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Civilian Identification Numbered Ships Photo Archive

USAT Buford
ex-USS Buford (ID 3818)

Navy call sign:
George - Watch - Boy - Nan

ex-USAT Buford

Buford served both the U. S. Army and Navy


  • Built in 1890 as Mississippi by Harland and Wolff, Ltd., Belfast, Ireland
  • Acquired by the Army in 1898 and renamed USAT Buford
  • Transferred to the Navy 14 January 1919 at New York
  • Commissioned USS Buford (ID 3818), 15 January 1919
  • The ship was used by the Department of Justice and Department of Labor to carry alleged undesirable Russian aliens back to Russia. For this deployment, the ship was nicknamed ‘Soviet Ark’ by the press
  • Decommissioned 2 September 1919 and returned to the Army Transport Service
  • Sold in 1923
  • Scrapped in 1929 in Japan.


  • Displacement 8,583 t.
  • Length 371'
  • Beam 44' 2"
  • Draft 26'
  • Speed 10 kts.
  • Complement 202
  • Armament: Two 3" mounts
  • Propulsion: Two double-ended boilers, one 375ihp Harland and Wolff triple expansion engine with 3 cylinders of 25 1/2", 42", and 70" diameter respectively; stroke 51", one shaft.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    USAT Buford
    Buford 257k USAT Buford probably photographed prior to World War I
    National Archives photo from 111-SC-89836 from the Army Signal Corps Collection
    Original photo: Naval Historical Center
    Replacement photo: Robert Hurst
    Photo added 9 January 2020
    Buford 176k Colon, Panama David Wright
    Buford 113k c. 1912
    Library of Congress photo LC-USZ62-40635
    Original photo: Mike Green
    Replacement photo: Robert Hurst
    Photo added 9 January 2020
    Buford 98k USAT Buford at Manzanillo, Mexico, to embark American refugees, October 1912
    Courtesy of Miss L. Wolford, Historical Section, U.S. Navy, 1926.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 54477
    Naval Historical Center
    Buford 132k USAT Buford at Colon, Panama, with 30th U.S. Infantry on board, 1915.
    Donation of Charles R. Haberlein Jr., 2008
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 105534
    Robert Hurst
    Buford 166k c. 1915
    Galveston, TX
    Courtesy Bain News Service, publisher
    Library of Congress photo ggbain.19849
    Buford 152k Post card dated 1939 showing USAT Buford at Q.M. Dock, Manila, Philippines © Richard Leonhardt
    USS Buford (ID 3818)
    Buford 129k USS Buford in port 1919, while employed bringing American service personnel home from Europe
    Donation of Dr Mark Kulikowski, 2006
    Naval Historical Center photo NH 103454
    Robert Hurst
    Buford 116k Underway in a U.S. East Coast harbor, with her decks crowded with troops, 1919
    Courtesy Charles R. Haberlein Jr., 2008
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 106387
    USAT Buford
    Buford 251k A short history for USAT Buford Gary Priolo
    Buford 80k 21 December 1919
    New York Harbor
    Photo caption:
    The United States army transport Buford, carrying 249 "Reds" as America's Christmas present to Lenine [Lenin] and Trotzky [Trotsky]
    Press Illustrating Service photo. Courtesy of Baruch College [City University of New York]
    Robert Hurst

    View the Buford (ID 3818)
    DANFS history entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway website
    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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