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NavSource Online: Civilian Vessel Photo Archive

USAT Edmund B. Alexander
ex-USAT Edmund B. Alexander
ex-USAT America
ex-USS America (ID 3006)
ex-USS Amerika (ID 3006)

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from left to right
World War I Victory Medal (with Transport clasp)


  • Laid down in 1904 as Amerika by Harland and Wolff, Ltd., Belfast, Ireland for the Hamburg-America Line of Germany
  • Launched 20 April 1905
  • Seized by United States Shipping Board (USSB) 25 July 1917
  • Commissioned, USS Amerika (ID 3006), 5 August 1917 at the Boston Navy Yard, Boston, MA
  • Renamed America 1 September 1917
  • Decommissioned 26 September 1919 at Hoboken, NJ and simultaneously commissioned into the U.S. Army Transportation Service as USAT America
  • Returned to the USSB in 1920 and assigned to the United States Mail Steamship Co. and later to the United States Line
  • Refurbished for passenger service and placed back in commercial service 22 June 1921
  • In January 1929, rescued the thirty-two man crew of the Italian steamship Florida in freezing weather and violent snow squalls. America was heading to New York from France. As she battled her way
    through a major storm, the liner picked up distress signals from Florida. Navigating with the aid of a radio direction finder, the America fixed a location on the Italian ship, and late the following afternoon on January 28, 1929, sighted the endangered vessel. Pulling alongside of Florida's weather beam, America launched a lifeboat, commanded by her chief officer, Harry Manning, with an eight-man crew. Manning's crew rowed the lifeboat to within fifty feet of the listing Florida, and a line was thrown to the frantic crew of the freighter. One by one, men from the Italian ship came across the rope. By the time the Florida's captain had been pulled on board the lifeboat as the last man, winds were gale force, and the seas were rough and high. After rowing the lifeboat back to the America, her sailors helped haul aboard the survivors of the Florida using ladders, ropes, cargo nets, and two homemade breeches buoy. The breeches buoys were basically zip lines tied from America's large life raft containing the rescued crew of the Florida to the waiting America
  • Laid up at Point Patience, MD in 1931
  • Acquired by the Army 17 October 1940 and renamed USAT Edmund B. Alexander
  • In 1935 the Army and Navy had agreed that the Army would operate its own ships except where naval opposition was expected, in which case the ships would be Navy manned. However, experience in
    the first part of World War II indicated that naval opposition by the enemy, in the form of submarines, could be encountered anywhere. In April 1941 the CNO proposed to the Chief of Staff of the Army that a board review the issue. The Board recommended on 28 April 1941 that the Army "surrender operation of its transport service for the term of the present emergency" following procedures that it enumerated, the first of which was that the Navy would commission the Army transports with Navy crews as soon as possible. On 15 May 1941 the Auxiliary Vessels Board directed the implementation of this plan, and on 22 May 1941 the Secretary of War approved the transfer of the ships, noting that jurisdiction over each ship was to pass at the time it was manned by the Navy. On 5 June 1941 the Secretary of the Navy approved names for the 26 ships, 23 of which, including Edmund B. Alexander, were to retain their Army names. The hull numbers AP 20-36 (less 23), AK 32-40, and APL-1 (for the barracks ship in Newfoundland) were soon assigned to them. The Navy manned, took over, and converted three ships (AP 25-27) practically immediately, but it then found that it did not have the personnel to man the remaining ships and on 7 July 1941 made the first of many revisions to the commissioning schedule. Ultimately the Navy was able to man only 15 of the 26 ships (all AP's), of which it later returned five to the Army. The Navy directive for manning the others, including APL-1, was canceled on 30 March 1942. Their hull numbers were officially listed as "not used" and the ships remained under Army control
  • Placed in reserve 28 January 1951 at Hawkin's Point, MD
  • Sold for scrap 16 January 1967 to the Bethlehem Steel Co. of Baltimore, MD.


