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Identification Numbered Vessel Photo Archive

Santa Barbara (ID 4522)

Civilian call sign (1919):
Love - Fox - Rush - Nan


  • Built in 1916 by William Cramp and Sons, Philadelphia, PA
  • Acquired by the Navy 1 February 1918
  • Delivered 15 April 1918
  • Commissioned USS Santa Barbara (ID 4522), 20 April 1918
  • Decommissioned 6 August 1919 at Philadelphia and returned to her owners
  • Renamed American
  • Torpedoed and sunk 11 June 1942 off British Honduras by the German submarine U-504.


  • Displacement 13,320 t.
  • Length 420' 5"
  • Beam 53' 9"
  • Draft 28' 6"
  • Depth of hold 34' 2"
  • Speed 12 kts.
  • Complement 106
  • Armament: One 5"/40 mount and one 6-pounder
  • Propulsion: Three single ended boilers, one 3,200ihp quadruple-expansion steam engine, one shaft.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    SS Santa Barbara
    Santa Barbara 131k Underway, prior to her World War I era Naval service
    U.S. Navy photo NH 65065
    Naval Historical Center
    USS Santa Barbara (ID 4522)
    Santa Barbara 137k c. 1918/1919
    Wireless operator
    Tommy Trampp
    Santa Barbara 122k Crowded with homeward bound troops, while arriving in a U.S. East Coast port in 1919
    Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2008
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 106367
    Robert Hurst

    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships History: The first Santa Barbara, a single-screw, steel freighter, built during 1916 by William Cramp and Sons, Philadelphia, Pa., was ordered taken over by the Navy on 1 February 1918 from the Atlantic & Pacific Steamship Co. of New York, and commissioned on 15 April 1918 at New York, Lt. Comdr. J. [James] Williamson, USNRF, in command.

    Assigned to the Naval Overseas Transportation Service (NOTS) during World War I, Santa Barbara made three round-trip voyages to European ports before, and one after the signing of the Armistice on 11 November 1918. Sailing each time from New York, she carried up to 7,854 tons of general cargo on a single trip, unloading at Marseilles, Quiberon, St. Nazaire and Verdon, France. Santa Barbara was detached on 19 February 1919 from NOTS and assigned to the Cruiser and Transport Force, Atlantic Fleet.

    Santa Barbara underwent drydocking and overhaul before resuming her transatlantic crossings. Departing New York on 30 March 1919, she commenced the first of four round trip missions to Bordeaux and St. Nazaire returning thousands of Army veterans. Arriving at Philadelphia on 23 July 1919, Santa Barbara was detached from the Cruiser and Transport Force the following day. Santa Barbara was simultaneously decommissioned and returned to her owner on 6 August 1919 at William Cramp and Sons' yard, Philadelphia, Pa. Remaining under United States registry as Santa Barbara and later as American, she was sunk by submarine torpedoes off the east coast of British Honduras on 11 June 1942.

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