Naval History and Heritage Command

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Salvor II (T-ARS-52)

1986–

The second U.S. Navy ship named Salvor: to take hold of grab; as in to hold for rescue or salvage.

II

(T-ARS-52: displacement 3,317; length 255'; beam 51'; draft 17'; speed 15 knots; complement 99; armament 2 .50 caliber machine guns; class Safeguard)

The second Salvor (T-ARS-52) was laid down on 16 September 1983 at Sturgeon Bay, Wisc., by Peterson Builders, Inc.; launched on 8 December 1984; sponsored by Mrs. Diana M. Walters, wife of Vice Adm. Robert L. Walters, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Surface Warfare); and was commissioned on 15 November 1986, Lt. Cmdr. Robert A. Reish in command.

During World War II, a Japanese kaiten (a manned torpedo fired by either submarine I-47 or I-36) sank U.S. oiler Mississinewa (AO-59) at Ulithi (Micronesia), near 10°06'N, 139°43'E.30, on 20 November 1944. The Federated States of Micronesia subsequently complained that the ongoing ravages of the weather weakened the wreck and that she leaked oil. Consequently, in late 2001 the U.S. Navy led a survey dive to determine her status and the potential for environmental damage, which confirmed the urgency of attempting to recover her cargo fuel. Salvor, with Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 1 Detachment 5, embarked, removed all of the accessible oil, amounting to nearly two million US gallons (7,600 m3), from 13 January–26 February 2003. The ship subsequently received the Meritorious Unit Commendation for her efforts to avert “a major ecological disaster,” and ensuring “the preservation of hundreds of square miles of pristine reef, fishing grounds, and the entire eco-system of Ulithi Atoll.” In addition, her sailors provided humanitarian assistance to the people of Ulithi, and built a memorial to the men who died on board Mississinewa.

Also during World War II, U.S. submarine Lagarto (SS-371) sank in the Gulf of Siam (Thailand), most likely as a result of action with Japanese minelayer Hatsutaka, near 07°55'N, 102°00'E, on 3 May 1945. During May 2005, a group of civilian deep-sea divers discovered what they believed to be her wreck. The following summer, Salvor took part in Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2006, an annual series of bilateral maritime training exercises between the United States and six Southeast Asia nations designed to build relationships and enhance the operational readiness of the participating forces. During the Thailand phase of CARAT 2006, divers from Salvor dove for six-days on the wreck and positively identified her as Lagarto, thus determining the final resting place of her crewmen.

Salvor II (T-ARS-52) 1986-060614-N-0000S-002
Chief Navy Diver Jon Sommers, assigned to Salvor, searches for an identifying marker on the forward capstan of what is believed to be submarine Lagarto (SS-371), 14 June 2006. The divers send photographs and video of the submarine to the Naval Historical Center (subsequently redesignated the Naval History and Heritage Command) in Washington for further analysis. (Chief Navy Diver Sommers, U.S. Navy Photograph 060614-N-0000S-002, Navy NewsStand)
Salvor II (T-ARS-52) 1986-060616-N-0000M-001
Divers from Salvor place a plaque on the aft capstan of Lagarto’s wreckage in the Gulf of Thailand in this screen grab of video, 16 June 2006. (Senior Chief Navy Diver Michael Moser, U.S. Navy Photograph 060616-N-0000M-001, Navy NewsStand)
Salvor II (T-ARS-52) 1986-060617-N-3483C-004
Sailors on board Salvor stand at parade rest during a memorial at sea, held on 17 June 2006, honoring the 86 souls on board Lagarto, sunk during World War II. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Robert Cole, U.S. Navy Photograph 060617-N-3483C-004, Navy NewsStand)
Salvor II (T-ARS-52) 1986-060617-N-3483C-002
Sailors later place this wreath -- displayed during the memorial service -- in the ocean above the submarine’s resting site, 17 June 2006. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Robert Cole, U.S. Navy Photograph 060617-N-3483C-002, Navy NewsStand)
Salvor II (T-ARS-52) 1986-061002-N-4965F-006
Sailors man Salvor’s rails as she returns to Pearl Harbor, 2 October 2006. (Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class James E. Foehl, U.S. Navy Photograph 061002-N-4965F-006, Navy NewsStand)
Salvor II (T-ARS-52) 1986-061002-N-4965F-001
A tug greets Salvor as she returns home to Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Hi., following her five-month deployment to Southeast Asia in support of CARAT 2006, 2 October 2006. (Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class James E. Foehl, U.S. Navy Photograph 061002-N-4965F-001, Navy NewsStand)

Detailed history pending.

Mark L. Evans

8 December 2015

Published:Mon Jan 11 15:35:13 EST 2016