SASEBO, Japan (NNS) -- The rescue and salvage ship USS Safeguard was (ARS 50)decommissioned and transferred to Military Sealift Command (MSC) in a ceremony, Sept. 26 in Sasebo.
Following the transfer, the ship proudly assumed the designator United States Naval Ship - USNS Safeguard.
More than 100 of Safeguard's active-duty Navy crew members watched as Safeguard's commanding officer, Lt. Cmdr. Doyle Hodges, lowered the ship's commissioning pennant as a final gesture of the ship's decommissioning. Safeguard's new civil service master, Capt. Edward Dickerson, and 26 civil service crew members then reported aboard.
"Safeguard is a great addition to MSC's fleet," said Paul Devoe, assistant program manager with MSC's Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force. "The ship will continue to provide vital support to the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet."
Safeguard will remain in Sasebo and will have the same mission and operational capabilities. These missions include: salvage of stranded vessels; rescue and assistance operations; recovery of submerged objects; and manned-diving operations. The civil service crew will be complemented by a four-person military detachment of Navy Sailors for communications support, and up to 20 Navy divers as the mission requires.
Operating noncombatant ships with civilian mariners means the U.S. Navy can free uniformed Sailors for critical jobs in the combatant fleet. Safeguard is the fourth and final Navy rescue and salvage ship to be transferred to MSC, joining USNS Grapple (T-ARS 53), USNS Grasp (T-ARS 51) and USNS Salvor (T-ARS 52).
Military Sealift Command operates 110 noncombatant, ships with civilian crews, that replenish U.S. Navy ships, chart ocean bottoms, conduct undersea surveillance, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military equipment and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces.
For more news from Military Sealift Command, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/MSC/.