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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

USNS Grasp (T-ARS-51)
USS Grasp (ARS-51) (1985 - 2006)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Alpha - Delta - Quebec
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Navy Unit Commendation - Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation (5)
Second Row - Battle "E" Ribbon (4) - Navy Expeditionary Medal (4) - National Defense Service Medal
Third Row - Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal - Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal - Coast Guard Unit Commendation

Safeguard Class Rescue and Salvage Ship:
  • Laid down, 20 March 1983, at Peterson Builders, Sturgeon Bay, WI.
  • Launched, 21 May 1984
  • Commissioned USS Grasp (ARS-51), 14 December 1985, LCDR Thomas B. Service in command
  • Decommissioned, 19 January 2006, at NAB Little Creek, VA.
  • Placed in service with the Military Sealift Command (MSC) as USNS Grasp (T-ARS-51), 19 January 2006
    Displacement 2,633 t.(lt) 3,282 t.(fl)
    Length 255'
    Beam 51'
    Draft 17' (max.)
    Speed 14 kts.
    Complement 6 Officers, 94 Enlisted
    Armamenttwo MK-38 25mm chain guns, two .50 cal machine guns
    Propulsion four Caterpillar 399 diesel engines, two shafts, 4,200hp

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    Size Image Description Contributed By
    USS Grasp (ARS-51)
    Grasp 54k USS Grasp (ARS-51) underway, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo.
    USS Grasp (ARS-51) web site
    Grasp 71k USS Grasp (ARS-51) underway, 16 October 1985.
    US Navy photo # 851016-N-00000-001
    USS Grasp (ARS-51) web site
    Grasp 2175k USS Grasp (ARS-51) moored pierside at La Spezia, Italy, 8 May 1989. Photo by Carlo Martinelli
    Grasp 735k USS Grasp (ARS-51) moored pierside at Naval Station Key West, FL., in January 1990. Photo of John Skillman and David Prochotsky John Skillman
    Grasp 94k USS Grasp (ARS-51) moored pierside at Palma de Mallorca, Spain in November 1991. Photo by Pedro Vidal
    Grasp 70k USS Grasp (ARS-51) moored pierside at Barcelona, Spain, 1 January 1992 Photo by
    Ignacio Lopez
    ex member Armada Espanola
    Grasp 1673k USS Grasp (ARS-51) underway on the Seine River near Duclair, France, 17 July 1994. Photo by Carlo Martinelli
    Grasp 55k USS Grasp (ARS-51) anchored over the crash site of TWA Flight 800 offshore of Moriches Inlet, Long Island, N.Y., she it conducts diving operations, 25 July 25, 1996. Navy divers conducted dives to recover victims of the crash and parts of the airplane to aid in the investigation.
    US DOD photo # 960725-N-6676W-026 by AN Charles L. Withrow.
    Bill Gonyo
    Grasp 107k USS Grasp (ARS-51) anchored over the crash site of TWA Flight 800 offshore of Moriches Inlet, Long Island, N.Y., she it conducts diving operations, 25 July 25, 1996.
    DOD photo
    Bill Gonyo
    Grasp 30k USS Grasp (ARS-51) moored pierside, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo.
    USS Grasp (ARS-51) web site
    Grasp 97k USS Grasp (ARS-51) underway, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo.
    Grasp 47k USS Grasp (ARS-51) moored at Naples, Italy, in June 1996. Wendell McLaughlin
    Grasp 96k USS Grasp (ARS-51) gets underway, 18 July 1999, as her mooring lines are cast off by sailors assigned to the Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek port operations. USS Grasp assisted in search and recovery efforts for a private plane flown by John F. Kennedy Jr. and carrying his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and his sister-in-law, Lauren Bessette. The aircraft crashed July 17 off the coast of Martha's Vineyard, Mass
    US Navy photo # 990718-N-6967M-006 by PH2 Shane T. McCoy.
    Bill Gonyo
    Grasp 2039k USS Grasp (ARS-51) moored at La Spezia, Italy, 4 July 2000. Photo by Carlo Martinelli
    Grasp 66k USS Grasp (ARS-51) pulls into the Taranto Naval Base Mar Grande to participate in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) submarine escape and rescue exercise Sorbet Royal 2005, 17 June 2005. USS Grasp transported the Atmospheric Diving System 2000 (ADS 2000), Submarine Rescue Chamber Eight (SRC 8) along with members of the U.S. Navy's deep submergence unit. Twenty-seven participating nations, including 14 NATO nations will test their capabilities and interoperability. Four submarines with up to 52 crew members aboard will be placed on the bottom of the ocean, while rescue forces with rescue vehicles and systems work together to solve complex disaster rescue problems.
    US Navy photo # 050617-N-1464F-001 by JOC Dave Fliesen.
    Navy Newsstand
    USNS Grasp (T-ARS-51)
    Grasp 318k During her decommissioning and transfer ceremony, 19 January 2006, MSC commander VADM. David L. Brewer III, USN, welcomes USNS Grasp (T-ARS-51) to the MSC fleet.
    US Navy Military Sealift Command photo by Bill Cook.
    Bill Gonyo
    Grasp 55k USNS Grasp (T-ARS-51) tows ex-USS Des Moines (CA-134) up the Brownsville ship channel enroute to the ESCO scrapping yard, at Brownsville, TX., circa 2006.
    Photo ©Michael Martin, Brownsville, TX., 2006.
    TJ Tropea with permission of Michael Martin
    Grasp 872k USNS Grasp (T-ARS-51) tows ex-USS Des Moines (CA-134) up the Brownsville ship channel enroute to the ESCO scrapping yard, at Brownsville, TX., circa 2006.
    US Navy photo from the Military Sealift Command collection.
    Bill Gonyo
    Grasp 803k USNS Grasp (T-ARS-51) berthed pierside in St John's Antigua, 16 July 2008. Curtis A. Smith, Captain, Civilian, USNS Grasp
    Grasp 1024k A diver rides a stage to the seabed from USNS Grasp (T-ARS-51) off St Kitts during Global Fleet Station 2008.
    US Navy photo by MCCS Andrew McKaskle.
    Robert Hurst
    Grasp 2328k USNS Grasp (T-ARS-51) tows the NR-1 for the last time in January 2009. NR-1 is being laid up after over 40 years of service.
    See the Sealift magazine, February 2009 story "Grasp tows NR-1, MSC plays pivotal role in famous subs final days" by Rosemary Heiss MSC Public Affairs
    Lee Wahler
    Grasp 1645k USNS Grasp (T-ARS-51) arrives at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay to put on stores and refuel while en route to provide humanitarian aid and disaster relief to Haiti. Grasp was diverted from its mission to assist with relief efforts following a 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010.
    US Navy photo # 100117-N-8241M-088 GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (Jan. 17, 2010) by MCC Bill MestaBill Mesta.
    Lee Wahler
    Sacagawea 417k USNS Grasp (T-ARS-51) lays alongside USNS Sacagawea (T-AKE-2) as an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter departs to deliver cargo to the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20). Comfort received more than 200 pallets of supplies, which will allow the ship to support Operation Unified Response after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck near Port-au-Prince, Haiti January 12, 2010.
    US Navy photo # 100301-N-6410J-163 CARIBBEAN SEA (March 1, 2010) by MC3 Matthew Jackson.
    Lee Wahler
    Saturn 67k The rescue and salvage ship USNS Grasp (T-ARS-51) tows ex-USNS Saturn (T-AFS-10) out to sea, 26 October 2010, to be released 250 miles off the North Carolina coast. Aircraft launched from the USS George H. W. Bush (CVN-73) Carrier Strike Group struck the decommissioned resupply ship with bombs and air-to-surface missiles, sending it to the bottom of the Atlantic in a two-day sinking exercise (SINKEX).
    Photo courtesy Fred Woody.
    Lee Wahler
    Grapple 966k USNS Grasp (T-ARS-51) and USNS Grapple (T-ARS-53) moored pierside at Naples, Italy, circa July 2011 Photo by Timothy R. Lockwood, Master, USNS Grapple
    Grasp 32k USNS Grasp (T-ARS-51) departs for the Mediterranean Sea, 21 April 2012.
    MSC photo.
    Lee Wahler
    Grasp 113k USNS Grasp (T-ARS-51) moored at Odessa, Ukraine, 3 July 2012. Lee Wahler
    Grasp 198k USNS Grasp (T-ARS-51) moored pierside at Naval Station Little Creek, VA., date unknown. Richard Mller BMCS USNR Ret.

