(Yacht: dp. 218; 1. 122'0" (wl.); b. 21'0" (wl.); dr. 8'6" (mean); s. 11.75 k.; cpl. 43; a. 1 3-pdr., 3 6mm. nig.)
The first Viking—an iron-hulled, steam yacht built in 1883 at Chester, Pa., by John Roach—was acquired by the Navy on 22 April 1898 from Mr. Horace A. Hutchins for service in the Spanish-American War. Converted for naval service at New York, she was placed in commission there on 11 May 1898, Lt. Henry Minett in command.
Assigned to the North Atlantic Fleet as a dispatch ship, Viking remained at New York for the next two months. On 12 July, she departed New York bound for the blockading forces off the Cuban coast. After brief stops at Port Royal, S.C., and Key West, Fla., she joined the Fleet in Cuban waters on 28 July. After three weeks of duty carrying orders, messages, and passengers between ships on station on the blockade, Viking ended her brief war service without having participated in any combat. She headed back to Key West on 16 August, remained overnight, and then continued her voyage—via Port Royal—to Hampton Roads, Va. She remained in the Hampton Roads-Norfolk area until 8 September when she headed up Chesapeake Bay to Annapolis, Md. After a two-day visit, she returned to Norfolk on the 11th.
She was placed out of commission there on 22 September. Viking remained at Norfolk until 29 September 1899 at which time she was reactivated for a bit more than three weeks of service which ended on 23 October. On 9 December 1899, Viking was transferred to the War Department. No records telling of her Army service or of her ultimate disposition have been found.
The steel-hulled steam yacht Viking—built in 1909 at Wilmington, Del., by Pusey and Jones—was owned by George F. Baker, Jr., of New York City when inspected by the Navy for possible use as a section patrol vessel. Records concerning this ship are sparse. Although an order for her acquisition was issued by the Navy on 13 June 1917, and the ship received the classification SP-618, apparently she saw no active naval service. No deck logs or other documents which might substantiate any actual service have been found. She was returned to her owner sometime in late 1917— probably either in November or December.