USS RECLAIMER (ARS-42)
Reclaimer (ARS-42) was laid down 10 November 1944 by Basalt Rock Co.
Calif.; launched 23 June 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Daniel Clark
Jr.; and commissioned 20 December 1945
Lt. D. A. Bendinelli in command.
After shakedown off San Pedro
Reclaimer steamed to Pearl Harbor where she operated until assigned to Joint Task Force 1
arriving at Bikini on 1 June 1946. There she served as salvage vessel and was contaminated during the Operation Crossroads atomic tests
but received final radiological clearance on 13 January 1947. She returned to Pearl Harbor in September 1946 and to the west coast in October where she remained until decommissioned 23 June 1947. She was assigned to the Pacific Reserve Fleet and berthed at San Diego.
Reclaimer recommissioned on 1 December 1950 for service in the Korean conflict and
after shakedown off San Diego towed AP-23 to Hawaii. Arriving at Pearl Harbor on 12 February 1951
she then proceeded on across the Pacific touched at Majuro and Guam
and reached Sasebo
Japan 29 April.
On 8 May Reclaimer got underway to aid SS Muhlenberg Victory
grounded on Uku Shima
an island near Sasebo. With the aid of Grasp (ARS-24)
she refloated the ship a week later and on 27 May towed YO-179 to Pusan
Korea. She then steamed to Wonsan for patrol duties between that port and Songjin. In mid-June
she escorted Walke (DD-723)
damaged by a mine
to Sasebo. Six days later
she returned to Pusan to tow the burning merchantman Plymouth Victory
back to Sasebo where the fire was extinguished. During August Reclaimer assisted in minesweeping and laid buoys in Wonsan Harbor. On 7 September
she refloated the beached Japanese LST Q 081 at Kangnung
Korea. On 10 October
with Yuma (ATF-94)
she towed the Royal Navy's hospital ship Mairne which had lost a propeller
on a westward passage through the crowded and narrow Shimonoseki Straits. This was the only hospital ship supporting U.N. forces at that time.
On 22 January 1952
she departed Yokosuka to return to her homeport
where she remained until 21 October. Returning to WestPae with YC 104 in tow
Reclaimer reached Sasebo on 17 November. On 2 December she arrived at Sokeho Hang
to rescue two LST's aground in heavy seas. With one of the LST's in tow she reached Sasebo on 18 December. After brief duty with the Wonsan blockade force
Reclaimer took SS Gulf Haven in tow while she was foundering in a typhoon
and successfully brought her to Japan.
Reclaimer continued to operate in Japan and Korea until returning to San Diego on 25 July 1953. For the next 3 months she operated on the west coast
steaming back to Pearl Harbor in late October. In March 1954
she headed southwest to the Marshalls for salvage work during Operation "Castle"
the hydrogen bomb test series at Bikini. Departing Bikini 4 May she continued on to Japan. Through the summer she operated in Japanese and Korean waters
during September and October
stood by off French Indochina while French and American ships
in Operation Passage to Freedom
evacuated refugees from what was to become North Vietnam.
Returning to the United States
Reclaimer spent the first 6 months of 1955 operating off the west coast
then deployed to the Far East. During early 1956
she operated in the Hawaiian Islands
reaching Yokosuka 30 September. She returned to Pearl Harbor 12 February 1957.
After freeing the grounded LST Chittenden County from Kauai
she again conducted salvage operations in the Far East 12 July to 30 November. Returning to Pearl Harbor she began a 2-month tour on the west coast in February 1958 then
following further services at Hawaii
again set sail for a 4 month deployment to WestPac. She returned to Pearl Harbor in August and to the west coast in February 1959
but was back at Pearl after only a month. In June she deployed to WestPac
returning in September.
Reclaimer spent early 1960 in the Hawaiian area
and installed underwater cables near Midway to detect missiles fired into the area. Then she steamed for Yokosuka 6 September. Returning to Pearl Harbor 21 December
she operated in the Hawaiian Islands until sailing for the Far East 26 June. Back at Pearl Harbor in November
Reclaimer undertook several assignments.
Following an overhaul
Reclaimer steamed in May 1962 for Christmas Island and another nuclear test (Operation Domonic)where she laid target moors and placed target rafts for the next 2 months. Arriving at Yokosuka 6 October Reclaimer operated in the Far East until she returned to Hawaii early in 1963 and
with the exception of salvaging MV Shokafu at Pago Pago
operated there throughout the rest of the year.
Steaming back to Japan in January 1964
Reclaimer operated there and off Korea
and Taiwan before proceeding to Saigon to salvage USNS Card (T-AKV-40)
sunk up to her main deck in Saigon Harbor by Viet Gong mines. With Tawakoni (ATF-114)
Reclaimer refloated Card and towed her to the Philippines
then returned to Pearl Harbor on 22 June and remained there for the rest of 1964.
In 1965 Reclaimer participated in "Market time" operations off Vietnam for 2 months
salvaged LST-559 in Danang Harbor
and performed various towing assignments
before returning to Pearl Harbor in July. In January 1966
she was off for WestPac again
and while so deployed was called on for three major salvage operations and for support in amphibious Operation Jackstay in rivers of the Rung Sat Special Zone. Reclaimer participated in the successful salvage of the Esso Tanker SS Sea Raven off the beach of Chu Lai. Then
she performed similar operations for merchantmen grounded off northern Australia. She returned to Pearl Harbor on 29 August 1966 and on 9 November was underway for Oregon. She returned from the west coast to Pearl Harbor a month later.
In March 1967 Reclaimer rescued SS Norbega
dead in the water west of Midway
before deploying to WestPac in April. In June she laid a special radar reflecting buoy in the Gulf of Tonkin to aid SAR patrol ships in navigation. She continued operations off Taiwan and Vietnam
including the salvage of South Vietnamese LSM-406 aground at Phan Thiet
until returning to Pearl Harbor at the end of 1967.
After spending the first half of 1968 in Pearl Harbor Reclaimer arrived at Danang
on 29 August for standby salvage duty. In September she salvaged LCV1616 and in October LCU-1676. Returning to the westcoast in mid-1969
she deployed to WestPac again at the end of the year and operated off Vietnam for the whole of 1970
entering Pearl Harbor
17 March 1971. At Pearl Harbor Reclaimer underwent regular overhaul and
subsequent to overhaul
engaged in salvage and refresher training. In February 1972
she was re-deployed to WestPac
returning to Hawaii in late August. She remained in the Pearl Harbor area throughout 1972 and the first six months of 1973. In July 1973
she steamed westward again for deployment
spending the last six months of 1973 in the western Pacific. As of late January 1974
Reclaimer is making the passage from Apra
to Pearl Harbor.
Reclaimer earned six battle stars for Korean War service and one battle star for Vietnam.
[Note: The above USS RECLAIMER (ARS-42) history may or may not contain text provided by crew members of the USS RECLAIMER (ARS-42) or by other non-crew members and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]