    USS Grasp (ARS-51) / USNS Grasp (T-ARS-51)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    USS Grasp (ARS-51) Commanding Officers
    LCDR Service, Thomas Buchanan 14 December 1985 - 13 March 1987
    LCDR Gibson, James H. 13 March 1987 - 9 June 1989
    LCDR Herb, Michael Curtis 9 June 1989 - 9 August 1991
    LCDR Millsap, Vernon B. 9 August 1991 - 10 December 1993
    LCDR Hill, Steven Jeffrey 10 December 1993 - 4 August 1995
    LCDR Orr, William Parker 4 August 1995 - 20 June.1997
    LCDR Harrell, Ronald Lee 20 June 1997 - 19 March 1999
    LCDR Anderson, Eric B. 19 March 1999 - 30 March 2001
    LCDR Hedberg, Kurt E. 30 March 2001 - 3 June 2003
    LCDR Moum, Brian C. 3 June 2003 - 19 January 2006
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information
    U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation - Navy Log

    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    National Association of Fleet Tug Sailors
    US Navy Fact File - Rescue and Salvage Ships - ARS
    Back To The Navsource Photo Archives Main Page Back To The Service Ship Photo Index Back To The Salvage Ship (ARS) Photo Index
    Comments, Suggestions, E-mail Webmaster.
    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 20 December 2013