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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

USAT George S. Simonds
ex
USS Columbia (AG-9) (1921 - 1922)
USS Great Northern (AG-9) (1921)
USAT Great Northern (1919 - 1921)
USS Great Northern (ID# 4569) (1917 - 1919)


Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from left to right
World War I Victory Medal (with Transport clasp) - American Campaign Medal - World War II Victory Medal


Great Northern Class Transport:
  • Built in 1915 as the passenger liner SS Great Northern for the Great Northern Pacific Steamship Co. at William Cramp & Sons, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Delivered to her owners in 1914
  • Acquired from the Great Northern Pacific Steamship Co., 19 September 1917 by the United States Shipping Board (USSB)
  • Converted to a transport at the Puget Sound Navy Yard
  • Commissioned, USS Great Northern (ID-4569), 1 November 1917, CAPT. W. W. Phelps in command
  • Decommissioned, 15 August 1919, at New York, N.Y.
  • Transferred to the US Army Transportation Service and commissioned USAT Great Northern, 15 August 1919
  • Reacquired by the Navy, 8 August 1921
  • Recommissioned, USS Great Northern (AG-9), 11 August 1921, at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA., CAPT. J. K. Taussig USN commanding
  • Renamed USS Columbia (AG-9), 19 November 1921
  • Decommissioned, 4 March 1922, at Chester, PA.
  • Custody transferred to the USSB
  • Renamed SS H. F. Alexander and returned to merchant service with the Canadian Pacific Steamship Co.
  • Leased to Pacific Steamship Co., circa 1927
  • Reacquired by the War Shipping Board in 1942
  • Assigned to the US Army Transport Service, 25 July 1942, commissioned USAT George S. Simonds
  • Returned to the Maritime Commission, 5 March 1946, for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River Group, Lee Hall, VA.
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 25 February 1948, to Boston Metals Co., Baltimore, MD.
    Specifications (AG-9):
    Displacement 8,255 t.
    Length 509' 6"
    Beam 63' 1"
    Draft 21'
    Speed 28 kts.
    Complement 559
    Armament four 6" guns
    Propulsion coal-fired steam turbines