  • Displacement 41,700 t.
  • Length 687'
  • Beam 74' 3"
  • Draft 39' 5¼"
  • Speed 17.5 kts.(max.)
  • Complement 1,004
  • Armament: Six 6"/50 mounts, two 1-pounders and two .30 cal. Colt machine guns
  • Propulsion: Eight double ended boilers, two 7,800hp vertical quadruple expansion steam engines, two shafts.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    SS Amerika
    America 151k Photographed prior to World War I
    U.S. Navy photo NH 57603
    Naval Historical Center
    America 443k Library of Congress photo pnp/ggbain 13367 from the Bain Photo Service Robert Hurst
    America 52k Undated post cards Tommy Trampp
    America 91k
    America 263k
    America 106k
    America 120k
    America 160k Women's Salon
    America 203k Smoking Room
    America 189k Children's Room
    America 140k Ritz Carlton Restaurant
    America 207k Post card dated 1906
    America 141k Post card dated 13 July 1906 Hamburg, Germany and 23 July 1906 Cloversville, CT
    America 225k Post card dated 1907 Germany
    America 89k Post card dated September 1911
    America 96k Halftone reproduction of a photograph taken prior to World War I. 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 America
    Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski and Charles R. Haberlein Jr., 2009
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 106650-A
    Robert Hurst
    USS America (ID 3006)
    America 70k Photographed circa 1917, possibly while being prepared for U.S. Navy service
    U.S. Navy photo NH 94203
    Naval Historical Center
    America 133k At Boston, Massachusetts, 1917, with her topsides crowded with men. USN Derrick Barge 13 is at left, and USN Coal Barge 52 is alongside America in the right center
    Panoramic photograph by the George Photo Company, Boston
    Donation of Eleanor M. Anderson, 1975
    U.S. Navy photo NH 98237
    America 164k The ex-German passenger vessel Amerika, at the Boston Navy Yard, 14 August 1917 shortly after seizure by USSB undergoing conversion for Naval service.
    U.S. Navy photo from DANFS
    Joe Radigan, MACM, USN, Ret.
    America 161k View on deck, taken at the Boston Navy Yard, Massachusetts, on 17 October 1917, after completion of conversion to a troopship. View looks aft from her midships superstructure, with cargo-handling booms and winches in the foreground.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 57601
    Naval Historical Center
    America 114k c. Early-mid 1918
    With troops embarked
    Imperial War Museum American First World War Official Exchange Collection, photo IWM (Q 58242)
    Mike Green
    America 106k In harbor while painted in pattern camouflage, circa mid-1918
    Donation of Charles R. Haberlein Jr., 2009
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 106683
    Robert Hurst
    America 116k Halftone reproduction of a photograph showing the ship wearing pattern camouflage, circa mid-1918
    Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2008
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 106240
    America 120k Sunk at Hoboken, New Jersey, circa October-November 1918. America had accidently sunk at her dock on 15 October 1918. Raised on 21 November, she was repaired and returned to transport service in February 1919.
    Donation of John G. Krieger, 1967
    U.S. Navy photo NH 57604
    Naval Historical Center
    America 129k Under salvage at Hoboken, New Jersey, circa October-November 1918. She accidently sank at her pier on 15 October 1918
    Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation, Washington, D.C. Collection of Admiral Albert Gleaves, USN.
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 103244
    Robert Hurst
    America 200k America after she had been pumped out and refloated after sinking at her pier after seawater had poured through open coaling ports.
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo from "Great Liners at War" by Stephen Harding
    America 149k Under salvage at Hoboken, New Jersey, circa October-November 1918. She accidently sank at her pier on 15 October 1918. This photograph provides a close-up view of the ship's port side, amidships, showing men on her deck, signal flags drying and laundry hanging from railings, smokestack stays and other locations.
    Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation, Washington, D.C. Collection of Admiral Albert Gleaves, USN.
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 103245
    America 116k USS Don Juan de Austria, in the foreground. Leading America up Boston Harbor, Massachusetts, on 5 April 1919
    U.S. Navy photo NH 54586
    Naval Historical Center
    America 87k Steaming up Boston Harbor, Massachusetts, upon arrival from France with troops of the 26th Division on board, 5 April 1919
    U.S. Navy photo NH 57602
    America 103k Underway in 1919.
    Courtesy of Boatswain's Mate First Class Robert G. Tippins, USN (Retired), 2005
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 102869
    Robert Hurst
    America 121k America arriving in New York Harbor, with her decks crowded with troops returning home from France, 1919.
    Photographed by E. Muller Jr., New York
    Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2007
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 105432
    America 111k America arriving at a East Coast port at sunrise, bringing New England troops home from France, 1919. A submarine chaser (left foreground) and other craft are seen
    welcoming her.
    Donation of Charles R. Haberlein Jr., 2008
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 105777
    America 113k America with the 30th infantry, 18th field artillery aboard docking at New York on 20 August 1919
    Courtesy of Peter Moxzone
    Naval History and Heritage Command, Photo No. UA 571.124.01
    Mike Green
    SS America
    America 132k U.S. Navy photo Robert Hurst
    America 72k Undated post card Tommy Trampp
    America 139k Tobacco Card issued by W. D. and H. O. Wills, Bristol and London, England, 1924
    America 520k Photo from "Passenger Liners of the World Since 1893" (1979) by Nicholas T. Cairis
    USAT America
    America 87k Original photo: Photographed circa 1919.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 78268
    Replacement photo: USAT America photographed during the brief period in 1919-1920 during which she was operated by the Army after two years of World War I service in the Navy. Her appearance was probably similar to this during her service as an Army barracks ship in Newfoundland in 1941
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 78268
    Original photo: Naval Historical Center
    Replacement photo: Mike Green
    Agamemnon 149k c. 1939
    In the Patuxent River off Solomons Island, MD, four ex-German liners are laid up from left to right USAT Monticello, ex-USS Agamemnon (ID 3004; USAT Mount Vernon, ex-USS Mount Vernon (ID 4508); America and USAT George Washington, ex-USS George Washington (ID 3018)
    Joe Radigan
    USAT Edmund B. Alexander
    America 26k Namesake: Edmund Brooke Alexander (October 6, 1802 January 3, 1888) was an officer in the United States Army in the Mexican-American War through the American Civil War who rose to the rank of brevet Brigadier General in 1865.

