Moving the USS Pyro, AE-24 By The USS Salvor, ARS 52
From Bremerton, Washington To Benecia, California
Saturday, August 12, 2000 to Friday, August 18, 2000
And Other Pictures

By James F. Smiley and Robert W. Smiley, Jr.

There are two sets of photos for the August 12, 2000 move. One set of photos was taken by Jim Smiley with Randy Jones, of Venture Charters on August 12, 2000. The first set is titled " Smiley Towing Album". The other set is titled "Salvor Towing Album", spanning August 12, 2000 to August 18, 2000, and the pictures were taken by LtCdr. William J. Nault, Commanding Officer of the USS Salvor (ARS52) between Bremerton and San Francisco on the way to Benecia.


Bob Smiley
It was Saturday morning, 0815 hrs, the twelfth of August, 2000. The water was glass, and there was no wind. It was a beautiful day. There were two tugboats and another boat called a pusher lining up the USS Pyro with the USS Salvor. The pusher's job was to keep the bow in line while the tugs moved her. Once she was lined up, the tugs continued to push her as the USS Salvor maintained the same speed. The crew on board the USS Pyro then threw a rope line attached to the towing chain to the USS Salvor. Then the USS Salvor began to slowly take the slack out of the chain while still maintaining about six knots. The pusher dropped off once the slack was out and returned to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. The two tugs remained as escorts and continued to assist until everyone got out past Bainbridge Island. You'll notice the exhaust coming out of the starboard side of the USS Salvor. That was when she was officially being towed and the USS Salvor started steaming. Both ships were maintaining about 11 knots. The crew on board the USS Pyro then threw a large buoy to be towed some 200 feet behind the USS Pyro. The Pyro crew then departed on the last remaining tug and bid farewell as the USS Pyro headed toward the open sea. The Seattle background made a fitting farewell to a ship on her way home. The last remaining pictures are of "Sealy Dan", The California sea lion that feeds on Seattle salmon every year. He has been flown out of Seattle more times than Southwest Airlines can count.

The Salvor Towing pictures were taken from the USS Salvor and are of the same series of moving events. They are labeled as to what each one is. As a finale, the USS Pyro went under the Golden Gate Bridge on August 17, 2000, for the last time, at 0445. Because it was dark they couldn't take any pictures.

Other Pictures:

The Smiley Easter Album has some pictures taken on Easter Sunday, April 23, 2000. Bob Smiley flew up to the Northwest, chartered a boat, and he and Jim Smiley took pictures, with the help of Randy Jones Charter Boat Service.

Lastly, each album has the newspaper article that appeared in early 2000 that started this whole process. Joe Psuik, ET2, lead ET in 1964, and now Director, San Diego Convention Center, wrote the following note to Lt Cdr. Nault, CO of the USS Salvor:

Commander Nault:

Bob Smiley has copied me on the email correspondence concerning photographs of the USS Pyro (AE-24). I see that she has been given another name after she left active service. However, to us she is still the USS Pyro, AE-24, regardless of what any bureaucratic system now chooses to call her. Bob and I were shipmates on board her and Bob and I came to be fast friends for life. One of our ties that bind is the beautiful vessel upon which we served together.

I express to you my most sincere appreciation and regards for enjoining the efforts in photographing our ship as she made what may be her final move. I think only sailors who have been to sea for extended service can fully understand how much impact in a lifetime can come from that experience. And the base line for that experience is that living, breathing piece of steel that welcomes you on board and makes you be a piece of her forever. For all of those who serve at sea and are constantly prepared to go in harm's way, I still give thanks - every day.

Thank you, Sir, for your efforts in bringing home fresh memories to a couple of old sailors.

I hope that you enjoy these as much as we enjoyed creating and producing them.


Robert W. Smiley, Jr.
Benefit Capital Companies
North Pioneer Road
P. O. Box 542
Logandale, NV 89021-0542

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