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Source
    Merchant Service
    Great Northern 62k SS Great Northern running builders trials circa late-1914 early 1915.
    US Navy photo.
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.
    Great Northern 89k SS Great Northern in port, circa 1915.
    US Navy photo # NH 69812, courtesy of the San Francisco Maritime Museum, 1969, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center
    Robert Hurst
    Great Northern 193k SS Great Northern drydocked, date and location unknown. Judy Simpson in honor of her Grandfather John Marklin
    Great Northern 79k SS Great Northern civilian crew photo, circa May 1916. (John Marklin is seated front row far right.) Judy Simpson in honor of her Grandfather John Marklin
    USAT Great Northern
    Great Northern 98k USAT Great Northern in port, circa 1919, location unknown.
    US Navy photo # NH 71577 from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center, courtesy Donald M. McPherson
    Robert Hurst
    Great Northern 1840k USAT Great Northern at Mare Island Navy Yard in June 1920. The two caged masts in the background belongs to either USS Georgia (BB-15) or USS Vermont (BB-20) which were in the yard's dry dock number 2. Tugs aft of Great Northern are USS Undaunted (AT-58) with USS Navigator (YT-39) in board with her twin stacks.
    Photo # AG 9 USAT 86789 -6-1920.
    Darryl Baker
    USS Great Northern (ID# 4569)
    Great Northern 125k USS Great Northern (ID# 4569) underway, date and location unknown. Jon Burdett
    Great Northern 76k USS Great Northern (ID# 4569) moored pierside, date and location unknown.  
    Great Northern 202k USS Great Northern (ID# 4569) moored pierside with troops and passengers, date and location unknown. Tommy Trampp
    Great Northern 62k USS Great Northern (ID# 4569) entering the harbor at Brest, France, in November 1918.
    US Navy photo # NH 67752 from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center. Photo from the US Naval Library, Treasure Island Naval Station, CA. 1969.
    Robert Hurst
    Great Northern 398k USS Great Northern (ID# 4569) tied to mooring buoy, date and location unknown.
    Photo from "A History Of The Transport Service: Adventures And Experiences Of United States Transports And Cruisers in the World War", by Vice Admiral Albert Gleaves, USN, Published by George H. Doran Company, New York.
    Robert Hurst
    Great Northern
    NH 66498-A
    69k USS Great Northern (ID# 4569) in a harbor, last half of 1918. The original image was printed backwards. The camouflage scheme seen here was painted on Great Northern's starboard side, and that on her port side was of a different pattern. (See 094900913 below).
    US Navy photos # NH 66498-A and NH 66498 from the collections of the US Naval History and Heritage Command, courtesy of Donald M. McPherson.
    Robert Hurst
    Great Northern
    NH 66498
    68k
    Great Northern 47k USS Great Northern (ID# 4569) underway at sea, circa early 1918 or during 1919.
    US Navy photo # NH 66288 from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center, courtesy of Donald M. McPherson.
    Robert Hurst
    Great Northern 88k USS Great Northern (ID# 4569) moored pierside at New York City, with a small harbor passenger steamer coming alongside, circa early 1919.
    US Navy photo # NH 100644 from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center, courtesy of Jack Howland, 1986.
    Robert Hurst
    Great Northern 99k USS Great Northern (ID# 4569) underway in 1919, probably in New York Harbor. Photographed by E. Muller Jr., New York..
    US Navy photo # NH 105157, donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2007, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center
    Robert Hurst
    Great Northern 67k USS Great Northern (ID# 4569) underway in the Atlantic in 1918, as seen from the masthead of another ship. An escorting destroyer is in the distance. Photographed by Zimmer.
    US Navy photos # 44754-A from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center
    Robert Hurst
    Great Northern 57k USS Great Northern (ID# 4569) at anchor Brest Harbor, France, circa 1919.
    US Navy photos # 100635 from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center
    Robert Hurst
    Great Northern 154k Post Card image of USS Great Northern (ID# 4569) moored pierside, date and location unknown. Tommy Trampp
    USS Great Northern (AG-9)
    Great Northern 42k USS Great Northern (AG-9) getting underway from Mare Island Navy Yard, 2 September 1921. The ship anchored in the channel to the left is possibly USS Bath (AK-4). The decommissioned battleships USS Vermont (BB-20), USS Rhode Island (BB-17), USS Nebraska (BB-14) and USS Georgia (BB-15) are in the distance in the center of the photo. Mare Island's 150 ton floating crane, YD-33 is on the right. Darryl Baker
    Great Northern 106k USS Great Northern (AG-9) underway probably during her transit from Mare Island to New York between September and October, 1921 for conversion to a Navy administrative flagship. She appears to have Navy stack markings and her Army name has been painted out, but she does not have administrative flagship fittings such as searchlights and 6-pounder saluting guns and retains her Army lifeboats.
    US Navy photo courtesy Shipscribe.com.
    Mike Green
    USS Columbia (AG-9)
    Great Northern 88k USS Columbia (AG-9) at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, dressed with flags for George Washington's Birthday, 22 February 1922.
    US Navy photo # NH 55295 from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center. Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation -- Collection of Admiral Hilary P. Jones.
    Robert Hurst
    Great Northern 51k USS Columbia (AG-9) in harbor, circa 1922, while serving as administrative flagship for the Commander in Chief, US Fleet, Admiral Hilary P. Jones.
    US Navy photo # NH 83095 from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center. Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation -- Collection of Admiral Hilary P. Jones.
    Robert Hurst
    Vestal 84k View of the harbor at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba with battleships, destroyers and auxiliaries of the U.S. Fleet present, circa 1922. Ship in center is USS Vestal (AR-4). In the right distance is USS Columbia (AG-9), the Fleet's administrative flagship.
    US Navy photo # NH 83740 from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center. Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation -- Collection of Admiral Hilary P. Jones.
    Robert Hurst
    Merchant Service
    Great Northern 70k The Canadian-Pacific Steamship Lines passenger liner SS H.F. Alexander at San Francisco, CA. during the 1920s or 1930s.
    US Navy photo # NH 53536, courtesy of Donald M. McPherson, 1967, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center
    Robert Hurst
    Great Northern 236k Post card image of the Pacific Steamship Company's passenger liner SS H.F. Alexander underway, circa 1927.
    Photo ©Pacific Steamship Company.
    Tommy Trampp
    USAT George S. Simonds
    Great Northern 72k USAT George S. Simonds underway, circa 1943-46, location unknown.
    US Navy photo # NH 103412 from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center, copied from the book "Troopships of World War II", by Roland W. Charles.
    Robert Hurst

    USS Great Northern / Columbia (ID# 4569 / AG-9)
    DANFS History entry located at the US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Commanding Officers
    01CAPT. Phelps, William Woodward :RADM1 November 1917 - 20 November 1918
     CAPT. Doyle, Stafford Henry Rahall (Stiffy)20 November 1918 - 5 August 1919
     CAPT. Taussig, Joseph K.11 August 1921 - ?
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information
    U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation - Navy Log

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    Last Updated 14 November 2014