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Identification Numbered Vessel Photo Archive

Wathena (ID 3884)

Civilian call sign (1919):
Love - Pup - George - Tare


  • Built in 1918 by the Merchants Shipbuilding Co., Bristol, PA
  • Acquired by the Navy 1 February 1919 and commissioned the same day at Philadelphia, PA
  • Decommissioned 10 April 1919, returned to the United States Shipping Board and struck from the Naval Register
  • Abandoned in 1933.


  • Displacement 12,220 t.
  • Length 417' 9"
  • Beam 54'
  • Depth of hold 32' 9"
  • Draft 25' 6"
  • Speed 11 kts.
  • Complement 60
  • Armament: None
  • Propulsion: Three Babcock and Wilcox boilers, one 3,000shp Westinghouse compound steam turbine, one shaft.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    Wathena 104k Fitting out on 13 December 1918 at the Merchants' Shipbuilding Corp., Harriman, Pennsylvania
    National Archives photo from Shipscribe
    Robert Hurst

    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships History: The first Wathena, a steel-hulled, single-screw freighter built for the United States Shipping Board (USSB) in 1918 at Bristol, Pa., by the Merchants' Shipbuilding Corp., was taken over by the Navy on 1 February 1919 for operation by the Naval Overseas Transportation Service (NOTS), assigned Id. No. 3884, and was placed in commission at Philadelphia on the same day, LtComdr. Percy E. Crosby, USNRF, in command.

    Wathena conducted only one round-trip voyage for NOTS. Her holds loaded with 5,754 tons of cargo, she departed Philadelphia on 13 February, bound for the British Isles. After arriving at London, England, on 1 March, she discharged her cargo in the ensuing days, underwent voyage repairs, and sailed on the 17th to return to the United States.

    She arrived back at Philadelphia on 3 April and was placed in line for demobilization soon thereafter. Decommissioned and struck from the Navy list on 10 April 1919, Wathena was simultaneously turned over to the USSB. She remained in the ownership of the USSB through the 1920's. Eventually laid up, the freighter deteriorated so much that she was abandoned in 1933 due to "age and deterioration."

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