USS Holland, submarine tender, next to be removed from Suisun Bay
By Donna Beth Weilenman
The USS Holland, a Hunley class submarine tender, is starting its final voyage Tuesday, Kim Riddle, public affairs officer for the Maritime Administration, said.
The ship is being pulled from its moorings in the Reserve Fleet in Suisun Bay, and will be towed to Mare Island Ship Yard to be prepared for a trip through the Panama Canal.
Ultimately, it will arrive at ESCO Marine, in Brownsville, Texas, where it will be broken apart and recycled.
The ship was built by Ingalls Shipbuilding Company of Pascagoula, Miss., and was launched in 1963. It was named for John Phillip Holland, considered the father of the modern submarine.
The Holland was the first such ship built specifically to service fleet ballistic missile submarines, and was instrumental in support the Navy’s Polaris missiles that were carried by nuclear-powered submarines.
The ship carried a complete machine shop, and was able to make any type of repair just short of a major overhaul. That included maintaining the submarines’ nuclear power plants, according to Jose A. Garcia, president of the USS Holland AS-32 Association.
Garcia served aboard the Holland from 1975-77, and maintains the website www.ussholland.org for his shipmates and the Holland’s former crew.
Some have sent notes and photographs about their service aboard the Holland, as well as about trips they’ve made to the Reserve Fleet to see their old ship.
The Holland’s shakedown training took place at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
From 1964-66, the Holland was deployed to Rota, Spain, before being sent to Charleston, S.C., to care for the Atlantic Fleet until returning to Spain for another tour.
From 1975-82, the ship cared for the Submarine Squadron 14 in Scotland.
The ship served in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, repairing both fleet ballistic missile submarines and fast attack submarines.
It was the only U.S. Navy tender in the Western Pacific, and it was awarded the Meritorous Unit Citation four times.
It was recognized 10 times for battle efficiency, once for national defense and twice for humanitarian service.
The Holland was decommissioned in 1996 at Apra Harbor, Guam, after the end of the Cold war, with a stateside ceremony five months later in Bremerton, Wash.
Afterward, the Holland was sent to Suisun Bay, where it remained moored until slated for recycling.
Riddle said MARAD is approximately two years ahead of its schedule to remove obsolete ships from the Reserve Fleet in Suisun Bay.