Submarine Tender machine shop pics
My US Navy time was spent aboard the USS HOLLAND AS-32, a repair ship commissioned in 1963 to service "boomers" (SSBN missile boats) although we worked on all other types from time to time.....
I was an electronics tech (ETN2) working on radiation detection and measuring gear, but I went into the machine shop from time to time to have things made or to scrounge materiel.....I'd taken machine shop in high school but the chief in charge wouldn't let me near any of his machines, not even the grinder.....Said something like "you ET's don't know nuthin' 'bout REAL machinery".....Oh well.....
I was very impressed with the shop (and foundry) that took up several thousand square feet of that deck.....The HOLLAND measured 599' long by 83' beam, and the machine shop was, by far, the largest space on the ship.....
The ship was decommissioned in 1996 and now awaits it's fate with the "ghost fleet" in Susuin Bay near Benecia, CA.....A former crewmwmber doing survey work on another vessel in the group took 90 + pics of her recently and even managed to get several of the shop.....About halfway down the pics, past the engine control room, are the machine pics.....No ID's on the pics, but the variety of machinery is interesting.....
Jim or anyone else familiar with Tender ships, out of curiosity does the Navy still use them, and their complete machine shops and foundries in the current fleet or do they just airlift in parts? If they still need Tender ships why mothball them. I would assume that these ships steam with the usual battle fleet of carriers destroyers etc.... to protect them so what is in there to go so obsolete that it is easier to mothball then retrofit? Are the current Tender ships all nuclear now. It seems that shy of some modern control electronics, and radar, plus maybe the addition of some CNC capability to go along with what they have there that that ship in its current state would still be a big viable help to the current fleet would it not? I love the machine shop by the way. Any idea what is happening with all those tools? I would love to have that Lodge & Shipley. I don't know if I would ever have the work to make it really work hard but it is just so beautiful of a machine. Thanks for posting the link.
Still have 'em
The Navy still has tenders for subs as well as other classes of ships.....sure, they can fly in parts if needed in a hurry, but most re-supply is done using less expensive means.....As well as needing a place to do repairs, we had a huge inventory of spare parts and the means to lift machinery and components aboard.....The polaris missles alone weighed tons and the tender was equipped to load, store and work on them.....Check out this site and click on "auxiliary and repair ships".....
Today's ICBM's are much larger than the old polaris and take a bigger ship to accommodate them.....The propulsion system on the HOLLAND was a little different than most.....Six huge opposed-piston fairbanks-morse diesels drove generators to power the ships extensive electrical needs as well as a 15,000 hp electric motor driving a single screw.....Scuttlebutt was that it was not the ideal system, according to the engineering dept.....Nuke drives are very expensive and (I think) using only on combat ships.....
The HOLLAND was decommissioned in 1996 after 33 years of service.....Seems like they could have upgraded and refurbished her, but I learned that applying logic to the way Navy works doesn't make sense.....Won't be like this when I'M dictator!.... <[;-)
Thanks for posting those pictures. I live within a few miles of the Benicia mothball fleet. I heard just this morning that 3 of the ships are being towed to Texas to be scrapped...the rest will likely follow. I will miss driving by those ships. It is quite the sight.
Were those photos taken recently? If mothballed how are those lights powered, LONG extension cords, floating genset? What are the square outlines areas, AC6 AD6 etc. Love the shots.
Well, at least you can be thankful that they're going to Texas and not India.
Originally Posted by Charlie W.
Thanks for posting the pictures. Will the Navy take the machines off the ship or will they stay with it? A little disconcerting to see the rust on the vertical lathe.
The pics were apparently taken by a Mr McDermott who was doing surveys to see what parts/equip. could be used on the USS HORNET museum in Alameda Ca....I THINK he is a former HOLLAND crewmwmber, so the chance to go aboard her with a camera was a golden opportunity.....The statement at the beginning of the pics said he was aboard as late as March, 2009, so I would guess the pics may be recent.....
Tom, I don't have a clue what all the small marked rectangles are about (AC6, AD6, etc).....I'm pretty sure the high, square area containing the markings is the missile access/storage area, but I can't be sure.....After all, I left the ship in 1966!....Memory is a fickle thing after all these years.....
