A river, a village, a county, and a group of springs—all located in Florida.
(Freighter: dp. 12,186; l. 423'9"; b. 54'0"; dph. 29'9"; dr. 24'2" (mean); s. 11.5 k.; cpl. 62; a. 1 5", 1 6-pdr.)
The first Wakulla—a steel-hulled, single-screw cargo vessel built under a contract from the United States Shipping Board (USSB) at Los Angeles, Calif., by the Los Angeles Shipbuilding and Drydock Co.—was launched on 14 January 1918; acquired by the United States Navy on 22 June 1918; and commissioned on 26 June, at San Francisco, Lt. Comdr. Albert J. McAlman, USNRF, in command.
Wakulla—designated Id. No. 3147—loaded a capacity cargo of flour and sailed for the east coast of the United States on 21 July. En route, the freighter underwent repairs at Balboa, Panama, from 11 to 18 August. Making port at New York on 27 August, Wakulla bunkered, underwent further repairs, and sailed for Sydney, Nova Scotia, on 7 September. Six days later, the cargo vessel joined a convoy bound for the British Isles and made arrival at Dublin, Ireland, on 29 September.
After unloading her cargo there, Wakulla shifted to Liverpool, England, late in October. Underway from Liverpool on 9 November, Wakulla was en route to New York when the armistice of 11 November stilled the guns of World War I.
Loading a cargo of foodstuffs earmarked for the French Government, Wakulla departed New York a week before Christmas of 1918, only to turn back for repairs, arriving back at New York on 21 December. She remained under repairs into 1919 before finally departing, sailing again for France on 28 January 1919. Arriving at Bordeaux on 19 February, Wakulla discharged her cargo; loaded 1,000 tons of Army ordnance materiel; and departed France on 29 March, bound for home. After arriving at New York on 13 April, she was decommissioned at Hoboken, N.J., on 18 April 1919 and simultaneously struck from the Navy list.
Returned to the USSB, Wakulla operated actively out of Los Angeles, Calif., until 1923, when she was laid up, in reserve. The cargo vessel remained in this status until abandoned, due to age and deterioration, during the first half of 1931
Wakulla in "dazzle" camouflage during her brief World War I service. (NH 65036)