Gemini 8 - 17 March 1966

Recovery Force Ships


Ship Type Designation Covers
USS Boxerii PRS (intended) - Carrier LPH-4 Y
USS Caloosahatcheei SRS - Oiler AO-98 Y
USS Charles P. Cecili SRS - Radar Picket Destroyer DD-835 Y
USS Fidelity SRS - Ocean Minesweeper MSO-443 N
USS Goodrich SRS - Radar Picket Destroyer DD-831 Y
USS Myles C. Foxi SRS - Destroyer DD-829 Y
USS Noa SRS - Destroyer DD-841 Y
USS Paiute SRS - Fleet Ocean Tug ATF-159 N
USS Leonard F. Mason PRS (actual) - Destroyer DD-852 Y
USS Cochrane SRS - Guided Missile Destroyer DDG-21 Y
USS George K. MacKenzie SRS - Destroyer DD-836 Y
USS Hassayampa SRS - Oiler (recovery logistic ship) AO-145 Y
Tracking & Communications Ships
USNS Rose Knot TS - Atlantic T-AGM 14 Y
USNS Coastal Sentry TS - Pacific T-AGM 15 Y
USNS Range Tracker TS - Position Unknown T-AGM 1 Y
USNS Kingsportiv Communications Relay Ship - Pacific T-AG 164 Y
Not Involved
USNS Twin Falls Tracking Ship T-AGM 11 Y
USNS Wheeling Tracking Ship T-AGM 8 Y
USNS Coastal Crusader Tracking Ship T-AGM 16 Y

Cachet Description of Cachet Colours Type
Navy Recovery Force Cachet
GT-8 - Atlantic

Designed by Morris Beck it shows NASA Symbol & Stars

Maroon, Black, Green Rubber Stamp
Navy Recovery Force Cachet
GT-8 - Pacific

Designed by Morris Beck it shows NASA Symbol & Stars

Maroon, Black Rubber Stamp
Beck Cachet - Atlantic Same as Navy Cachet Light-Dark Blue Printed
Beck Cachet - Pacific Same as Navy Cachet Light Blue-Maroon Printed
Orbit Cachet Complex Printed Cachet showing Astronauts and Rocket etc - Navy Cachet usually on Back Green Printed
Gordon Cachet Type 1 'Gemini 8 forced down in Pacific' text cachet Red, Purple Rubber Stamp
Gordon Cachet Type 2 ANOTHER STEP TO THE MOON etc. Purple Rubber Stamp
 GT-8 Cachet A small circular text cachet usually appears as an extra cachet. Produced by Morris Beck Black, Purple, Red, Blue, Green Rubber Stamp

Postmark Variations
Ship Description of Postmark Scarcity
 USS Boxer  Machine Cancel Common
 USS Boxer Hand Cancel  Scarce
USS Boxer2 Both hand cancel and machine cancel - And a second5. Only 2 known

Navy Recovery Force Cachet Colours & Beck Cachet Numbers


Known Cachet Colours

Beck Numbers

USS Boxerii Maroon, Redv 634, 637
USS Caloosahatchee Black 635
USS Charles P. Cecil Black 638
USS Goodrich Green, Black 640
USS Myles C. Fox Green 636
USS Noa Black 639
USS Leonard F. Mason Maroon, Blackv 630
USS Cochrane Maroon 629, 632
USS George K. MacKenzie Maroon 631
USS Hassayampa Maroon 633

Interesting Cachets & Covers
Cachet Description of Cachet Colours Type
USS Boxer Cachet shows the Boxer Greyscale Printed
USS Cochrane On a general Gemini 8 recovery cover B/W Printed
USS Hassayampa Similar to above but blue Blue Printed
USS Hassayampa Interesting addressee LCDR Kinley USN Beck B633 Printed
USS Goodrich Remarkable cover appears to show a transition between black and green ink Green with Black NASA emblem Rubber Stamp
USS Myles C. Fox Postmarded 16 rather than the usual 17 None None
USS Leonard F. Mason 'Return to Port' cover3 Black Text Label
USS Leonard F. Mason2b A different 'Return to Port' cover Blue Printed
USS Leonard F. Mason2a As above with a late postmark Blue Printed
USS Leonard F. Mason2a Cover shows the Earth - Late postmark B/W Printed
USNS Rose Knot1 Signed by the Ship's Master None None

Signed PRS Covers including Helicopter Recovery Covers - most these covers were actually aboard the PRS during recovery
Postmark Description of Cover Postmark Date
USS Boxer Signed by the main recovery helicopter pilot 17 March 1966
USS Boxer Signed by Search 1 co-pilot 17 March 1966
USS Boxer Signed by Search 1 navigator 17 March 1966
USS Boxer Signed by Pararescue Team member 17 March 1966
USS Boxer5 Signed by the ship's Commanding Officer and Dave Scott 17 March 1966
USS Leonard F Mason4 Signed by the ship's Commander 17 March 1966


Notes General:
i ) It seems that the USS Myles C. Fox was not officially involved in Gemini 8. As the very extensive USS Myles C. Fox website notes 'This was the mission that Fox aborted to attend to the fire aboard the Merchant ship MV Palma.'. A POD letter from the Fox written on her return to port states that three ships were diverted to aid the MV Palma, the USS Myles C Fox, the USS Caloosahatchee and the USS Charles P. Cecil. However, the Fox was diverted the day before liftoff while the other two were diverted during the mission. Hence the Fox did not actually participate in the Gemini 8 mission.
ii ) A number of Beck type single colour USS Boxer covers without numbers are known. Known colours are:
Green, Blue, Gold and Silver/Grey with a hand cancel and Red & Blue with a machine cancel. The exact status of these covers is unknown but it is surmised that at least the ones with a hand cancel are crew covers. See my article for further information.
iii) The USS Wasp was in dry dock for repairs
iv ) This was the USS Kingsport's last mission. After this mission she was on standby. See a note from the purser
v ) This colour is difficult to find

Notes Other:
1) From the collection of Steve Durst
2) Sold on eBay 2010 a) 2013 b) 2017
3) A second cover has been found in the collection of Eddie Bizub. And a third.
4) From the collection of Anthony B O'Brien
5) From the collection of Lee Kok How

This page © Dr Ross J Smith
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Last modified on 2 June 2021