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AS-39 Emory Land

USS EMORY S. LAND is the first of the Navy's newest class of submarine tender, designed to support the Los Angeles Class attack submarine. The Emory Land class is designed and fitted to accommodate attack submarines, furnishing maintenance and logistic support. Up to four SSNs can be supported alongside simultaneously. Submarine tenders are the largest of the active auxiliaries. Their crews are made up mostly technicians and repair personnel. The AS-39 class is a modernized version of the AS-36 class. hese ships can be recognized by the weather deck passage which extends along the aft half of the ship, but are otherwise virtually indistinguishable from the AS-36 class. They have extensive maintenance shops for submarine systems and equipment as well as weapons and provision storage. They are equipped with a flight deck capable of operating all Navy helos.

The ship's length is 643 ft and 8 in and the beam is 85 ft. The full load displacement is 23,000 tons and full load draft is 26 ft. The area of main deck is over 1 acre. Two boilers provide 20,000-shaft horsepower and gives the ship a top speed of 21 knots. The crew strength is about 1200 personnel. The ship contains 13 decks and 913 individual spaces. To construct a ship the size of the EMORY S. LAND, 12,500 tons of steel were required, along with 142 miles of electric cable and 30 miles of piping.

The ships provide food, electricity, water, consumable, spare parts, medical, dental, disbursing, mail, legal services, ordnance, and any parts or equipment repair that the submarine may require. To accomplish this, the ships have a physical plant similar to that of a small town, including 53 different specialized shops. The ships are a mobile support facility with the capability of tending 12 nuclear-powered submarines simultaneously. The ship's capabilities include: nuclear system repair and testing, electrical and electronic repair, hull repair, sheet metal and steel work, pipe fabrication, foundry, woodworking, underwater diving and rescue, and hazardous material management. Various services are available to all submarines moored alongside including steam, diesel fuel, water, and electricity. The ship is capable of handling and storing the Navy's most modern tactical submarine launched weapons including: MK 48 ADCAP torpedoes, mines and Tomahawk Cruise Missiles. They provide living quarters for more than 1500 people and is equipped with full medical and dental facilities, laundry and dry cleaning plants, data processing equipment and large storage areas for refrigerated and dry cargo food. Cranes, elevators and conveyors provide movement of material on and off the ship as well as between decks.

This class of ships was especially designed to tend the nuclear-powered SSN 668 LOS ANGELES class attack submarines, and have proven their versatility by providing support to the deactivated Submarine Squadron FOUR, which included ten SSN 637 class nuclear attack submarines, one submarine rescue vessel, and a torpedo recovery vessel; and Submarine Squadron EIGHTEEN which included SSBN 640 class fleet ballistic missile submarines.

In September 1980, EMORY S. LAND deployed to the Pacific Fleet to provide services to the Indian Ocean Battle Group. In July 1986, EMORY S. LAND embarked as the Officer in Tactical Command of four United States ships and five foreign ships in transit from the Virginia Capes operating area to the New York Harbor where it participated in the International Naval Review and Fourth of July Statue of Liberty Rededication ceremonies. In August 1987, EMORY S. LAND operated as the tactical and communications platform for Submarine Squadron EIGHT and Submarine Squadron SIX.

In 1988, EMORY S. LAND was underway and deployed for 182 days. During the deployment the ship steamed 26,011 nautical miles and circumnavigated the world. Port visits included Lisbon, Portugal; Naples, Italy, Port Said, Egypt; Muscat, Oman; Fremantle, Australia; and Rodman, Panama. During its 92 days anchored in the North Arabian Sea, it tended the surface combatants of Joint Task Force Middle East and Carrier Battle Group operating in the North Arabian Sea. In July 1993, EMORY S. LAND served as the Commander, Submarine Group TWO flagship during a port visit to Boston, and was the host ship for a visit by the Commanding-in-Chief, Russian Northern Fleet and three visiting Russian ships.

USS Frank Cable (AS 40) was built by Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company, Seattle, WA. The ship was christened on January 14, 1978 by Mrs. Rose A. Michaelis, wife of Admiral F. H. Michaelis, then Chief of Naval Material. FRANK CABLE was officially commissioned a ship of the United States Navy on February 5, 1980. Frank Cable is the second of three ships in the Emory S. Land class, providing mobile support to surface ships and submarines. Frank Cable was especially designed to tend the nuclear-powered Los Angeles (SSN 688) class attack submarines.

The ship spent 1980 until 1996 as the repair ship for COMSUBRON's FOUR and EIGHTEEN in Charleston, South Carolina, tending Sturgeon (637) class attack submarines and Benjamin Franklin (SSBN 640) class ballistic missile submarines.