Kyle,don't know what they'll be doing with the machinery.....The Pres. of our AS-32 assocciation and others are working to get the Navy to donate the ship to be turned into a museum/memorial, possibly stationed in Mobile Bay or in Pascagoula Miss., where it was built.....It's possible they'd leave the machines and other ships equipment on board in that case.....
Last edited by goldiver; 01-07-2010 at 11:36 PM.
Reason: content correction
Thanks goldiver for posting this thread. While it's sad to see the ship falling in dis-repair I was supprised at how clean she was on the inside. Like the crew is on a coffee break and will be back right soon.
I love the points in the over head gantery. That has got to be the ultimate system for a basment - small head room shop to copy. The maked rectangles are a std decontamination scratching check pattern. Each scratching - sample is tied to a given area. Dead quick and easy to the go back and decontaminate if needed. Probaly not a risk of radiation but more like things like PCBs there cheecking for. I Know electronics of that era was full of allsorts of nastys!
AS34 Canopus Sub Tender
Thanks for the memories. I was stationed on AS34 ( sister ship of the Simon Lake ) from Jan 66 to Oct 67 and remember walking thru the machine shop many times but never knew any MM's and wasn't interested in the machines at the time. I talked to the pres. of our association the other day and he is sending my photos that he has of the shop. I'll post them when they arrive. The Canopus is in the scrap yard in Scotland, being cut up as I write. USNR-RET PO1 Bob M.
Another Old Sailor From the Ghost Fleet
Those were some great pictures. I'm supprised that the machine shop is in such good shape after sitting without any maintenance for so many years. I served aboard the USS Sperry, (AS-12) a much older Piedmont class submarine tender, which is also at anchor with the ghost fleet in Benecia.
I worked in the periscope shop, but I often helped work with the MM's in the machine shop. I loved to use the machine tools, and it was a great learning experience making parts for fast attack subs. All the machine tools were manual machines, some of them huge; CNC was un heard of!
I was aboard the Sperry from '79 until she went out of comission in '82. I used the money that I'd saved in the service to go to college and learn mechanical engineering. Now I run two machine shops on two different University campuses. That Navy experience really pays off. Any young guy or gal that wants to join the service, and learn machine shop, the Navy has the best resources in that area of all the armed services.
As for the adventures on the high seas - well submarine tenders, (and destroyer tenders), don't leave port all that often. They're basically a floating machine shop, and store house. It would be dangerous, and in a storm, almost impossible to machine anything while you were underway. All the metal stock and everything else had to be tied down so it wouldn't start shifting across the deck as we rode the waves.
We typically went to sea about twice a year, and then only for a week or so at a time. We had some adventures, but my ship was so old that she had been in World War II,(the hull and superstructure were steel, but the weather decks were teak!), so I think that the ship saw alot more adventures that the few that I was there for.
Those were good times; riding out Pacific storms, and getting hit by waves so hard that they wash-boarded in the whole fantail! We had liberty in ports all up and down the west coast; those were great days. But now the "mothball fleet" is being towed out to scrap yard, to meet its fate with the cutting torch and the hammer.
I'm not sad though, because I know that dismantling those old ships will provide lots of jobs to folks that need them. And once they are steel again, I know that parts of those old ships will become new ships, that will carry the next generation of sailors out to adventures on the wide open seas.
Wish I could get my hands on the Monarch Lathes.
Great pictures thanks.
Mark, MM don't run the machine shops. MR's are the Navy's machinist. MM's and BT's are mostly down in the engine room. I've noticed a few posts when people are talking about Navy machinist they think it is the machinist mate but it is machinery repairman (MR). I know this because I was one from 1975-1979.
You are right, most of my pals onboard were machinery repairmen. It had been so long that I'd forgot the difference between MR's and MM's. I was an OM (opticalman), petty officer 2nd class.
Whenever we were underway, I serve down in either the foward or after engine room. I remember that we had four huge diesel engines in each engine room that drove generators which powered the electric motors that turned the reduction gears which powered both of the propeller shafts. I think that they were inline 8's There was a smaller 6 cylinder diesel engine in each engine room which turned an alternator to suppoy electrical power to the ship. One of the enginmen once told me that all ten of the engines aboard had 14 inch diameter pistons, and that seemed to be about right.
