United States Navy

Submarine Tenders

USS Falcon

USS Falcon

950 Built / Launched ? / 9/7/1918
Length 187" 10" Built By Gas Engine and Power Co.,
and C. L. Seabury Co.,
Morris Heights, N.Y.
Beam 35'6 Class Lapwing
Draft 112' 7" Commisioned
Speed (rated) 14.0kts Decommissioned 6/18/1946
Compliment 78 Disposition Sold
The third Falcon (No. 28) was launched 7 September 1918 by Gas Engine and Power Co., and C. L. Seabury Co., Morris Heights, N.Y.; sponsored by Mrs. W. J. Parslow; and commissioned 12 November 1918, Lieutenant B. E. Rigg in command. She was reclassified ASR-2 on 22 January 1936.

From December 1918 to May 1919, Falcon served on temporary duty in the 4th Naval District as a lightship. After towing targets and various craft along the east coast, an occupation with salvage duty which was to be her major employment for many years, she sailed from New York 8 August 1919 for Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland. For 2 months she aided in clearing the North Sea of the vast number of mines laid there in World War I, returning to Charleston, S.C., 28 November 1919.

Falcon made a second voyage to European waters between March and August 1920, visiting Rosyth, Scotland, and Brest, France, and returning by way of the Azores with a captured German submarine in tow for the Canal Zone. Back at Hampton Roads 18 October 1920, she returned to towing, salvage, and transport duty along the east coast. After conducting salvage operations on S-5 (SS-110) through the summer of 1921, she was assigned permanently to submarine salvage work, based at New London. She continued to perform occasional towing duty, and from time to time sailed to the Caribbean on both salvage and towing duty.

Falcon, testing the pontoons that were to raise the S-51 (SS-162)
In 1925, Falcon joined the Control force for operations in the Canal Zone, along the west coast, and in the Hawaiian Islands. She returned to home waters in September and began her part in the salvage operations on S-51 (SS-162), in which she joined that fall and the next spring. After the submarine was raised through determined and ingenious efforts, it was Falcon who towed her to New York in July 1926, providing air pressure for the pontoons supporting the submarine, as well as her compartments.

Acting as tender as well as salvage ship for submarines, Falcon accompanied them to fleet exercises in waters from Maine to the Canal Zone, and conducted many operations to develop rescue techniques, as well as training divers. She stood by during deep submergence runs and other tests of new submarines, and played an important role in raising Squalus (SS-192) in the summer of 1939, and in the rescue operations on O-9 (SS-70) in June 1940. Throughout World War II, aging but still able, Falcon sailed out of New London and Portsmouth N.H., on salvage, towing, and experimental operations.
Falcon conducting tests with reconditioned S-4. A pontoon is being placed to test efficacy of newly designed Lifting rings.
When at New London, she usually served as flagship for commander, Submarine Force, Atlantic Fleet. Her only deployment from New England waters during the war came between July and October 1943, when she conducted diving operations and laid moorings in the anchorage at Argentia, Newfoundland. One of her most important activities during the war was training divers, search, salvage, and rescue workers to man newer submarine rescue ships. Falcon was decommissioned at Boston 18 June 1946, and sold 12 March 1947.

History from the Dictionary of American Fighting Ships.

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