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Pocahontas III (SP-3044)

(SP-3044: dp. 18,000; l. 564-; b. 62-2-; dr. 28-6-; s. 16 k.; cpl. 610; a. 4 6-, 2 3-, 2 1-pdrs., 1 mg.)

An Algonquin princess, daughter of Powhatan, who saved Capt. John Smith's life while he was a prisoner of her father's warriors. She subsequently married John Rolfe and died in England in 1617. Counties in Iowa and West Virginia and towns in Arkansas, Iowa, and Virginia are named for Pocahontas.


The second Pocahontas (SP-3044), formerly Princess Irene, was launched 19 June 1900 by Aktiengesellschaft Vulkan, Stettin, Germany for North German Lloyd Lines. She was seized by the United States under authority of the Presidential Proclamation of 6 April 1917, and after refitting and training with the Atlantic Fleet, she commissioned as Princess Irene 25 July 1917, Comdr. Junius F. Hellweg in command. She was assigned to the Cruiser-Transport Force under Rear Admiral Albert Gleaves and was renamed Pocahontas 1 September 1917.

Throughout World War I, and for nearly a year after the Armistice, Pocahontas served faithfully as a troop transport, completing eighteen round trips to Europe. She carried 24,573 servicemen to Brest and St. Nazaire and returned 23,296 servicemen to the United States.

Although Pocahontas managed to convey all of her passengers safely, she faced numerous dangers. The most serious incident occurred in the forenoon of 2 May 1918 when a German submarine surfaced in her path and straddled her with 5.9" shells. Captain Edward C. Kalfbus ordered the crew to battle stations and gave the signal to open fire. Unfortunately the submarine was not within range of Pocahontas' guns. Although fragments of enemy shells fell on the ship, she was not directly hit and suffered no casualties. The transport commenced zig-zag courses, and then at full speed drew away from the submarine, probably U-151, twenty minutes after the attack began. Making a record of 16.2 knots, she kept the enemy astern. For saving the ship Captain Kalfbus was awarded the Navy Cross.

Pocahontas decommissioned at Brooklyn, N.Y. 7 November 1919 and was returned to her owner.

Published: Fri Aug 21 10:03:59 EDT 2015