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USAT John L. Clem
ex-USAHS John L. Clem
ex-USAT John L. Clem
ex-USS Santa Ana (ID 2869)



Navy call sign:
George - Jig - King - Quack



Santa Ana civilian call sign (1919):
Love - Jig - Mike - Quack

Santa Ana served the U. S. Navy, Army and Public Health Service.


Transport/Hospital Ship:

  • Built in 1918 by William Cramp and Sons, Philadelphia, PA
  • Acquired by the Navy 11 February 1918 and commissioned USS Santa Ana (ID 2869) the same day
  • Decommissioned 21 July 1919 at Hoboken, NJ and transferred to the United States Shipping Board for return to her owners, W. R. Grace and Co. of New York
  • Between the World Wars she operated commercially under the names Guatemala, Santa Cecilia and Irwin
  • Acquired by the War Department in March 1941, about which time she was also briefly assigned a U.S. Navy ID as a Transport, AP-36 but did not serve with the Navy
  • Renamed John L. Clem, converted to a troopship at New York City, and operated between the United States East and Gulf Coasts and ports in the Caribbean and Central America from June 1941 and September 1943
  • Converted to a hospital ship at Mobile, AL. Upon completion of this work in June 1944, she steamed across the Atlantic to begin duty in the western Mediterranean. She returned to the U.S. in June 1945 to begin preparations for
    service in the Pacific. However, when Japan surrendered in September she was reconverted to a transport and used to carry workers between Jamaica and Florida
  • Transferred to the War Shipping Administration early in 1946 and later assigned to the U.S. Public Health Service
  • Laid up in December 1946 at the Maritime Commission's reserve fleet at Brunswick, Georgia, under the name Irwin
  • Sold for scrap in January 1948.

    Specifications:

  • Displacement 4,869 t.
  • Length 373' 9"
  • Beam 51' 2"
  • Draft 22' 9"
  • Speed 12 kts.
  • Complement 204
  • Propulsion: One 3,400ihp steam engine, one shaft.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    SS Santa Ana
    Santa Ana 124k Fitting out at the William Cramp and Sons shipyard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, circa late 1918.
    U.S.Navy photo NH 93942
    Naval Historical Center
    USS Santa Ana (ID 2869)
    Santa Ana 132k Underway in an icy harbor, circa the winter of 1918-1919, probably when first conpleted
    Photographed by Edwin Levick, New York
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 70465
    Robert Hurst
    Santa Ana 120k Off New York City with her decks crowded with troops she has brought home from Europe, circa March-July 1919.
    Photographed by E. Muller, Jr., New York.
    U.S.Navy photo NH 43287
    Naval Historical Center
    Santa Ana 79k In a U.S. East Coast harbor, with her decks crowded with troops returning from France, 1919.
    U.S.Navy photo NH 70463
    Santa Ana 117k c. late 1920s
    Photo courtesy of Mariners Museum from "Hospital Ships of World War II: An Illustrated Reference" by Emory A. Massman
    Robert Hurst
    USAT John L. Clem
    Santa Ana 32k c. 1863
    John Clem, age 12
    John Lincoln Clem (August 13, 1851 May 13, 1937), was a United States Army general who had served as a drummer boy in the Union Army in the American Civil War. He gained fame for his bravery on the battlefield, becoming the youngest noncommissioned officer in Army history. He retired from the Army in 1916, having attained the rank of major general and being the last veteran of the Civil War still on duty in the Armed Forces. Born at Newark, Ohio, in 1851 as John Joseph Klem, he ran away from home at age nine to become a Union Army drummer boy. He attempted to enlist in May 1861 in the 3rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, but was rejected on account of his age and small size. He then tried to join the 22nd Michigan, which also refused him. He tagged along anyway, and the 22nd eventually adopted him as mascot and drummer boy. Officers chipped in to pay him the regular soldier's wage of $13 a month, and finally allowed him to enlist two years later. In the Battle of Shiloh, in April 1862, Clem's drum was smashed by an artillery round and he became a minor news item as "Johnny Shiloh", the smallest drummer. In September 1863, at the Battle of Chickamauga, he rode an artillery caisson to the front and wielded a musket trimmed to his size. In the course of a Union retreat, he shot a Confederate colonel who demanded his surrender. After the battle, the "Drummer Boy of Chickamauga" was promoted to sergeant, the youngest soldier ever to be a noncommissioned officer in the United States Army. In October 1863, Clem was captured in Georgia by Confederate cavalry while detailed as a train guard. The Confederate soldiers took his uniform away from him which reportedly upset him terribly--especially his cap which had three bullet holes in it. He was exchanged a short time later, but the Confederate newspapers used his age and celebrity status to show "what sore straits the Yankees are driven, when they have to send their babies out to fight us." After participating with the Army of the Cumberland in many other battles, serving as a mounted orderly, he was discharged in 1864. Clem was wounded in combat twice during the war. Clem graduated from high school in 1870. After he attempted unsuccessfully to enter the United States Military Academy, President Ulysses S. Grant appointed him second lieutenant in the Twenty-fourth United States Infantry. Clem graduated from artillery school at Fort Monroe in 1875, transferred to the quartermaster department in 1882, and rose to the rank of major general by the time he retired in 1916. Clem spent a number of his Army years in Texas. From 1906 to 1911 he was Chief Quartermaster at Fort Sam Houston; after retirement he lived in Washington, D.C. for a few years, then returned to San Antonio, Texas. He married Anita Rosetta French in 1875. She died in 1899, and he married Bessie Sullivan of San Antonio in 1903. Clem was the father of two children. He died in San Antonio on May 13, 1937, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
    Bill Gonyo
    Santa Ana 107k 2nd Lieutenant John L. Clem
    Library of Congress photo cwphb 01074
    Santa Ana 186k Major General John L. Clem
    Library of Congress photo npcc 06400
    Santa Ana 127k Halftone reproduction of a photograph taken circa 1941.
    Copied from the book "Troopships of World War II", by Roland W. Charles.
    U.S.Navy photo NH 85265
    Naval Historical Center
    USAHS John L. Clem
    Santa Ana 137k Halftone reproduction of a photograph taken in 1944-1945.
    Copied from the book "Troopships of World War II", by Roland W. Charles.
    U.S.Navy photo NH 99889
    Naval Historical Center

    View the Santa Ana (ID 2869)
    DANFS history entry located on the Naval Historical Center website
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