Gemini 3 - 23 March 1965

Recovery Force Shipsi
Ship Type Designation Covers
USS Intrepid PRS - Carrier CVS-11 Y
USS Ault SRS - Destroyer DD-698 Y
USS Bigelow SRS - Destroyer DD-942 Y
USS Boston SRS - Heavy Cruiser CA-68 Y
USS Cony SRS - Anti-Sub Destroyer DD-508 Y
USCGC Diligence (and another1 ) SRS - Cutter WMEC-616 Y (Rare)
USS Harold J Ellisonii SRS - Destroyer DD-864 Y
USS Douglas H Fox SRS - Destroyer DD-779 Y
USS Harwood3 (and another5a) SRS - Destroyer DD-861 Y(Rare)
USS John Paul Jones SRS - Guided Missile Destroyer DD-32 Y
USS Kankakee SRS - Oiler AO-39 Y
USS Mullinnix SRS - Destroyer DD-944 Y
USS Nipnuc SRS - Fleet Ocean Tug AFT-157 Y (Rare)
USS Robert A. Owens SRS - Destroyer DD-827 Y (Difficult)
USS Rich SRS - Destroyer DD-820 Y
USS Sarsfield SRS - Anti-Sub Destroyer DDE-837 Y
USS Sturdy2 SRS - Ocean Minesweeper MSO-494 Y (Rare)
USS Swerve SRS - Ocean Minesweeper MSO-495 Y (Rare)
USCGC Vigilant2 SRS - Gunboat WPC-617 Y (Rare)
USS Robert L Wilson SRS - Destroyer DD-847 Y
Tracking & Communications Ships
USNS Rose Knot TS - Between Hawaii and California T-AGM 14 Y
USNS Coastal Sentry TS - Southern Indian Ocean T-AGM 15 Y
USNS Range Tracker TS - Position Unknown T-AGM 1 Y
USNS Kingsport Communications Relay Ship - Southern Indian Ocean T-AG 164 Y
Not Involved
USS Turner - Also see Gemini 2 Destroyer DDE-834 Y
USNS Sunnyvale6 Tracking Ship T-AGM 5 Y

Cachet Description of Cachet Colours Type
Navy Recovery Force Cachet
Gemini 2
See Navy Cachet for Gemini 2 Maroon,Blue,Black Rubber Stamp
Navy Recovery Force Cachet
Gemini 3

Designed by Morris Beck it shows a Gemini capsule

 Maroon,Blackii Rubber Stamp
Beck Cachet Similar to Gemini 3 Navy Cachet  Yellow-Blue Printed
Orbit Cachet Complex Printed Cachet showing Astronauts and Rocket etc - Navy Cachet usually on Back Green Printed
Sokolsky Cachet? A small cachet showing a Gemini capsule Black Rubber Stamp
 GT-3 Cachet A small circular text cachet usually appears as an extra cachet. Produced by Morris Beck Red / Black Rubber Stamp
Gordon Cachet Type 1 GT-3 GEMINI ASTRONAUTS etc. Purple Rubber Stamp
Gordon Cachet Type 2 GT-3 MOLLY BROWN GEMINI-TITAN 3 Maroon Rubber Stamp
Gordon Cachet Type 3 PROJECT GEMINI GT-3 US NAVY Recovery Force etc. Maroon Rubber Stamp
Gordon Cachet Type 5 GRISSOM MANEUVERS THE GEMINI 3 etc. Maroon Rubber Stamp
Gordon Cachet Type 6 Various S/H stamp like photos Greyscale Self-Adhesive
GT-3 Text Cachet 'Project Gemini GT-3 US Navy Recovery Force Grissom & Young' - So far only found on US Rich covers Maroon Rubber Stamp
Satellite Cachet Small cachet shows satellites in orbit Black Printed
Postmark Variations
Ship Description of Postmark Scarcity
USS Intrepid Machine Cancel Common
USS Intrepid Hand cancel Extremely Rareiii
USS Kankakee Time Slug below Date Common
USS Kankakee Time Slug above Date Rare
USS Rich Normal Postmark Common
USS Rich Postmark missing Time and Year slugs possibly due to poor ink coverage U/K

