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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
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Valve

 

(ARS-28: dp. 1,897; 1. 183'3"; b. 37'; dr. 14'8"; s. 12.0k.; cpl. 65; a. 1 3"; cl. Diver)

 

Valve (ARS-28) was laid down on 17 November 1942 at Bellingham, Wash., by the Bellingham Marine Railway Co.; launched on 20 May 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Henry Foss; and commissioned on 24 February 1944, Lt. W. D. Mooney, USNR, in command.

 

Following shakedown, the salvage ship departed the west coast at San Francisco on 18 April 1944, bound for Hawaii with a trio of sled targets in tow, and arrived at Pearl Harbor 12 days later. She remained at the Pacific Fleet's base, operating locally, into the fall. Early in this tour, she assisted in fire-fighting operations on burning LST's in West Loch, Pearl Harbor, in the wake of the destructive explosions which eventually sank five of these ships on 21 and 22 May. She spent four hours fighting the blazes before she was ordered to clear the area due to the danger of exploding ammunition carried in the LST's. On 23 May, she returned to West Loch and extinguished the blaze in the hulk of LST-480.

 

Valve commenced salvage operations on the sunken LST-535 on 31 May, her divers making 225 dives in 41 days. She worked on the wreck, removing such items as 15 tons of live ammunition, 10 LVT's, and a great deal of wreckage, from 31 May to 30 August. At noon on the latter day, she got underway to aid LCI(G)-566, aground off Wahie Point, Lanai. After pulling the landing craft free, she resumed salvage operations on LST-535 on 5 September. Valve prepared the ship's hulk for blasting by 8 October and, with this task completed, sailed for Eniwetok 10 days later.

 

Valve served as flagship for the commander of a Guam-bound convoy—containing Bond (AM-152) and SC-1036 and three merchantmen—from 10 to 14 November, before the ship conducted salvage and clearance operations in Tanapag Harbor, Guam, into December 1944. During this period, she salvaged Sparks (IX-196) and prepared the hulk of Japanese freighter Keiyo Maru for sinking at sea.

 

After shifting to Saipan soon thereafter to relieve Anchor (ARS-13), Valve operated out of Saipan on local salvage operations and harbor clearance duties through the end of the year and into the spring of 1945. She departed Saipan for Iwo Jima on 28 May 1945, towing the hulk of Japanese merchantman Toyota Maru.

 

Next serving on local convoy escort duties between Iwo Jima and Guam, Valve shifted to Okinawan waters in July. Between 18 and 31 July, the salvage vessel went to general quarters during 15 "flash-red" alerts. On 28 July, Valve and Jicarilla (ATF-104) put out fires which had broken out in number three hold of SS John A. Rawlins. Before Japan surrendered on 15 August, the salvage ship endured 14 more "flash-red" alerts while in Okinawan waters.

 

She conducted salvage operations in inner Naha harbor at Okinawa into the winter of 1945. When Colbert (APA-145) struck a drifting mine while on typhoon evasion on 17 September, Valve towed the stricken ship to a safe anchorage in Okinawa. Valve rode out another severe typhoon which swirled its way into the fleet anchorage on 9 October. During the storm, SS Richard S. Oglesby twice fouled Valve, and LST-826 collided with the salvage ship as well. Fortunately, Valve suffered only minor damage.

 

Valve subsequently conducted salvage operations on other typhoon-damaged ships—including Wateree (ATF-117), Sacandaga (AOG-40), LST-823, LST-534, and Vandalia (IX-191)—through December 1945. The salvage vessel then conducted local salvage and harbor clearance operations at Okinawa into the spring of 1946. In May, she assisted in the preparations at Bikini Atoll for Operation "Crossroads" before sailing via Pearl Harbor for the west coast.

 

Decommissioned on 26 August 1946, Valve was struck from the Navy list on 12 March 1948 and sold to Walter H. Wilms on 26 July 1948.