A river in Virginia.
(Steamer: displacement 17,000; length 471’2” (between perpendiculars); beam 59’2”; draft 26’6”; speed 11.5 knots; complement 155; armament 1 5”, 1 3”)
The first Rappahannock (Id. No. 1854) was launched in 1913 as SS Pommern by the Bremer-Vulcan yards, Vegesack, Germany. A North German Lloyd Line ship, Pommern was voluntarily interned in the United States at the outbreak of World War I in Europe and was seized when America entered the war. She was then assigned to the Navy by the U.S. Shipping Board; converted; delivered to the Navy 7 December 1917; renamed Rappahannock; and commissioned 8 December 1917.
Assigned to the Naval Overseas Transportation Service as an animal transport, Rappahannock completed her fourth transatlantic run to France on 16 November 1918, 5 days after the Armistice. Remaining in NOTS until transferred to Train, Atlantic Fleet, on 4 February 1919, she completed one more round-trip from New York to Europe before being assigned temporary reserve status at Portsmouth in the summer of 1919. She was returned to active status in June 1922 with the designation AF-6 and, for the next 2½ years, carried cargo for both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets.
Rappahannock decommissioned 10 December 1924 and remained in reserve at Mare Island until struck from the Navy list 19 July 1933. She was sold to the Luckenbach SS Co., New York City on 5 October 1933; was renamed SS William Luckenbach; and operated under that name through World War II. Sold to an Italian firm in November 1946, she continued her merchant service under the Italian flag through the end of the decade.
16 September 2005