Printed
Artopages Cachet 1 Cape Canaveral Renamed cachet Red & Blue Printed
Artopages Cachet 2 Conquest of Space cachet Red & Blue Printed
Artopages Cachet 3 Ships of the World Naval Space Recovery cachet Orange & Blue Printed
Satellite Cachet Small cachet shows satellites in orbit Black Printed
Postmark Variations
Ship Description of Postmark Scarcity
USS Lake Champlain Hand cancel with P.M. postmark Common
USS Lake Champlain Hand cancel with A.M. postmark. Also This one1. And this one4. Rare
USS Lake Champlain Machine canceli Rare
Navy Recovery Force Cachet Colours & Beck Cachet Numbers


Known Cachet Colours

Beck Numbers

USS Lake Champlain Black, Redvi, Purple, Maroon 461, 463
USS Eugene A. Greene Blackiv, Maroon, Blue, Purplev 458
USS Holder Black3,viii, Green, Maroon viii 456
USS O'Hare Black, Maroonviii, Purpleviii 460
USS Putnamiii Black, Maroon None
USS Forrest Royal Black, Maroon 462
USS Vogelgesang Maroon 459
USS Charles R Ware Purple, Maroon 457

Interesting Cachets & Covers
Cachet Description of Cachet Colours Type
USS Lake Champlain3 An interesting Crew cover on ship's stationary from a crew member to his father. Has a machine cancel. Red Rubber Stamp
USS Lake Champlain An airmail PRS cover with a Navy cachet plus an interesting American Eagle addon. Note it is addressed to a member of the Gordon Family Various Addon
Signed PRS Covers including Helicopter Recovery Covers - most of  these covers were actually aboard the PRS during recovery
Postmark Description of Cover Postmark Date
USS Lake Champlain2 Signed by the ship's Commanding Officer 19 Jan 1965


Notes General:
i) One such cover contained a letter from an Ensign on Lake Champlain official stationery to a friend stating: 'The only ones like it were those that we mailed out from the ship today. This cancel was not used on collectors covers'.
ia ) Almost all machine cancels are found on #10 large envelopes. However, Tom Steiner has one on a regular size crew stationary.
ii ) The closest to a USS Paiute cover is a late postmark cover sold on eBay in May 2009.
iii) This is the most difficult of the known SRS covers to find
iv ) Only seen on back of a USS Greene cover with a Project Gemini cachet on front
v ) Several seen - possibly rare
vi ) Most red cachets have been found on covers with machine postmarks. This one is a rare exception which is also unusual as it is on an ordinary envelope. Most red cachets are on larger envelopes such as this one.
vii ) The first launch attempt occurred on 9 December 1964. The Recovery Fleet which was waiting in the Altantic was not identical to the Recovery Fleet for the final launch (above). At least one ship was different. The USS Turner (DDR-834) was present for the aborted launch.
viii ) Extremely Rare

Notes Other:
1) From the collection of Antoni Rigo. Six such covers are now known.
2) Sold on eBay in 2013
3) From the collection of Steve Durst 
4) From the collection of Lee Kok How

 This page © Dr Ross J Smith
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Last modified on 10 May 2023