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USNS Salvor (T-ARS 52)

- formerly ARS 52 -

USNS SALVOR is the third ship in the SAFEGUARD class of Rescue and Salvage Ships. The SALVOR was transfered to the Military Sealift Command on January 12, 2007, and is now manned by a civilian crew and a US Navy detachment.

General Characteristics:Keel Laid: 1983
Commissioned: June 14, 1986
Decommissioned: January 12, 2007
MSC "in service": January 12, 2007
Builder: Peterson, Sturgeon Bay
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: Pearl Harbor, HI.
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 SALVOR. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.

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About the Ship's Coat of Arms:

The Shield:

The navigator chart of the Pacific Ocean represents SALVOR's theater of operation. SALVOR's bow-on aspect is representative of the view those in peril on the high seas will have as SALVOR appears on the horizon to render rescue and salvage assistance. The bow wave is modeled after that of the Surface Warfare insignia, worn by those who have mastered the intricacies of a U.S. Navy surface ship. The Stato anchor, ideally suited to salvage operations due to its excellent holding power to weight ratio, is an appropriate symbol of the strength and stability on which salvage operations are based.

The Crest:

The crossed sword and cutlass represent the officer and enlisted crew members that proudly wear the Surface Warfare insignia. The MK V and MK 12 diving helmets symbolize the proven tradition methods of diving and the latest technological advances that have been applied to diving techniques. There are 94 links in the chain, one for every "plankowner" - those sailors comprising SALVOR's commissioning crew. The encirclement of chain represents the strength and teamwork inherent in a ship's crew.

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History of USS / USNS SALVOR:

Commissioned on 14 June 1986, the ship represented a significant addition to the Navy's diving and salvage capabilities.

One of the primary missions for which SALVOR was designed is open ocean towing; a task it demonstrated during its initial voyage. SALVOR towed three vessels from South Carolina and Texas to Hawaii via the Panama Canal and California. Her towing skills have been called upon repeatedly since 1986 including four months of towing during an EASTPAC deployment in 1993.

Since arriving in the Pacific Fleet, SALVOR has continued the work horse tradition begun on its maiden voyage. The ship provides a wide range of support for a diverse group of military organizations including Naval Special Warfare, the U.S. Air Force and Deep Submergence Group operations.

SALVOR had had ample opportunity to demonstrate her extensive salvage capability. The ship played a definitive role in the salvage of M/V EXXON HOUSTON, which had run aground at Barbers Point, Hawaii in March 1989. In concert with other units of Combat Support Squadron FIVE, SALVOR assisted in the prompt removal of the stranded vessel and prevented an environmental tragedy from occurring to Hawaii. As part of its salvage mission, SALVOR has an extensive off-ship firefighting capability and trained teams ready to board stricken vessels and put out their fires. In April 1989, the ship spent 16 hours battling a fire on the Barge Kamalu, adrift off the Waianae coast.

In late 1991 and early 1992, SALVOR set the world's record for open ocean recovery by salvaging a helicopter for a depth of 17,251 feet from waters off Wake Island. SALVOR has earned an enviable reputation of rapid response to emergencies; it towed the USS CIMARRON (AO 177) home to Pearl Harbor following a major engineering casualty and recovered another helicopter from waters off Southern California, both missions accomplished on short notice with outstanding results.

Despite its relative youth, SALVOR has garnered a significant number of awards. The ship proudly wears the Meritorious Unit Commendation along with five Sea Service Deployment Ribbons and the Battle Efficiency Award for the period June 1986 to December 1987. Team SALVOR was awarded the 1993 CNO Safety Award for excellence in shipboard safety programs and was pronounced "Best of the Best" in Pacific Fleet midshipman training.

1994 proved to be yet another successful year for SALVOR including DIVOPS in Lahaina, Hawaii and a highly rewarding RIMPAC 94. SALVOR also assisted in the towing of EX-USS PEORIA and EX-USS TUSCALOOSA. 1995 began with SALVOR assisting the USNS NAVAJO with the tow of EX-USS DUNCAN and the recovery of a primary towing pendant which had parted during the tow, preventing damage to submerged cables in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. February and March were training months with Salvage Training using the EX-USS TUNICA and DIVOPS in Maui. SALVOR also helped to recover an anchor and ten shots of chain off of Reef Runway, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. In March 1995 SALVOR assumed command of salvage operations during the recovery of an F/A-18C which had crashed off the coast of San Diego.

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The photo below was taken by me and shows the SALVOR undergoing maintenance at San Francisco, Calif., on October 6, 2011.

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