Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Volunteer II (Collier)

(Collier: dp. 16,100 (n.); 1. 410'0"; b. 56'0"; dr. 30'6" (aft); s. 10.5k.; cpl. 70)


The second Volunteer (Id. No. 3242) was launched on 18 May 1918 at Alameda, Calif., by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp. for the United States Shipping Board. She was delivered to the Navy on 23 August 1918 and was placed in commission on that same day, Lt. Comdr. John G. Moreno, USNRF, in command.

Pressed into service as a collier, Volunteer set sail from San Francisco on 7 September, bound for the Far East. During that voyage, she made port calls at Shanghai and Hong Kong before arriving at Manila on 24 October. From there, she moved south to Iloilo on the island of Panay, located in the central Philippines. She reached that port on 6 November and, after a false start and a return for additional fuel, finally set course back to the United States on 8 December. Volunteer reached Oahu on New Year's Day 1919 and remained in Hawaii until the 9th when she got underway for the east coast. The collier arrived in New York City on 15 February 1919. Twelve days later, she was placed out of commission and was returned to the United States Shipping Board. Her name was struck from the Navy list on that same day, 27 February 1919. Volunteer remained in the possession of the United States Shipping Board until 1937 at which time she was sold to the Lykes Brothers-Ripley Steamship Co., of New Orleans, La. That company operated her under the name SS Volunteer until 1948 when her name disappeared from the mercantile lists.


Volunteer (SP-207), a wooden-hulled motorboat built in 1906 at East Boothbay, Maine, was inspected during the summer of 1918 for duty with the section patrol. The 1918 Naval Vessel Register, which listed her as a "water boat", indicates that she was commissioned in the Navy on 23 August 1918. However, that information is probably erroneous for two reasons: first, the 1919 edition of the Naval Vessel Register indicates that she was "not taken over," and she is not listed in the lists of district vessels found in the 1918 and 1919 issues of the Navy Directory. Second, there was another Volunteer (Id. No. 3242) which served in the Naval Overseas Transportation Service; and her commissioning date was, in fact, 23 August 1918. It seems likely that the compilers of the 1918 Naval Vessel Register confused the two ships and that Volunteer (SP-207) never saw service with the Navy.

Published: Fri Oct 23 12:33:11 EDT 2015