(PY: dp. 237; l. 167'9"; b. 20'; dr. 6'; s. 16 k.; cpl. 49; a. 23-pdr.)
As a verb, to send off or away, to dispose of speedily, to execute quickly. As a noun, a message sent with speed.
The fifth Despatch (No. 68) was built in 1913 by Gas Engine and Power Co., and Charles L. Seabury Co., Morris Heights, New York as Vixen; purchased by the Navy 6 August 1917; commissioned as Vixen 10 August 1917, Ensign J. D. Lonsdale, USNRF, in command; and renamed Despatch 21 August 1917. She was classified PY-8, 17 July 1920.
Serving as tender with the Atlantic Fleet, Despatch operated on the Atlantic coast between Norfolk and New London, in Chesapeake Bay, and in the Potomac River. She carried men, mail, and supplies to the Fleet, transported government officials and high-ranking officers between Washington, D.C., and the bases of the Norfolk area, and carried Commander, Battleship Force One on inspection cruises. Between 13 March 1919 and 23 June, she was flagship for Commander, Division Four, Battleship Force, in Hampton Roads, and between 15 July 1919 and 12 April 1920 was out of commission at Norfolk.
Despatch was assigned to duty as flagship and tender for the Military Governor of Santo Domingo, and reported for her new duty 26 June 1920. For the next year she carried officials on inspection tours in the Caribbean, and delivered passengers, mail, and stores to ships and stations in the West Indies. She returned to New York 10 August 1921 to resume tender duty with the Atlantic Fleet, serving temporarily as flagship. During these last few months of her career, she was at sea only for two brief voyages between New York and Newport. Decommissioned 9 December 1921 at New York, she was given to the State of Florida on 10 May 1928 in accordance with an Act of Congress approved 10 March 1928.