Frank Cable began decommissioning in 1996, but then was reactivated and refitted to replace USS Holland (AS 32) in the Western Pacific as Commander Seventh Fleet's mobile repair and support platform. Frank Cable (AS 40) proved its versatility when it changed homeport to Agaña, Guam, where it is the sole mobile-support platform for all SEVENTH Fleet ships and submarines. Since arriving in Guam, Frank Cable has visited many Western Pacific ports in support of U.S. forces. In 1997, Frank Cable was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation. During the same year, the ship was heavily involved with the rescue and recovery efforts following the Korean Airline Flight 801 crash on Guam, and also in the recovery and clean-up efforts following Super Typhoon Paka. From 1980 to 1999, Frank Cable garnered many awards as a unit of both the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific Fleets, including three Meritorious Unit Commendations, seven Battle Efficiency "E" awards and three Golden Anchor Awards.

USS Frank Cable worked on USS Kamehameha (SSN 642) for four days during a ten-day upkeep in Yokosuka, Japan in November, 1999. The next time Kamehameha was scheduled for repairs was February 2000, when they return to their homeport of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; meaning the four days the Cable had were imperative. Cable's extensive repair department replaced and fixed various parts of the sub, including replacing the main engine bearing and fixing the dry deck shelters, a job special to Kamehameha because she is the only ship in existence to have two of these shelters. Cable Sailors performed extensive electrical and upholstery work as well. The repairs were essential as the ship prepares to participate in the SEVENTH Fleet exercise, Foal Eagle '99.

In April 1999, the submarine tender USS EMORY S. LAND (AS-39) changed its homeport from Norfolk to the Mediterranean theater of operations. Sixty-two Naval Reservists augmented the ship's company for the 17-day trans-Atlantic crossing that included a brief port call in Rota, Spain. The Reservists, representing 31 units drilling from Maine to California, were assigned by rating or civilian skills to six of the LAND's departments. They assisted in preparing the LAND for relieving the USS SIMON LAKE (AS-33) and cross-decking the commander and staff of SUBMARINE SQUADRON 22. At its new homeport the LAND supplies and repairs submarines deployed to the Med.

Although Land continues to service attack submarines operating in the Med, the men and women onboard now also support surface ships and cover the North Atlantic and the Arabian Gulf by sending flyaway teams (FATs) or deploying directly.

Nonetheless, Land's total manning is down from over 1,700 to less than 1,200 personnel, with most cuts in the Repair Department. As a result, maintenance that requires specialists no longer onboard now means bringing in shipyard workers and technicians from outside organizations to get these jobs done with Land's equipment and support. Although our people can maintain electronic equipment including sonar, radar, and communication gear, as well as repair submarine primary-propulsion and surface ship gas-turbine systems, their work on TLAM and the MK-48 torpedo has been reduced primarily to launcher-system maintenance.

That said, Land can rebuild, rewind, repack, or replace most secondary or auxiliary components on submarines and surface ships. The Supply Department maintains an inventory of over 27,000 spare parts and several ready-for-issue major assemblies to minimize the impact of the long overseas logistics pipeline. The Weapons Department can carry 72 vertical launch TLAMs and a mix of 40 torpedo tube-launched TLAMs and MK-48 torpedoes and can transfer these weapons to or from any warship. Essentially, Land is a small, mobile shipyard with a crew of men and women trained and eager to ensure the operational readiness of 5th and 6th Fleet ships and submarines.

Originally, Land was configured, manned, and equipped to support 688-class nuclear submarines. Therefore, infrastructure, planning documentation, parts support, tools, and personnel expertise for surface ship repairs are not optimum, but initiatives such as the recent installation of the Challenge Athena communications system will greatly enhance our capabilities. In any event, Land has conducted numerous availabilities on DD, DDG, FFG, CG-class combatants and several classes of amphibious ships, consistently achieving superior results. Last year 61 percent of our production hours went to surface ships. This success can be attributed directly to a wardroom of aggressive submarine LDOs, some very talented CPOs, and a crew that truly believes they can accomplish anything. We are also very aggressive in employing personnel from our four stateside reserve units.

Land's expanded mission is not without challenges. Scheduling simultaneous availabilities for surface ships and submarines is tricky business, and even before 11 September, it was not uncommon to have two surface ships and two submarines alongside. Given our fixed manpower and inevitable limits on our surface ship expertise, Land's workload must be carefully managed. Coordinating our schedule takes continuous and detailed communication among CTF-69 (for submarines), CTF-63 (for surface ships), SUBRON TWENTY-TWO, and Land's Repair Department. Despite the additional stress generated by Operation Enduring Freedom in scheduling operations, these staffs somehow manage to keep things moving.

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 12:39:19 ZULU