PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- The rescue and salvage ship USS Salvor (ARS 52) ended 20 years of service in a decommissioning ceremony at Pearl Harbor's Bravo Pier Jan. 12.
During the ceremony, Salvor was transferred to the Military Sealift Command (MSC) and rededicated as USNS Salvor (T-ARS 52).
The ship was designed for salvage of stranded vessels, rescue and assistance, recovery of submerged objects, and manned diving operations. Commissioned June 14, 1986, Salvor first arrived in Pearl Harbor on Nov. 1 of the same year, and has been patrolling and working in the Pacific for the past two decades.
"I am honored to end the proud history of USS Salvor," said Lt. Cmdr. John C. Howard, Salvor's final commanding officer. "A history of outstanding service to our nation, our Navy and a history of dedicated crews that have come before us."
Howard commanded Salvor for its most recent deployment where the ship participated in the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise 2006. During the time at sea, Salvor and her crew positively identified the wreck of the submarine USS Lagarto (SS 371), lost in battle during World War II in the Gulf of Thailand in 1945.
Over the years, Salvor crews have participated in many multi-national exercises including a Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise in 1990, with the Russian Federated navy during Cooperation from the Sea in 1995, and performed salvage operations with the Republic of Korea during SALVEX '96.
Since returning last October from deployment, Salvor's crew worked steadily to prepare for the ship's transfer to MSC.
"I salute you for your tireless efforts," said Rear Adm. Tim Alexander, commander, Navy Region Hawaii, the keynote speaker at the ceremony. "Not only to operate Salvor, but to render her ready for transfer. She looks magnificent. It's a tribute to your dedication and your hard work."
While the ship has undergone many modifications to prepare it for transfer to MSC, the platform will receive automation and control upgrades at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Wash., to prepare for continued service with a smaller civilian crew.
Howard said that commanding the Salvor taught him how dependable and dynamic the U.S. Sailor can be.
"Regardless of the situation," said Howard. "Whether it was a surprise or planned event, the crew of Salvor, every single member, was a vital participant, and really made every event a success.
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