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West Elcajon (Cargo Ship)


The Navy retained the name carried by this vessel at the time she was acquired.

(Cargo Ship: displacement 12,225; length 423'9" (overall); beam 54'0";  dph. 29' 9"; dr. 24'2" (mean); speed 11.5 knots; complement 70; armament (none)

West Elcajon, a steel-hulled, single-screw freighter built in 1918 under a United States Shipping Board contract at Seattle, Wash., by the Skinner & Eddy Corp., was taken over by the Navy for duty with the Naval Overseas Transportation Service (NOTS) and commissioned at the Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Wash., on 18 January 1919, Lt. Cmdr. Roy W. Look, USNRF, in command.

West Elcajon sailed on 1 February 1919 for Norfolk, Va., laden with 7,282 tons of flour consigned to the United States Food Administration for transport to the needy hungry left in the aftermath of the Great War [World War I]. The ship proceeded through the Panama Canal and arrived at Hampton Roads on 5 March. She moved to Baltimore on the same day and replenished her fuel supply for the transatlantic voyage to come. She got underway on 12 March, bound via Gibraltar for the Adriatic. Arriving at Trieste on 8 April, she unloaded part of her cargo. Shifting later to Palermo, Italy, she delivered the remainder of her cargo and sailed for New York on the 26th.

On 15 May 1919, West Elcajon arrived at New York and was decommissioned 11 days later. Returned to the Shipping Board, she remained in its custody until sold to the Oceanic & Oriental Navigation Co. in 1928. Homeported in San Francisco and renamed Golden Kauri, the freighter served that company until hoisting the flag of the Matson Navigation Line in 1939.

Renamed Waipio, the ship carried on in the freight and cargo trade through World War II, still home-ported in San Francisco, operating under a term charter agreement  under Matson's house flag from 25 March 1942, then again under a general agency agreement begining on 7 July 1944, then again from 14 May 1946.

In June 1946, the veteran cargo carrier again changed hands, this time to the Campania Paralos de Vapores, S.A., of Panama. Her name changed for the third time, and she became Paralos II, operating under Panamanian registry into the mid-1950's when she ceased to be listed in merchant vessel registers.

Updated,. Robert J. Cressman

1 February 2024

Published: Thu Feb 01 12:46:10 EST 2024