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General Characteristics Crew List Notes of interest About the Ship's Coat of Arms Image Gallery End of page

USNS Grasp (T-ARS 51)

- formerly ARS 51 -

USS GRASP is the second ship in the SAFEGUARD - class of Rescue and Salvage Ships. Transfered to the Military Sealift Command on January 19, 2006, the GRASP subsequently underwent a shipyard period for conversion for operation by civilian mariners.

General Characteristics:Keel Laid: March 20, 1983
Launched: May 21, 1984
Commissioned: December 14, 1985
Decommissioned: January 19, 2006
MSC "in service": January 19, 2006
Builder: Peterson Builders, Sturgeon Bay, Wi.
Propulsion system: four Caterpillar 399 Diesel Engines
Propellers: two
Length: 255 feet (77.7 meters)
Beam: 50 feet (15.2 meters)
Draft: 15.5 feet (4.7 meters)
Displacement: approx. 3,200 tons
Speed: 15 knots
Armament: two .50 caliber machine guns; two Mk-38 25mm guns
Workboats: two 35-Ft. Aluminum Boats, two 14-Ft. Inflatable Boats
Homeport: not assigned
Crew: 26 MSC and 4 US Navy

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Crew List:

This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard USS / USNS GRASP. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.

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After the crash of John F. Kennedy, jrs plane in the Atlantic, USS GRASP took part in the rescue and salvage mission in July 1999. Her divers found the wreck of the plane and also the three dead passengers. The image on the left shows the USS GRASP after the conclusion of the mission during the arrival in Little Creek, Va.

Notes of Interest:

The GRASP is able to tow a "super carrier" with a speed of 5 knots.
The MK 12 and MK 1 air diving systems provide the GRASP divers with the capability of tethered diving to depths of 190 feet of seawater.

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About the Ship's Coat of Arms:

The Shield:

The seahorse symbolizes the GRASP as a Navy "work horse," and also denotes that its duties are performed both above and below the water's surface. It also endows the ship with the fine qualities of the horse - strength, endurance and speed. The grappling iron, an old but efficient method of locating and retrieving wreckage from the sea, indicates the ship's salvage operations. The looped and twisted line running from the iron to a neat, orderly coil signifies the ship's capabilities of restoring order from chaos, as demonstrated by the USS GRASP (ARS 24) during WWII, Korea, and Vietnam in the clearing of harbors and the restoring of damaged ships and installations. The three arrowheads commemorate the service of the former GRASP in these three conflicts. The wavy blue area against the gray "riveted" border, suggests the sea against the hulls of ships, and denotes the ship's mission of salvage and repairs.

The Crest:

The two hands "grasping" the trident allude to the ship's name. The upper hand suggest the "helping hand," and denotes the many humanitarian services performed by the officers and crew of the former GRASP. The mailed hand symbolizes the past and present ship's combat capabilities. The modified trident is a symbol of the tools used in sea salvage and repair with the center prong, a flame, suggestive of the cutting and welding torch. The hands holding the torch are also suggestive of the passing on of the torch, history and honors of the past ship, to the present USS GRASP (ARS 51). The four stars commemorate the battle stars awarded to the GRASP in WWII and Korea. The globe denotes the extensive cruises of the former ship, and world-wide salvage and repair capabilities of the present one.

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The photo below was taken by me and shows the GRASP at Norfolk, Va., on October 28, 2010.

The photo below was taken by Sebastian Thoma and shows the GRASP at Naval Base San Diego, Calif., on November 28, 2021.

The photo below was taken by Michael Jenning and shows the GRASP at Naval Base San Diego, Calif., on May 29, 2022.

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