Please report any broken links or trouble you might come across to the Webmaster. Please take a moment to let us know so that we can correct any problems and make your visit as enjoyable and as informative as possible.

NavSource Online:
Identification Numbered Ships Photo Archive

USS Black Arrow (ID 1534)

Civilian call sign:
Love - Have - George - King

ex-USS Black Arrow (ID 3913)

Navy call sign (1919):
Nan - Able - King - Jig

ex-USAT Black Arrow
ex-USAT Black Hawk

Black Arrow served both the U. S. Army and Navy


  • Built in 1904 as Rhaetia by Bremer-Vulcan Werke Vegesack, Germany
  • Seized by the U.S. Government in April 1917 and assigned to the U.S. Army as USAT Black Hawk
  • Renamed Black Arrow
  • Transferred to the Navy and commissioned USS Black Arrow (ID 3913), 27 January 1919
  • Decommissioned 9 August 1919, struck from the Navy Register and returned to the United States Shipping Board
  • Reclassified ID-1534, 3 April 1922
  • Scrapped in 1924 at Perth Amboy, NJ.


  • Displacement 11,900 t.
  • Length 409' 3"
  • Beam 52' 7"
  • Draft 25' 10"
  • Speed 11 kts.
  • Complement 82
  • Propulsion: Four single ended boilers, one 3,000hp vertical quadruple expansion steam engine, one shaft.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    Black Arrow 95k In port, possibly when inspected by the Third Naval District on 20 March 1919
    U.S. Navy photo NH 99385
    Naval Historical Center
    Black Arrow 148k Ship's Officers and Crew on deck, 1919. Panoramic photograph by the Taylor Studio, Norfolk, Virginia
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 99392
    Robert Hurst
    Black Arrow 130k In port, 1919
    Courtesy of Boatswain's Mate First Class Robert G. Tippins, USN (Retired), 2005
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 102873

    In port 1919
    Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2008
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 105725
    Original and replacement photo: Robert Hurst
    Black Arrow 100k In a U.S. East Coast port, 1919
    Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2005
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 102940
    Robert Hurst
    Black Arrow 83k In port, possibly at Gibraltar, 1919. This photograph was originally the property of Warren W. Joy, who made two trips as a member of Black Arrow's crew, one from New York to Bordeaux and the other to Marseilles
    Courtesy of Stanley R. Joy, 2007
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 104780
    Black Arrow 144k Halftone reproduction of a photograph of the ship in port, 1919. This view was published circa 1919 by A.M. Simon, 324 E. 23rd Street, New York City, as one of ten images in a "Souvenir Folder" concerning USS Black Arrow
    Donation of Charles R. Haberlein Jr., 2009
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 106660

    View the Black Arrow (ID 1534)
    DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command website
    DANFS Addendum: USS Black Arrow, a 11,900-ton (displacement) transport, was built in 1904 at Vegesack, Germany, as the 6599 gross ton Hamburg-America line freighter Rhaetia. She was seized by the United States Government in April 1917, when the U.S. entered World War I. Renamed Black Hawk and later Black Arrow, she spent the rest of the war carrying cargo for the U.S. Army, making at least five trips to France. In January 1919 the ship was transferred to the Navy, which placed her in commission as USS Black Arrow and put her to work bringing American service personnel home from the former war zone. After the completion of three round-trip voyages for this purpose, she was decommissioned in August 1919 and returned to the U.S. Shipping Board.

    As a side note, significant to those interested in tracking the numbers assigned to ships by the U.S. Navy, this ship (then named Black Hawk) was inspected for possible Navy service by the Fifth Naval District about mid-1917 and given the registry ID-1534. However, the record of this action was apparently misplaced, and the ship (by now named Black Arrow) was given the new ID-3913 at about the time she entered Naval service. On 3 April 1922, nearly three years after she had been returned to the Shipping Board, the error was corrected and her number changed back to 1534. This reflects the Navy's contemporary effort to maintain a registry of civilian ships for possible acquisition in the event of another national emergency.

    Back to the Main Photo Index Back to the Identification Numbered Ships (ID) Photo Index Back to the U.S. Army Transport Photo Index

    Comments, Suggestions, E-mail Webmaster

    This page created by Joseph M. Radigan and maintained by David Wright
    All pages copyright NavSource Naval History