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|SS Walter A. Luckenbach|
|115k||Underway on her trial trip, 30 May 1918, after completion of her construction by the Seattle Construction and Dry Dock Company, Seattle, Washington
U.S. Navy photo NH 65040
|Naval Historical Center|
|USS Walter A. Luckenbach (ID 3171)|
|113k||Panoramic photograph of the ship crowded with troops, probably while leaving St. Nazaire, France, in 1919. Photographed from on board USS Mexican (ID 1655)
Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation. Collection of Lieutenant Charles Dutreaux
U.S. Navy photo NH 99396
|Naval Historical Center|
|338k||At Newport News, Virginia, in 1919, after bringing men of the 323rd Infantry Regiment, U.S. Army, home from Europe.Some of that unit's Soldiers are paraded in the foreground..
Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2007
Naval Historical Center photo NH 104733-A
|99k||Panoramic photograph of the 323rd Infantry Regiment, U.S. Army unit's personnel paraded on the waterfront at Newport News, Virginia, immediately after their return to the United States from Europe on board Walter A. Luckenbach, 1919. Walter A. Luckenbach is alongside the pier in the left center background. USS SC-414 is seen bow-on, alongside the pier in the right center
Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2007
Naval Historical Center photo NH 104733
|89k||Arriving in New York Harbor, loaded with troops she has transported home from France, 1919.
Photographed from USS Scranton (ID 3511)
Photograph from the USS Scranton photo album kept by J.D. Bartar, one of her crew members
Naval Historical Center photo NH 99456
|123k||In port in 1919, while serving as a troop transport. A U.S. Navy collier is beyond her
Photographed by McKnight
Donation of Gene B. Reid
Naval Historical Center photo NH 103217
|112k||Arriving in a U.S. East Coast port, 1919. Her decks are crowded with troops, homeward-bound from Europe
Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2010
Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 107055
|107k||Loading troops in the lock of the New Entrance at Saint Nazaire, France, circa mid-1919
Old Ship Picture Galleries photo from Shipscribe.com
|135k||10 January 1950
Photo caption: TURKISH FREIGHTER GOING TO FORMOSA. The S.S. Mardin, a freighter owned by Marta T.A.S.of Instanbul, Turkey tied up at a Philadelphia pier where tanks and armored cars en route to the Chinese Nationalists at Formosa are being loaded aboard
Associated Press wirephoto 31455
|01||LCDR James Allan McDonald, USNRF||9 June 1918 - 1918|
|02||LCDR James Gano Ludlow, USNRF||1918 - 1919|
|03||LCDR Arthur C. Fickett, USNRF||1919 - 28 July 1919|
Assigned to the Naval Overseas Transportation Service, Walter A. Luckenbach sailed from Seattle on 13 June; but an unsuccessful series of trials forced her to put into the Mare Island Navy Yard for further work and repairs. Those modifications were completed on 18 August, and she returned to sea. Walter A. Luckenbach entered Mejillones, Chile, and loaded 10,000 tons of nitrates. She departed the Chilean port on 10 September, transited the Panama Canal, and arrived at Norfolk, VA., on the 24th. After discharging her cargo and completing voyage repairs, the ship cleared Capes Henry and Charles on 7 October and headed for Philadelphia. There, she loaded Army supplies bound for Europe and, on 29 October, headed for France. After a stop at Gibraltar, Walter A. Luckenbach arrived in Marseilles on 14 November, three days after the armistice was signed, discharged her cargo, and loaded ballast for the return voyage. She stood out of Marseilles on 26 November, stopped briefly at Gibraltar once again, and arrived in New York on 11 December.
On the day of her arrival, Walter A. Luckenbachh was detached from the Naval Overseas Transportation service and was reassigned to the Transport Force. At New York, she was converted to a troop transport to help in the task of bringing home American troops from Europe. By 22 January 1919, the ship was ready to begin her role in that large movement of people. Between late January and early July, Walter A. Luckenbach made five round-trip voyages to France, two to Bordeaux and three to St. Nazaire. She returned to New York from her final voyage on 11 July; was decommissioned at Hoboken, N.J., on 28 July 1919- and was returned to the Luckenbach Steamship Co. that same day. She entered into mercantile service with that company and labored in its behalf until 1950. During that year, she changed hands and names twice. First, she was sold to the New Orleans Coal & Bisso Towboat Co., Inc., and briefly served the company as SS A. L. Bisso. Later in the year, the Turkish firm Marsa Ithalat-Ithracat, T.A.S., bought her and renamed her SS Mardin. She served that firm and under that name for the remainder of her mercantile career. By 1955, her name had been dropped from the merchant vessel lists.
Addendum: (The Mardin [ex-Walter A. Luckenbach (ID 3171)] was involved in a bizarre incident in 1957 in Germany. The owner of the vessel at that time, according to Lloyd's Register 1958/59, was Hasim C. Mardin of Istanbul, Turkey.
She arrived at Bremen to take on and discharge cargo in early 1957, but was not allowed to leave after this, as a number of repair bills were not paid for. So she was taken into custody. This lasted for some time, but during one stormy, pitch black night, the vessel left the port of Bremen clandestinely, with no assistance of tugs, blackened, no position lights on and no pilot aboard and headed at full speed all the way down the winding, treacherous Weser River in order to reach the North Sea.
When the police realized what had happened the vessel was already off Bremerhaven and about to enter the open sea.
Then they activated a former German Navy patrol boat in the port of Bremerhaven, which was then available for special duties, as it could run at very high speed. This boat rushed out of the port at full speed, pursuing the fleeing vessel, which was already approaching the three mile border. Finally the police reached the ship, entered it like pirates, still running at full throttle and arrested the master on the bridge. They forced the vessel to return to Bremen, where it was put into custody again. Lloyd's Shipping Index dated January 23, 1958 states: Arrived at Bremen Aug 2, 1957.....in Port Oct 1, 1957.
To my knowledge the vessel never entered active service again after this. As Lloyd's Register of 1958/59 still kept her, I assume scrapping took place either in late 1958 or early 1959, up to now, however, I do not know where this happened.
Gerhard L. Mueller-Debus
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