Friday, July 20, 2007

USS Florikan (ASR 9)

I served the empire when I was a very young man. The bulk of that military service was on the USS Florikan (ASR 9). The above linked site has some good photos, allows registration of when you were aboard, and to see others serving that same period. I recognized two names and left a message for one. The Florikan was a submarine rescue ship, but its primary functions were diving and salvage. Despite Navy divers being the best in the world, I was witness to a fatality, and two divers suffering the 'bends'—one of those cases debilitating. The diver killed in a dive accident had a son just a few years younger than my closest friends and I. His father would bring him aboard when he had weekend duty, and we would hang out with him since our age gap was neglible. Those heady days of being out to sea, the anecdotes, and everything else deserves eventual commitment to prose.

I also have some amazing photographs of the USS Florikan anchored just off Catalina Island. We would then serve as an offshore mooring for subs (they don't have the best anchoring abilities) and then everyone would use our boats for Avalon shore leave. The photographs feature the last commissioned diesel electric submarine lashed to one side and a brand new Los Angeles class nuclear attack boat along our other. I don't remember the names of the subs (it's been decades). I do remember it was poignant for the 'bubble-heads' (submariners), seeing that juxtaposition of old and new. I also have a photo of a good friend named Fernando Alfonso and my self with Diamond Head behind us as we sailed to our new home port in Pearl Harbor from our previous one of San Diego (alternatively 32nd Street and Point Loma). That photo was right after I got my shiny Surface Warfare pin (ESWS). I need to scan those photos, and place them online.

2007-07-24: More Florikan information: USS Florikan (ASR 9) some early history (looks like this link is gone now).

2010-04-12 I finally did get around to scanning and posting photos. Was also happy to see former shipmates making comments here as well.

2011-01-06 Please read the comments to learn about the USS Florikan's current status.

USS Florikan (ASR 9) off Avalon Harbor 1984

USS Florikan (ASR 9) off Avalon Harbor 1984

Alphonso and I off Diamond Head, Oahu, Nov 1985 USS Florikan (ASR 9)\



Anonymous said...

I to was aboard during thoes times.Some good memories on the flo. Just sind up on the crew list. Don"t know if its me or not but my son would come aboard when i had duty. I remember a crew member named Alfonso. remember the home port change. Lost a friend during the dive accident. Hope to hear from anyone who served onboard 82-86

Dave Sprague said...

Robert, Its great to see someone else from the Florikan (Anonymous, I'm sure I'd remember you as well!).
I also signed up on FLo's Crew List (over a year ago) and was checking in today. Rob, you were "radical" back then (Remember saying, "This is Anarchy!"?) LOL. Anyway, this is ET2 Dave Sprague. You guys will find my face book information on the list. I hope to hear from all who visit Flo's site and your blog. Take care in your endeavors Rob. Dave

Anonymous said...

See Article below...
Taking Alameda ferry to Giants game Monday night 8/9/10 and looking at this thing docked next to ferry terminal. 15minutes later we passed under tow headed out to SF bay. Now I know were it was going. Figured it was probably salvage.
ps, thanks for your service guys.

By Jessica A. York
(Vallejo) Times-Herald
Posted: 08/12/2010 04:59:54 PM PDT
Updated: 08/12/2010 06:06:11 PM PDT

(Vallejo) Times-Herald

A Texas ship-recycling company will claim the 11th vessel to depart the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet in the past year as part of a contract awarded last month.

The Florikan, a former submarine rescue ship, was towed for hull cleaning in late July to the Alameda-based Bay Ship and Yacht Co. It left Tuesday for Texas, the company said.

The Florikan was the 11th "Mothball Fleet" ship to leave Suisun Bay since October. It was built during World War II in Oakland, according to a Maritime Administration news release. The ship was struck from the Naval Register in 1991, when it joined the rusting fleet of ships in Suisun Bay.

The Maritime Administration's ship-recycling contract to the Brownsville, Texas-based Marine Metals is worth nearly $900,000, according to the contract award.

Vessels scheduled to leave the fleet next include the American Racer, in late September, the American Reliance, also in late September, the Hess, in October, the Bay, in October, and the Dawn, in January.

The newest contract award comes as Allied Recycling Defense is receiving final permit approval to begin dredging the Mare Island Strait, allowing it to bid for a federal ship disposal contracts and maybe open a shipyard on Mare Island.

Robert D. Skeels * rdsathene said...

The link for the above comment is

PNC(SW) Joe Lynn said...

I served onboard the Flo boat from Feb 1, 2007 to Oct 88. Served with this wonderful ship and crew which helped my Naval career. I earned my ESWS on her and also re-enlisted on her in Nov 95 when she was sitting off Ford Island in the moth ball side prior to deploying to the middle east on the USS John S. McCain (DDG 56). Crunching on her deck and seeing her in the rusted condition was something never tolerated when she was active duty. Thank you for posting pictures of her. PNC(SW) Joe Lynn, Ship's Office.

Unknown said...

Fair winds Salvors. I was a QM1 aboard the Florikan from 81 till her move to Hawaii. Upon arrival, and before entering the No Ka Oi shipyard, I was transferred to the USS Reclaimer picked up Chief after a few more years I retired in 2002. Still working for the Navy of sorts teaching high school NJROTC. I look back at my time on the Florikan as a high lite of my career. If you know the story of the Florikan, her design, her past missions, until her demise in Texas, we were a part of Naval history.

Anonymous said...

I was TAD from Elk River during the dives when MM1 Miller was killed. To call his death an accident is a travesty. Pure incompetence is what caused his death.

Unknown said...

My name is Brett Phillips and I was a Cook on board the Flo!!! Quite the experience, I made cooking my life's career after leaving the military!!! I live in Boise, Idaho...

Unknown said...

Hey Skittles, this is your old friend Brett Phillips I was the Cook on board the Flo!!! Holler!!!

Robert D. Skeels * rdsathene said...

Glad to hear from you Brett Phillips. I'm rdsathene on all social media. From there you should be able to track me down fairly easily.