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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
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Walter A. Luckenbach

 

(ScStr. dp. 17,170; l. 469'3"; b.  B5'11"; dr. 30'7" (mean); s. 14.0 k.; cpl. 70)

 

Walter A. Luckenbach (Id. No. 3171)—a steamer launched on 19 December 1917 by the Seattle Construction & Drydock Co. for the Luckenbach Steamship Co. —was taken over by the United States Shipping Board early in 1918; delivered to the Navy on 9 June 1918; and commissioned that same day at Seattle, Wash., Lt. Comdr. James A. McDonald, USNRF, in command.

 

Assigned to the Naval Overseas Transportation Service, Walter A. Luckenbach sailed from Seattle on 13 June; but an unsuccessful series of trials forced her to put into the Mare Island Navy Yard for further work and repairs. Those modifications were completed on 18 August, and she returned to sea. Walter A. Luckenbach entered Mejillones, Chile, and loaded 10,000 tons of nitrates. She departed the Chilean port on 10 September, transited the Panama Canal, and arrived at Norfolk, Va., on the 24th. After discharging her cargo and completing voyage repairs, the ship cleared Capes Henry and Charles on 7 October and headed for Philadelphia. There, she loaded Army supplies bound for Europe and, on 29 October, headed for France. After a stop at Gibraltar, Walter A. Luckenbach arrived in Marseille on 14 November—three days after the armistice was signed—discharged her cargo, and loaded ballast for the return voyage. She stood out of Marseille on 26 November, stopped briefly at Gibraltar once again, and arrived in New York on 11 December.

 

On the day of her arrival, Walter A. Luckenbach was detached from the Naval Overseas Transportation Service and was reassigned to the Transport Force. At New York, she was converted to a troop transport to help in the task of bringing home American troops from Europe. By 22 January 1919, the ship was ready to begin her role in that large movement of people. Between late January and early July, Walter A. Luckenbach made five round-trip voyages to France, two to Bordeaux and three to St. Nazaire. She returned to New York from her final voyage on 11 July; was decommissioned at Hoboken, N.J., on 28 July 1919; and was returned to the Luckenbach Steamship Co. that same day. She entered into mercantile service with that company and labored in its behalf until 1950. During that year, she changed hands and names twice. First, she was sold to the New Orleans Coal & Bisso Towboat Co., Inc., and briefly served the company as SS A. L. Bisso. Later in the year, the Turkish firm Marsa Ithalat-Ithracat, T.A.S., bought her and renamed her SS Mardin. She served that firm and under that name for the remainder of her mercantile career. By 1955, her name had been dropped from the merchant vessel lists