ARS 53
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October 31, 1999 USS Grapple departed Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek to assist in rescue and recovery efforts following the crash of Egypt Air Flight 990 off the coast of Nantucket, Mass.

November 15, The rescue and salvage ship ARS 53 returned to pier 2 at Naval Station Newport in Newport, R.I., after successfully recovering the cockpit voice recorder from the crash and recovery site of Egypt Air Flight 990. Numerous U.S. Navy, Coast Guard and other governmental agencies had been involved in the effort of recovering the flight data and cockpit voice recorders to assist the NTSB in determining the cause of the crash.

February 18, 2003 USS Grapple departed homeport for a scheduled underway period.

June 19, The Grapple will now return to Little Creek June 27, after supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom in the northern Persian Gulf. The ship was originally scheduled to return June 24.

March 4, 2005 In a combined effort with five other commands, Navy divers aboard the Grapple recovered a downed MH-53E Sea Dragon’s AN/AQS-14A sonar system Feb. 14 from the ocean floor about 30 miles off the coast of Virginia. After two weeks of careful planning, ARS 53 and its combined crew arrived on scene on a recovery mission, after the helicopter, assigned to HM-14, went down Jan. 25 during a routine training mission. All eight people aboard survived the crash.

August 31, USS Grapple departed Little Creek to head for the Gulf of Mexico to support relief operations along the U.S. Gulf Coast following widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina.

September 22, The salvage and rescue ship worked most of September to open critical shipping lanes in Mobile Bay in support of Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts. ARS 53 returned to homeport Oct. 5.

July 13, 2006 USS Grapple was decommissioned and transferred to Military Sealift Command (MSC) in a ceremony at NAB Little Creek after completing 20 years of accomplished service. At the ceremony, Lt. Cmdr. Kevin M. Brand, Grapple's last commanding officer, turned over command to Capt. Curtis Smith, a seasoned civilian mariner who has commanded almost 20 ships in his 27-year career with MSC. The ship will continue to complete salvage and recovery missions as USNS Grapple (T-ARS 53). It will house only 30 crew members, as opposed to the previous 100, and will carry a small detachment of Navy divers. Grapple completed her last deployment in July 2004 after spending five months in the Mediterranean Sea, in support of the global war on terrorism and conducting 12 port visits in six different countries.