USNS Grasp shifts homeport to support Pacific area of operations

US Military Sealift Command rescue and salvage ship USNS Grasp (T-ARS 51) became the newest ship to join the Pacific area of operations, after concluding a homeport shift from Virginia to San Diego.

Grasp arrived in San Diego, Calif., on Tuesday, following an 18-day trip from its former home in Little Creek, Va.

The trip included passage through the Panama Canal and dodging two hurricanes, including Hurricane Michael, the same hurricane that devastated portions of Florida.

“Bringing Grasp from the East Coast to the West Coast was a great experience for me,” said Capt. Harry Sprague, Grasp’s civil service master. “It was a good experience for me as a newer master to get onto a different class of ships from the ones I have been working on. It was also the chance to bring a ship through the Panama Canal that made it so appealing. It’s one of those career moments you want to check the box on.”

Grasp has spent most of its career on the East Coast of the United States, working in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. It is best known as the ship that located the fuselage of the plane flown by John F. Kennedy Jr.

Recently, the decision was made to relocate the ship to the Pacific area of operations to increase salvage capabilities and fleet service in the region. Grasp joins the fleet ocean tug USNS Sioux (T-ATF 171) as the other ship in the MSC fleet service and support class in the area.

“We are happy to be in the great weather of the Pacific and back with all the familiar faces in the AOR,” explained Sprague, who just transferred to Grasp from Sioux. “Being back in PAC makes getting business done a lot easier since I already know the people and the routine. I’m looking forward to getting settled in and into a mission soon.”

Photo: Military Sealift Command rescue and salvage ship USNS Grasp (T-ARS 51) arrives in San Diego for duty in MSC's Pacific area of responsibility