Pier 4 at the Brooklyn Army Terminal
During summer of 1963 while surveying in the Med we learned that Michelson would soon be returning to the US. It was due for a "yard period" for the heavy duty maintenance and repair work that a ship requires every few years. Boiler work and mechanical maintenance were on the punch list, things that cannot be done on a routine basis by the crew. Sandblasting and repainting the hull was also needed.
For the navy detachment the big news was that Michelson would be the first of the three TAGS survey ships to receive the new multibeam sonar we had been hearing about. Some major remodeling of the navy work areas was in order to accommodate sonar and new navigation hardware. 

The Brooklyn Navy Yard was to be our destination. In the fall, after refueling and provisioning in Barcelona we left Bowditch and Dutton in the Med and headed west, in the direction of Gibraltar. New York's Ambrose pilot station was about 3700 non stop nautical miles from Barcelona, about 10 to 12 days steaming time, depending on winds and ocean currents.

Bought duty free in Belfast, locked up in number four hold, there were cases of booze heading back to the States. Also in the hold was one of those little British sports cars, so popular at the time, being imported by the detachment's executive officer.

While not surveying, we kept on pinging, recording ocean depths and geographic data. Our magnetometer was streamed behind the ship, collecting data. Magnetic survey information from Michelson's transatlantic voyages, and those of other survey ships, can be found today on the internet. 

We arrived at the Ambrose Light, once a lightship, then more of a buoy, and picked up a pilot. Our first stop was to be at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, the ship's American home port and headquarters of MSTS Atlantic. It was about 10 AM on September 13, 1963.

At the end of the pier were banners: "Welcome Home USNS Michelson". There was a band playing. There were people everywhere, there to greet the crew's return! As soon as we docked the swarm of dependents came aboard: wives, parents, girl friends, even some kids. This was a amazing sight. The crew suddenly became Real American People, with families, instead of a bunch of civilian merchant mariners!

I imagined Captain Bondeson's reaction to all this hoopla: "Jah-Jah! Dere iss VIMMEN aboard !!"

Harry, our mess steward, served us lunch for the last time. His wife was there. They lived in the Bronx. That lunch was our last meal aboard until spring of 1964. By the end of the day our crew had been paid and were all gone. It was the end of the voyage. 

Just after lunch, the ship steamed along up the East River beneath both the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges to a pier at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Shore power was connected and the engines shut down. The ship was "cold iron". Our old home, USNS Michelson, was no longer habitable. All twenty odd navy sailors relocated to the navy receiving station across the street from the shipyard. Unlike the civilian crew, we were still assigned to the ship.