    Alexander was born in Haymarket, Virginia and an 1823 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York along with Lorenzo Thomas, Alfred Mordecai and George S. Greene.

    He was a cadet at the Military Academy, Oct. 6, 1818, to July 1, 1823, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to Brevet Second Lieutenant in the 6th Infantry. He was shortly after promoted to Second Lieutenant in the 3d Infantry with the same date of rank.

    He served on frontier duty at Fort Atkinson, Council Bluffs, Iowa, 1824; in garrison at Detroit, Michigan., 1824-25, Green Bay, Wisconsin, 1825-26; Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, 1826-27; and Ft. Armstrong, Illinois, 1828-29; on Recruiting service, 1829-30; on frontier duty at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, 1830; and at Natchitoches, Louisiana, 1830-31.

    He served at Fort Towson, in the Indian Territory (IT) from 1831 to 1835; on Quartermaster duty at Fort Towson, IT, 1833-34, Fort Jesup, Louisiana, 1834-35, Ft. Towson, IT, 1835, Ft. Jesup, Louisiana, 1835-38, Fort Smith, Arkansas, 1839, Ft. Towson, IT, 1840, Ft. Jesup, Louisiana, 1840, Ft. Towson, IT, 1840.

    He served at Fort Smith, Arkansas from 1840 to 1846, during which he was briefly assigned to Washington, D. C. in 1844

    Tommy Trampp
    America 253k c. 1943/1945
    U.S. Army menus for Edmund B. Alexander
    America 146k In port, following World War II
    Donation of Captain Stephen S. Roberts, USNR (Retired), 2007
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 104966
    Robert Hurst
    America 110k National Archives photo from "U.S. Army Ships and Watercraft of World War II" by David H. Grover
    America 123k Edmund B. Alexander underway near Boston Light, Massachusetts, 6 January 1945. Photographed from a Squadron ZP-11 blimp
    National Archives photo 80-G-301393
    Naval Historical Center
    America 119k In port, circa 1945-1946
    Donation of Captain Stephen S. Roberts, USNR (Retired), 2007
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 104968
    Robert Hurst
    America/Edmund B. Alexander 144k USAT Edmund B. Alexander on the right side of the pier and USAT George Washington on the left side of the pier, laid up in reserve at Hawkins Point, in the harbor at Baltimore, MD, 2 August 1949
    Wirephoto thanks to Dave Schroeder
    John Chiquoine

    Commanding Officers
    01LCDR Frederick Lansing Oliver, USN - USNA Class of 1901
    Retired as Captain
    6 August 1917 - 16 August 1917
    02CAPT George Calvin Day, USN - USNA Class of 1892
    Awarded the Navy Cross (1918) - Retired as Rear Admiral
    16 August 1917
    03CAPT Zeno Everett Briggs, USN - USNA Class of 1898
    Awarded a Letter of Commendation (1918) - Retired as Captain
    1918 - 27 May 1919
    Commanding Officers
    01Captain J. Ford, Army Transport Service26 September 1919
    Commanding Officers
    01Captain George Fried, USMM - Awarded the Navy Cross (1923 - LT, USNR) and Valor Medal of the American Bureau of Shipping (1929)
    Retired as Captain
    1928 - 1930
    Courtesy Joe Radigan, Wolfgang Hechler and Gary Priolo

    View the America (ID 3006) DANFS History
    Back to the Main Photo Index Back to the Civilian Identification Numbered Ships (ID) Photo Index Back to the U.S. Army Transport Photo Index

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    This page created by Gary P. Priolo and maintained by Tom Bateman
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