(ARS-43: displacement 1,995 (full load); length 213-6-; beam 44-; draft 15-; speed 11 knots; complement 84; armament 4 40mm., 6 20mm.; class Bolster)
Recovery (ARS-43) was laid down 6 January 1945 by the Basalt Rock Co., Inc., Napa, Calif.; launched 4 August 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Harry Burris; and commissioned 15 May 1946, Lt. J. T. Moritz in command.
Following shakedown, Recovery operated briefly out of San Diego, then on 9 August got underway for the Panama Canal Zone. Homeported at Rodman from her arrival, 30 August, until September 1953, the ship performed salvage, repair, and towing operations in the Canal Zone and the Caribbean; provided men and equipment for underwater projects of the Army Engineers; served as a training ship for Naval Reservists of the 15th Naval District; and, after April 1952, added a second-class diving school to her duties. Transferred to the east coast in October 1953, Recovery arrived at her new homeport, Norfolk, on the 11th only to depart soon after for her first tour in northern latitudes in support of MSTS North Atlantic and Arctic resupply programs. She arrived at Goose Bay 3 November and operated off Labrador, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia into the new year, returning to Norfolk 29 January 1954.
In addition to annual deployments to subarctic and arctic waters to support MSTS operations over the next 7 years, Recovery's mobile ability to provide salvage, repair, towing, diving, and rescue services to the fleet was utilized along the lengths of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and in the Caribbean as well as in the Chesapeake Bay area. Occasionally assigned to experimental programs, in 1960 she assisted in shock test programs at Key West and in the Bahamas and in escape and recovery tests off the Virginia coast for the National Aeronautical and Space Administration's man-in-space program. That year she also provided disaster relief for the outer islands of the Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Donna.
In February 1961 the arctic came to Chesapeake Bay and Recovery assisted Coast Guard vessels in clearing heavy ice congestion and aiding stranded merchantmen. In May she again operated in support of NASA's space program and directed offshore standby recovery forces during Commander Shepard's suborbital flight, America's first manned space flight. Salvage operations then took Recovery north to assist Luiseno (ATF-156) and other vessels in pulling decommissioned destroyer Baldwin (DD-624) off the beach at Montauk Point, N.Y. The destroyer was floated, but because damage was beyond economic repair, she was towed out to sea and sunk by gunfire from the ARS and the ATF. In July Recovery returned to Cape Canaveral and joined the support force for Major Grissom's suborbital flight. Between August and November she supported the Arctic resupply program; then, in 1962, provided target towing service before returning to Florida for Lieutenant Colonel Glenn's February orbital mission.
East coast and Caribbean operations occupied the remainder of the year and in 1963 she added oceanographic survey work to her duties. In northern waters in April, she was diverted to assist in searching for Thresher (SSN-593). First on the scene, she recovered samples of oil and grease, plastic, and styrofoam.
In July 1964 Recovery returned from her last oceanographic mission and her survey equipment was removed. In September she sailed to Scotland to participate in exercise "Teamwork," thence proceeded to Spain for "Steel Pike," the largest peacetime amphibious operation. In November she returned to the United States and resumed duty out of Norfolk. In 1967 she again sailed north for extended operations in northern latitudes, returning to Norfolk in October, after a good will visit to Montreal. Three months later, in January 1968, she again assisted with shock tests at Key West; then, until July, was engaged primarily in towing operations. On 25 July she deployed, for the first time, to the Mediterranean, where for the next 7 months she provided salvage, repair, diving, and towing services to the 6th Fleet. She returned to Norfolk in mid-February 1969 and resumed operations along the eastern seaboard and in the Caribbean, continuing such operations in that area into 1970.
In late January 1970, she steamed out of Little Creek, Va., for a deployment in the Mediterranean. By 18 July, she had returned to normal operations along the Atlantic seaboard and in the Caribbean. Recovery continued in this employment until 4 August 1971, at which time she embarked on her third Mediterranean cruise. Seven months later she returned to Little Creek, Va., and, as of January 1974, has been engaged in normal operations along the east coast since that time.
23 September 2005