The second Navy ship to bear the name and is named for Grand Rapids, Michigan. Commissioned 5 September 1970 at Tacoma WA. and decommissioned 1 October 1977 at Little Creek VA. Transferred to the David Taylor Naval Research and Development Center Annapolis MD. Renamed RV (Research Vessel) ATHENA II Presently in custody of Carderock Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center, US Navy at Panama City Beach FL.
Each command within the U.S. Navy is authorized to display an emblem and motto symbolic of its mission. mission. GRAND RAPIDS’ ship’s seal, or insigne, is dominated by the figure of a sea lion, a mythical beast having the head, chest, and shoulders of a lion, with webbed claws, and the lower body of a dolphin. This heraldic combination signifies the union of leonine strength and courage with the seagoing speed and facility of a marine creature. The olive branch which he holds in his left claw is the traditional symbol of peace. Its seventeen leaves stand for the seventeen Patrol Gunboats which the Navy will eventually have, of which GRAND RAPIDS is the sixteenth. In his right claw, the sea lion grasps a banner, colored green to denote alertness, which bears the ship’s motto, "Omnis spes salutis in virtute." These words may be translated, "All hope of safety rests in courage," and were one of Caesar’s common exhortations to his troops in time of duress. An unbroken rope around the seal symbolizes the unifying influence among shipmates of a common mission and esprit de corps.
During 1973 there were three major changes to USS GRAND RAPIDS (PG-98); change of command, change of mission and change of homeport. The first occurred on 9 February 1973, when Lieutenant Gordon H. RHEINSTROM, relieved Lieutenant Charles F. VOTAVA, III as Commanding Officer. The change of command took place at long Beach Naval Shipyard. Lieutenant RHEINSTROM was in command for the remainder of 1973.
The change in mission area occurred as a result of the ships outfitting with a surface to surface missile capability. While at Long Beach Naval Shipyard during late 1972 and early 1973 the ARM version of the Standard Missile was installed.
The third change in command organization came as a result of a homeport shift from San Diego, California to Naples, Italy. The change was effective on 7 May 1973 and was completed on 13 August 1973.
The operations of USS GRAND RAPIDS during 1973 were far ranging and highly varied. The ship began the year in Long Beach Naval Shipyard where she had been undergoing an extensive overhaul and conversion since l October 1972. The ship completed the shipyard availability two weeks early and without any documented discrepancies.
Upon completion of shipyard work on 19 March 1973 GRAND RAPIDS moved to the Naval Ships Weapons Systems Engineering Station, Port Hueneme, California, to conduct missile systems checkout and evaluation.
GRAND RAPIDS returned to San Diego on 25 April for a short pre-overseas movement period. On 7 May 1973 GRAND RAPIDS and USS DOUGLAS (PG-l00) began their transit to Little Creek, Virginia. The ships were joined enroute by USS CAYUGA (LST-1186) which acted as escort and refueling ship as far as the Panama Canal. GRAND RAPIDS and DOUGLAS transited the Panama Canal on 22 May 1973.
The ship arrived in Little Creek, Va., on 2 June 1973 after liberty calls in Acapulco, Mexico; Panama City Panama; Fort Lauderdale, Florida and a brief stop for fuel in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The GRAND RAPIDS and DOUGLAS left Little Creek for Naples on 28 July and were joined by USS PAWCATUCK (AO-108) on 29 July. PAWCATUCK acted as refueling escort as far as the Gulf of Cadiz. The homeport change was completed on 13 August 1973 when GRAND RAPIDS and DOUGLAS arrived in Naples, Italy.
On 1 October 1977 the USS GRAND RAPIDS (PG-98) was decommissioned and redesignated a boat. Custody of the hull of ex-USS GRAND RAPIDS was transferred to David Taylor Naval Research and Development Center, Annapolis, Maryland.
Narrative and photos provided by Dave Donaldson.
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Muster list updated by Terry W. McManuels
Copyright © 2006 PGRA. All rights reserved. Revised: 03/11/14.