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Identification Numbered Ships Photo Archive

USAT President Johnson
ex-USS Manchuria (ID 1633)

Navy call sign:
George - Boy - King - Jig

Civilian call sign (1919):
King - Sail - Watch - Cast

Manchuria served both the U. S. Navy and Army


  • Laid down 3 September 1902 as Minnekahda by the New York Shipbuilding Co., Camden, NJ for the Atlantic Transport Line
  • Launched 2 November 1903
  • Renamed Manchuria and completed for the Pacific Mail Steamship Co.
  • Acquired by the Navy 10 April 1918
  • Commissioned USS Manchuria (ID 1633), 25 April 1918 at New York
  • Decommissioned 11 September 1919 at New York and returned to her owner
  • Sold to the Panama Pacific Line
  • Renamed President Johnson 1 November 1928
  • Sold 8 November 1928 to the Dollar Steamship Lines
  • Acquired by the Maritime Commission 26 October 1938 and transferred to the American Presidents Line
  • Acquired by the Army 29 November 1941 and commissioned USAT President Johnson
  • Transferred to the Maritime Commission 26 April 1946, sold to the Tagua Navigational Co. of Panama City, Panama and renamed Tagus
  • Sold in 1947 to the Tronsmar Navigation Co. of Portugal and renamed Santa Cruz
  • Scrapped 12 January 1962 at Savona, Italy.


  • Displacement 27,000 t.
  • Length 615' 8"
  • Beam 65'
  • Draft 33' 6"
  • Speed 16 kts.
  • Complement 125
  • Armament: Two 4" mounts, two 1-pounders, and two machine guns
  • Propulsion: Two 5,000ihp 4-cylinder quadruple expansion steam engines, four double-ended and four single-ended 215psi fire tube boilers, originally coal fired but converted to oil fired in 1919,
    two shafts.

    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    SS Minnekahda
    Manchuria 59k c. 1910's post card
    Art work by T. Schmidt
    Tommy Trampp
    SS Manchuria
    Manchuria 341k Undated post cards Tommy Trampp
    Manchuria 120k
    Manchuria 83k Post card dated 1907
    Manchuria 118k Taken prior to World War I, probably off New York City.
    Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2006
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 103655
    Robert Hurst
    USS Manchuria (ID 1633)
    Manchuria 96k Tied up at New York City, 8 July 1918, after having been painted in pattern camouflage
    U.S. Navy photo NH 46624
    Naval Historical Center
    Manchuria 83k In port, probably in 1919 while she was engaged in returning troops from Europe to the United States
    Courtesy of Carter Rila, 1986
    U.S. Navy photo NH 100731
    Manchuria 116k Underway in 1919.
    Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2005
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 102990
    Robert Hurst
    Manchuria 201k Underway in 1919, probably arriving at New York after a voyage from Europe. Her decks are crowded with troops
    Photographed by E. Muller, Jr., New York.
    Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2005
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 103144
    Manchuria 135k In the locks at St. Nazaire, France, 1919
    Donation of Charles R. Haberlein Jr., 2008
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 105828
    Manchuria 119k Undated post card showing Manchuria outboard of Huron (ID 1408) at St. Nazaire, France Tommy Trampp
    Manchuria 112k 11 May 1919
    Manchuria 76.2m Overseas Cruise Notes USS Manchuria. Ships Engineering Instructional Notebook, 1919. George Fox Corse, I, USNRF, Ensign George Fox Corse, III and John Chiquoine
    SS Manchuria
    Manchuria 130k Taken circa 1920s
    Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2005
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 102989
    Robert Hurst
    Manchuria 144k In port, probably after World War I
    Courtesy of Lieutenant Herbert Campbell, USN (Retired), 1932
    U.S. Navy photo NH 46623
    Naval Historical Center
    Manchuria 146k In harbor, probably after World War I
    Courtesy of Lieutenant Herbert Campbell, USN (Retired), 1932
    U.S. Navy photo NH 63220
    SS President Johnson
    Manchuria 128k Halftone reproduction of a photograph taken in port during the World War II era
    Copied from the book "Troopships of World War II", by Roland W. Charles
    U.S. Navy photo NH 99147
    Naval Historical Center
    Manchuria 139k c. 1929
    Fire sweeps the Dollar Steamship Line freighter SS President Johnson
    Ship News photo
    Tommy Trampp
    USAT President Johnson
    Manchuria 265k 5 June 1945
    Sailing from San Francisco, via Pearl Harbor, for Eniwetok, Ulithi, Leyte, Manila, Batangas and Subic
    Photograph by Peter Stackpole, Life Magazine. TimeLife_images 116635331, 116635254 and 116635323
    David Upton
    Photos added 1 December 2021
    Manchuria 161k
    Manchuria 214k

    Commanding Officers
    01CDR Charles Seymour Freeman, USN - USNA Class of 1900
    Awarded the Navy Cross (1918) and the Legion of Merit - Retired as Vice Admiral
    25 April 1918
    02LCDR A. Zeeder, USNRF1919
    Courtesy Joe Radigan

    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships:


    A region northeast of China from which in 1644 the Mongolian race conquered China and established a dynasty.

    Manchuria, a passenger liner transport, was laid down by the New York Shipbuilding Co., Camden, N.J., for the Pacific Mail Steamship Co., Camden, N.J., 3 September 1902; launched 2 November 1903; sponsored by Miss Laura Wick; acquired by the Navy from a subsidiary of International Mercantile Marine Co., Atlantic Transport Co., W. Va., 10 April 1918; and commissioned at New York 25 April 1918, Cmdr. Charles S. Freeman in command.

    Assigned to the Cruiser and Transport Force, Manchuria departed New York with the 18th Field Artillery and the 153d and 154th Infantry Battalions embarked for Europe. She arrived St. Nazaire, France, 13 May to debark her passengers. Five days after she returned to the east coast, arriving New York the 30th.

    The troop transport made 13 round trips to Europe with nine of them after the Armistice, bringing approximately 39,500 troops home. On 25 August 1919 she arrived New York, decommissioned there 11 September, and was returned to her owner.

    Manchuria continued service on the New York-Hamburg run, begun in 1919, until 1923, when she was shifted to the New York-San Francisco run to operate under another subsidiary of International Mercantile Marine Co., the Panama Pacific Line. On 1 November 1928 she was renamed President Johnson and sold 7 days later to Dollar Steamship Lines for round-the-world cruises. The ship was acquired by the Maritime Commission 26 October 1938 and operated by American President Lines.

    On 29 November 1941 President Johnson was acquired by the Army from WSA. She departed San Francisco for the Philippines 5 December but turned back on learning of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 2 days later. On the 27th she began the first of eight round trips to Honolulu, Hawaii, transporting troops into September 1942. On 8 November the ship sailed from San Francisco for the South Pacific to spend the next 2 years in support of the amphibious operations which had penetrated by July 1945 to the Japanese home islands. With stops at Eniwetok and Guam, Marshalls; Ulithi. Carolines; Peleliu, Palaus; and Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides, long behind her, President Johnson returned to San Francisco 14 January 1946 to end her World War II service with the Army.

    She was returned to the Maritime Commission 26 April 1946 and sold to Tagus Navigational Co., Panama City, Panama. Renamed Santa Cruz, she was chartered to Societa Saicen, Savona, Italy, in 1948 to transport Italian war refugees to South America. The transport was scrapped at Savona, Italy, 12 January 1962.

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