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General W. C. Gorgas

(Sir.: dp. 8,000; l. 386'; b. 45'3"; dr. 24'4"; s. 10 k.; cpl. 154; trp. 1,200; a. none)

William Crawford Gorgas, born in Mobile, Ala., 3 October 1854, was educated at the University of the South and graduated from Bellevue Hospital Medical College in 1879. He entered the Army Medical Corps in 1880. During the Spanish-American War, he was sent to Cuba and permanently rid Havana of yellow fever. In 1904 he was sent to the Isthmus of Panama, where his successful fight against yellow fever and malaria insured completion of the canal. He served (1914-18) as Surgeon General of the United States and in 1916 was promoted to Major General. After he retired from the Army in 1918, General Gorgas was active throughout the world fighting tropical disease until he died in London 3 July 1920.

General W. C. Gorgas, former Hamburg-America Lines Prinz Sigismund, was built in 1902 by Neptun Aktiengesellschaft, Schiffswerft & Maschinenfabrik, Rostock, Germany. Seized by USSB on entry of the United States in World War I, she carried troops and cargo to Europe under charter operations of the Panama Railroad & Steamship Co., New York. After conversion to a troop transport, she was turned over to the Navy and commissioned 8 March 1919, Lt. Comdr. James Edward Stone, USNRF, in command.

General W. C. Gorgas, assigned to the Crusier and Transport Force, departed New York 25 April 1919 to embark Army troops and load cargo at Bordeaux, France, and return to Philadelphia 2 June 1919. She again sailed for Bordeaux 5 June 1919, returning to Newport News, Va., 4 July 1919. She brought home 2,063 troops from France in these two transatlantic voyages.

General W. C. Gorgas decommissioned at New York 28 July 1919 and returned the same date to US SB. Prior to World War II, she was operated on commercial routes by Libby, McNeill & Libby. In November 1941 she was chartered by the War Department for troop transport service between Seattle and Alaskan ports. She continued her Army troopship duties to Alaska until returned to WSA at Seattle in January 1945. Transferred by that agency to Soviet Russia in 1945, she was renamed Mikhail Lomonosov.

Published: Fri Jul 10 10:24:06 EDT 2015