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NavSource Online: Identification Numbered Vessel Photo Archive

West Grama (ID 3794)

Civilian call sign (1919):
Love - Nan - Sail - Quack


  • Built in 1918 by Los Angeles Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., Los Angeles, CA
  • Launched 4 July 1918
  • Acquired by the Navy 9 January 1919 at San Pedro, CA and commissioned the same day
  • Decommissioned 16 June 1919 at Norfolk, VA, struck from the Navy list and returned to the United States Shipping Board
  • Acquired by the American Republics Line in 1926
  • Laid up in 1939
  • Sunk as a block ship (8 June 1944 at San Lorenzo, France.


  • Displacement 12,225 t.
  • Length 423' 9"
  • Beam 54'
  • Draft 24' 2"
  • Depth of hold 29' 9"
  • Speed 10.5 kts.
  • Complement 70
  • Propulsion: Three oil fired Foster boilers, one 3,000hp vertical triple-expansion steam engine, one shaft
    1926 - Replaced by one 3,000hp 6-cylinder McIntosh and Seymour diesel engine.

    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    USS West Grama (ID 3794)
    West Grama 118k Underway, possibly while in Naval service in 1919
    U.S. Navy photos NH 102521 and NH 102522
    Naval Historical Center
    West Grama 117k
    West Grama 99k Photographed on 7 January 1919 by her builder, the Los Angeles Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co, San Pedro, California
    National Archive photo from
    Robert Hurst
    West Grama 83k Photographed on 11 March 1919
    Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2009
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 106600
    SS West Grama
    West Grama 133k Lexington (CV-2) in the final stages of fitting out, at the Bethlehem Steel Company Shipyard, Quincy, Massachusetts, in November 1927. The merchant ship partially visible at right is the SS West Grama (ex-USS West Grama, ID-3794).
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 51325
    Robert Hurst

    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships History: West Grama, a steel-hulled, single-screw cargo vessel built at Los Angeles, Calif., under a United States Shipping Board contract by the Los Angeles Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., was launched on 4 July 1918, was taken over by the Navy on 9 January 1919 at San Pedro, Calif., for operation by the Naval Overseas Transportation Service (NOTS); and was commissioned there on the same day, Lt. Comdr. Eugene McCarthy, USNRF, in command.

    After boiler repairs at the Union Iron Works, San Francisco, West Grama loaded a cargo of flour and departed San Francisco on 28 January, bound for Norfolk, VA. She transited the Panama Canal on 14 February and, after a four day layover in the Canal Zone, resumed her voyage on the 19th. Six days later, on the 25th, she sighted a waterlogged vessel, altered course to investigate, and soon found the half-sunken American schooner Nettie Shipman; West Grama passed close aboard, saw no signs of life, and continued her voyage, eventually reaching Hampton Roads, VA., three days later. After undergoing general repairs and replenishing her fuel, West Grama got underway on 13 March and headed for the Mediterranean. She paused at Gibraltar before moving on to the Near East. She discharged part of her cargo of flour at Constantinople, Turkey, and unloaded the remainder at Varna, Bulgaria, before returning via Gibraltar to the United States. On the return passage she carried a mixed cargo of 13 depth charges and 218 tons of miscellaneous items which she delivered after her arrival at Norfolk on 11 June.

    Decommissioned there on 16 June, West Grama was returned to the Shipping Board that same day, and her name was simultaneously struck from the Navy list. After brief active service under the auspices of the Shipping Board, West Grama was laid up in reserve in the mid-1920's. She was later converted to burn oil fuel instead of coal and returned to active service in the late 1930's as a motor ship, under the auspices of the Shipping Board's successor agency, the United States Maritime Commission.

    Armed and given a Navy guard detachment during World War II, West Grama supported the war effort into 1944 and received a battle star for her service during the Normandy landings in June 1944. After having apparently lived out her usefulness, the erstwhile NOTS cargo vessel and merchantman was sunk as a block ship at San Lorenzo, France, on 16 July 1944.

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