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United States Navy Designations (Temporary), are a form of U.S. Navy ship designation, intended for temporary identification use.

Such designations usually occur during periods of sudden mobilization, such as that which occurred prior to, and during, World War II or the Korean War, when it is determined that a sudden temporary need is found for a ship for which there is no official Navy designation.


Sudden Wartime Demands

During World War II, for example, a number of commercial vessels were requisitioned, or acquired, by the U.S. Navy to meet the sudden requirements of war. A yacht acquired by the U.S. Navy during the start of World War II might seem desirable to the Navy whose use for the vessel might not be fully developed or explored at the time of acquisition.

Shifting Requirements

On the other hand, a U.S. Navy vessel, such as the yacht in the example above, already in commission or service, might be desired, or found useful, for another need or purpose for which there is no official designation.

Use of Designation IX

There are numerous examples of this practice. A good example would be the yacht Chanco acquired by the U.S. Navy 1 October 1940. It was classified as a minesweeper AMc-5, but, instead, mainly used as a patrol craft along the New England coast. When another assignment came, and it could not be determined how to classify the vessel, it was redesignated IX-175 on 10 July 1944, with the IX prefix indicating it to be, at that time, an “Unclassified Miscellaneous Auxiliary Ship.”

Use of Designation YAG

YAG, a designation now obsolete, was used to identify “Miscellaneous Auxiliary Service Craft,” such as the USS George Eastman (YAG-39), USS Butternut (YAG-60) and USS Christiana (YAG-32) which, curiously, was earlier known as IX-80.

Use of Designation IXSS

IXSS, a designation now obsolete was used to identify “Unclassified Miscellaneous Submarines” such as the USS Cod (IXSS-224), the USS Angler (IXSS-240) and the USS Croaker (IXSS-246).


In early 1941 the YX and IX file symbols were consolidated, and at the same time the IX symbols were added to the Naval Vessel Register as designators for the ships.

Source: [1]

Other Temporary Designations

Numerous other U.S. Navy vessels were launched with a temporary, or nominal, designation, such as YMS or PC, since it could not be determined, at time of construction, what they should be used for. Many of these were vessels in the 150-200-foot-length class with powerful engines, whose function could be that of a minesweeper, patrol craft, submarine chaser, seaplane tender, tugboat, and so on. Once their destiny, or capability, was found or determined, such vessels were reclassified with their actual designation, such as AM (minesweeper), PC (patrol craft), AT (auxiliary tug), and so on.

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