Liberty, a 6336 gross ton (13,130 tons displacement) freighter, was completed at Kearny, New Jersey, in October 1918. She was commissioned in the Navy in October 1918 as USS Liberty (ID # 3461). The new ship sailed from New York in mid-October with a convoy bound for Bordeaux, France, but soon had to put back to New York for repairs. Liberty arrived at Brest, France, with another convoy in early November and then moved to St. Nazaire to deliver her cargo of horses and general supplies. Returning to New York in December, she loaded general cargo and food supplies which she delivered at Le Havre, France, in January 1919. A third round trip voyage followed in March and April, during which the freighter carried a general Army cargo to La Pallice, France and a cargo of steel rails back to Newport News, Virginia. USS Liberty was decommissioned in May 1919 and returned to the U.S. Shipping Board.
The U.S. Army acquired Liberty in 1939 or 1940, probably from the reserve fleet, and placed her in operation as USAT Liberty. In May 1941 the Army and Navy agreed that the Navy would eventually take over and man the larger Army ships, and under this plan the Navy designation AK-35 was assigned to Liberty. The Navy was not able to find the personnel to man her, however, and she remained an Army ship. While operating near Bali, in the Netherlands East Indies, on 11 January 1942 USAT Liberty was torpedoed by the Japanese submarine I-166, beached and written off.
This page features the only view we have concerning S.S. Liberty, USS Liberty, and USAT Liberty.
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Photo #: NH 70459
USS Liberty (ID # 3461)
Fitting out at the yard of her builder, the Federal Shipbuilding Co., Kearny, New Jersey, circa September 1918. This freighter was in commission from October 1918 to May 1919.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
Online Image: 82KB; 740 x 485 pixels
Page made 1 December 2007
Text corrected 31 December 2007