El Occidente served both the U. S. Army and the Navy
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|SS El Occidente
|Photographed prior to her World War I era Naval service
U.S. Navy photo NH 70470
|Naval Historical Center
|USS El Occidente (ID 3307)
|Navy cargo ship photographed circa early 1919. Location may be the Gironde River, France, off the American Bassens port facility. This ship is either El Oriente (ID-4505), or El Occidente (ID-3307), or El Sol (ID-4505). What may be a name board on her bridge face indicates, from its length, that El Occidente is the more likely identification. The ship still carries her bow gun, and is still in freighter configuration. El Oriente and El Sol were converted to transports in the spring of 1919, while El Occidente was decommissioned in March of that year.
Donation of Dr. Mark Kulokoski, 2008
Naval Historical Center photo NH 106039
After conversion to an animal transport, El Occidente sailed to Norfolk to load cargo which included 585 horses and mules, sailing for France 17 September 1918. She offloaded her cargo at St. Nazaire and Verdon, and returned to Norfolk 1 November, to load for a second voyage, carrying 1,467 tons of cargo and 800 animals to Verdon between 17 November and 19 December.
Returning to Baltimore for repairs and alterations which included the removal of her armament and the stalls for animal cargo, El Occidente sailed again 15 January 1919 for Bordeaux where she unloaded cargo for the Army of Occupation and embarked 90 passengers for return to the United States. She was decommissioned at New York 18 March 1919, and delivered to the Shipping Board the same day.
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