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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
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West Gotomska

 

(Freighter: dp. 12,225; l. 423'9"; b. 54'; dph. 29'9"; dr. 24'1" (mean); s. 11.0 k.; cpl. 70; a. 1 5", 1 3")

 

West Gotomska (Id. No. 3322)—a steel-hulled, single-screw freighter built under a United States Shipping Board contract at Seattle, Wash., by Skinner and Eddy Corp.—was launched on 17 July 1918; taken over by the Navy for use by the Naval Overseas Transportation Service (NOTS); assigned Identification Number 3322; and commissioned at Seattle on 7 August 1918, Lt. Comdr. C. J. O'Brien, USNRF, in command.

 

West Gotomska got underway on 17 August for Arica, Chile, and, upon arrival, loaded a full cargo of guano for shipment via the Panama Canal to New Orleans, La. Making port at New Orleans on 11 October, West Gotomska discharged her cargo of nitrates and loaded a full cargo of Army supplies earmarked for American troops. She sailed for France on 10 November and arrived at Quiberon Bay on the 25th. After unloading, she headed back to the United States with 2,100 tons of Army return cargo four days before Christmas of 1918.

 

Following her arrival at Norfolk, Va., on 6 January 1919, West Gotomska unloaded and took on board 5,182 tons of fuel oil and sailed on the 25th for La Pallice, France. Following this voyage, the freighter conducted a second run to La Pallice with Army cargo before returning, via the Azores and Philadelphia, to Hampton Roads, Va.

 

Decommissioned and struck from the Navy list on 6 June 1919, West Gotomska subsequently operated out of Seattle, under the aegis of the Shipping Board, into the 1920's and 1930's, when the Maritime Commission was established. Her documentary trail runs cold in 1942, and there is no record as to her final fate. One source does indicate, however, that the ship—armed and assigned a Navy gun crew—served in the arduous Russian convoy runs between December 1941 and February 1943 and, in fact, received one battle star for this service.