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Section Patrol Craft Photo Archive

USAT Liberty
ex-AK-35
ex-Liberty (ID 3461)



Civilian call sign (1919):
Love - Nan - Have - George

Freighter:

  • Built in 1918 as Wichita by the Federal Shipbuilding Co., Hackensack, NJ
  • Renamed Liberty prior to launching
  • Launched 19 June 1918
  • Completed 5 October 1918
  • Acquired by the Navy 7 October 1918 and commissioned USS Liberty (ID 3461) the same day
  • Decommissioned 7 May 1919 at Newport News, VA and returned to the United States Shipping Board (USSB) the same day
  • Acquired by the Army in 1939/1940 and commissioned USAT Liberty
  • In May 1941 the Army and Navy agreed that the Navy would eventually take over and man the larger Army ships, and under this plan the Navy designation AK-35 was assigned to Liberty. The Navy was not able to find the
    personnel to man her, however, and she remained an Army ship
  • Torpeoded 11 January 1942 by the Japanese submarine I-166, about 10 miles (19 km) southwest of Lombok Strait, Bali, Netherland East Indies. The destroyers USS Paul Jones (DD-230) and the Dutch HNLMS Van Ghent
    took the damaged ship in tow attempting to reach Singaraja, the Dutch port and administrative center for the Lesser Sunda Islands, on the north coast of Bali. However she was taking too much water and was beached on the
    eastern shore of Bali at Tulamben so that the cargo and fittings could be salvaged. The intact ship sat beached on this beautiful coast until Bali's volcano, Gunung Agung erupted in 1963. The Liberty crashed beneath the water
    during its violent eruption. It now sits on a black sand shelf that slopes from about 6-30m.

    Specifications:

  • Displacement 4,809 t.
  • Length 411' 6"
  • Beam 55'
  • Draft 26' 6"
  • Speed 11 kts.
  • Complement 70
  • Armament: One 6" and one 3" mount
  • Propulsion: One 2,500ihp steam engine, one shaft.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    SS Liberty
    Liberty 163k Photo from the 28 June 1918 edition of the Ogden Standard, Ogden, Utah Michael Mohl
    Liberty 102k Fitting out at the yard of her builder, the Federal Shipbuilding Co., Kearny, New Jersey, circa September 1918
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 70459
    Robert Hurst
    Liberty 97k At the yard of her builder, Federal Shipbuilding Co., Kearny, N.J. on 28 September 1918
    National Archives photo 80-G-352259
    Mike Green
    Liberty 51k . Robert Hurst
    USAT Liberty
    Liberty 86k Pierside around the end of 1941
    U.S. Army Signal Corps photo SC 131484 from the National Archives
    Mike Green
    Liberty Wreck Site
    Liberty 77k Tulamben, Bali
    Wreck site
    Tommy Trampp
    Liberty 377k Wrecksite Guide
    Liberty 205k
    Liberty 33k .

    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships History: The second Liberty, an animal transport, was launched 19 June 1918 by Federal Shipbuilding Co., Hackensack, N.J.; acquired by the Navy 7 October 1918 and commissioned the same day, Lt. Comdr. Charles Longbottom, USNRF, in command.

    Assigned to NOTS, Liberty departed New York 24 October 1918, arriving Brest with her cargo of horses 8 November. For the next 6 months, Liberty made two additional cruises from New York to France discharging both animal and general cargo at French ports. Loaded with 436 tons of Army cargo and 2,072 tons of steel rails, Liberty arrived Newport News, Va., 30 April 1919 from her final cruise. She decommissioned there 7 May and was returned to the USSB the same day.


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