Navy Recovery Force Cachet Colours & Beck Cachet Numbers


Known Cachet Colours

Beck Numbers




USS Intrepid   Maroon, Purple, Blackv 515, 520
USS Ault Maroon    None
USS Bigelow Blue    None
USS Boston   Maroon only crew covers known
USS Cony   Black  None
USS Harold J Ellison   Variousii 525, 526
USS Douglas H Fox   Maroon 516, 519
USS Harwood Maroon    None
USS John Paul Jones Maroon Maroon 527, 528
USS Kankakee Maroon   None
USS Mullinnix Maroon Maroon 523, 524
USS Robert Owensiv Maroon   See GT-4
USS Rich   U/K  None
USS Sarsfield   Black 517, 518, 529
USS Robert L Wilson Black Black None

Interesting Cachets & Covers
Cachet Description of Cachet Colours Type
USS Intrepid4 Navy cachet on ship's printed stationary - Rare - And a second example5b various Rubber Stamp Printed
USS Intrepid1 Navy cachet on Admiral's Stationary - Rare Maroon Rubber Stamp
USS Intrepid Unusual Pictorial Label on an Orbit Cover shows an Aircraft Carrier Black Printed/
Self Adhesive
USS Mullinnix Navy cachet on ship's printed stationary - Rare Maroon / Aqua Rubber Stamp Printed
USS Bigelow5b Navy cachet on ship's printed stationary - Rare - Also the postmark is blue Blue / Brown Rubber Stamp Printed
USS Harold J Ellisonii  Ship's cachet - usually on the back of the cover various  Rubber Stamp
USS Robert L Wilson2 Interesting cover from the Commander Destroyer Division 362 Black Rubber Stamp
USS Robert L Wilson5b Ship's cachet in addition to Navy cachet Black / Black Rubber Stamp
USS Swerve1 Unusual Cachet Aqua Rubber Stamp
USS Rich9 Navy cachet - For some reason this cachet is rare Black Rubber Stamp
Corpus Christi Navy cachet with a Corpus Christi postmark Black Rubber Stamp

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 Intrepid Signed by the Commanding Officer, Captain J. Smith plus Grissom & Young (autopens?) 23 March 1965
USS Intrepid5 Signed by the Pilot & Co-pilot of the Recovery Helicopter - Rare 23 March 1965

Notes General:
i) The NASA Mission Report lists the Recovery Forces as consisting of 19 ships, including a Carrier, 12 Destroyers, a Crusier, a Coast Guard Cutter, an Oiler, a Salvage type ship plus two unidentified ships. All other reports list 20 ships.
ii) The USS Ellison is a special case - Covers also include the ship's cachet, usually on the back
iii) A Beck (B520) cover with a hand cancel is reported in Ray Cartier's 'Primary Recovery Ship Cover Handbook'. However this appears to have been added when the usual machine cancel missed the stamp. Only one other hand cancel has been reported, on a Beck designed Navy RSC cover. In October 2009 another cover with the scarce hand cancel was sold on eBay and another one was also sold.
iv) Only covers with Navy cachets exist. Beck cacheted covers were sent to the wrong ship and later used for GT-4. See the note that was returned with the covers.
v) Only four covers are known

Notes Other:
1) From the collection of Steve Durst
2) From the collection of Tom Steiner
3) From collection of Dennis Paul
4) From collection of Wolf Magnus
5) Sold on eBay 2013 a) 2017 b) 2024
6) From the collection of Roland Mantovani
8) From the collection of Gerard Zonneveld
9) From the collection of Joseph Volutza

This page © Dr Ross J Smith
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Last modified on 14 May 2024