Electromotive propulsion isn't very efficient, and at flank speed we could only do 13 knots. With all of the engines burning bunker oil as fast as she could go, we'd have to break out a fire party and hose down the stacks as the soot and grime would burn out, and send flames shooting out the stacks! That ship was from a 1930's design, and if she had been just 20 years older, she probably would have run on coal!
It was a real juxtaposition - fixing nuclear submarines from a ship so old.
Thanks for the link, goldiver. I enjoyed looking at the photos. Where is the Holland in relation to the Iowa? I plan on driving down to Oakland in the spring and I was going to stop and look at the fleet on my way there.
Thanks to all, glad you liked the pics.....
Mechanist:….We were tied up stern end to the pier except for one day per month when we would sail out and play “target” for the sub we had just done work on…..That qualified us for “sea duty pay”, even tho we out less than 24 hours…..Don’t know how they do it now, but the extra $$$ worked just fine for us young, rowdy, thirsty sailors…..The sub would fire a practice (we prayed!) torpedo at us for their training…..You haven’t lived until you see that eerie whitish vapor track from the “fish” heading straight for you at 40+ knots…..Dummy fish or not, the pucker factor went up a notch…..The drama continued because the Russians always had one or more “fishing trawlers” working in the area, allegedly to try and grab a torpedo after it ran out of fuel and bobbed to the surface…..The race was on between Ivan and our recovery boat, usually an overpowered Chris-Craft twin with a sloping stern, divers and recovery winches, to grab the fish…..Even tho it was a “dummy” the fish had secret gear within…..Our boat had the inside on where the fish would pop up, so we always won…..
You might ask “what if the russkies got to it first”…..I had that question answered by the captain of the WOODROW WILSON, SSBN 624…..After we finished work on 624 we had a little slack time in our shop…..W W was going on a 3-day sea trial due to new gear being installed, with a few civilian tech reps along to get everything “tweaked’ properly…..I mentioned to my division officer how I’d like to ride with a boat on sea trials in the past…..Trials were usuall a short one-day affair, but this was more complex with all the new stuff…..He ran the paperwork thru and, Shazam, there I was on board W W…..No bunks were available for me, so I had to bring my matterss aboard and sleep in “Sherwood forest”, i.e., the missle tube area…..
I was allowed in the control room to observe exercises while they were doing torpedo testing with the tender as the target…..During a lull I told the captian that I normally worked in CIC (combat information center) while under way, looking with radar for him to try and spot the periscope…..He admitted to being spotted by radar in the past by the tender and had to keep periscope exposure to a minimum…..I then stuck it out and asked him what would be done if Ivan got to it first…..Mind you, here’s a somewhat out-of line 2nd class PO asking a full commander about procedure…..He could have said “none of your business sailor” and that would have been that…..Instead he slowly turned and looked me in the eye and said that the sail of the boat might just “accidently” cut some trawler hull, or words to that effect…..He followed up with somewhat of a murmur, “nobody gets one of my fish”…..I believed him…..
Hesstool;….Don’t know where in relation the IOWA is in relation to HOLLAND, in fact, I couldn’t even discern which of the ships in the pic is the HOLLLAND…..Just not enough in view to distinguish which is which…..Question, is the IOWA here in CA, I thought it was in Bremmerton, WA?....
The missle deck on the upper level is identified by the bolted round hatches.
Originally Posted by goldiver
The interior is shown with stantions and cables surrounding the holes.
I was stationed on her in Dec. 82 and left after Jan 85. I was an MT servicing and moving ICBM's.
Thank you very much for posting these pictures. I fondly remember my time on the USS Holland. I made the cover of "All Hands" magazine while we were in dry dock over in Scotland.
Hard to believe she will be gone soon.
I spent 2 years on Canopus AS34 and 3 on the Simon Lake AS33. I think I worked with every machine in the shop at one time or another. Even the shaper just to try something different. I was on the decom crew of the Canopus. I think most machines were still there when it was towed to Norfolk.
ditto_95, good to hear from a HOLLAND shipmate.....You were on after I was long gone.....If you are so inclined I'd love to hear about some of your times on AS-32.....Send me a PM so we don't bore these folks too much.....
The missile technology always fascinated me, but we weren't even supposed to talk to the MT's about their job.....
P.S. Almost forgot, here's a link the HOLLAND association, were trying to get her saved as a museum/memorial.....
Last edited by goldiver; 02-28-2010 at 12:31 PM.
Reason: add info