Souvenir gavel of relic wood taken from the World War II battleship the USS Sperry in 1982. An engraved brass band on the head, as issued, reads “From deck of USS Sperry (AS 12) built at Mare Island Naval Shipyard/ Launched 17 Dec. 1941/ Decommissioned 20 Sept. 1982.” The USS Sperry was the second Fulton-class submarine tender and could accommodate a crew of approximately 1,200. It was built at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California and launched 10 days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. During World War II, the ship crisscrossed the Pacific, where it refitted and made voyage repairs to submarines in Hawaii, Australia, the Solomon Islands, Midway Island, the Marianas, and elsewhere. After the war, the Sperry remained an active unit of the fleet, operating out of San Diego, and was particularly busy during the Korean War. The ship was renovated and modernized in 1961, and continued to service submarines in San Diego until it was decommissioned in 1982. At present, the Sperry is laid up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Suisun Bay in Benicia, California, on historic hold for a possible museum ship transfer.
The USS Sperry was the first Navy ship to be named after Elmer Ambrose Sperry (1860-1930), an entrepreneur and inventor with 400 patents to his credit who founded eight companies, most of which bore his name. These included Sperry Gyroscope Co., which designed and manufactured a variety of instruments adopted by the US Navy and used in both world wars, such as gyroscopic compasses and stabilizers for ships and aircraft and a high-intensity arc lamp.
Doehring, Thoralf. “USS Sperry (AS 12).” Unofficial U.S. Navy Site. 1999-2009. http://www.navysite.de/ships/as12.htm (19 May 2010).