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Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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West Madaket
(Freighter: dp. 12,225; l. 423'9"; b. 54'0"; dph. 29'9"; dr. 24'2" (mean); s. 11.5 k.; cpl. 94; a. none)

West Madaket, a single-screw, steel-hulled freighter built under a United States Shipping Board contract at Seattle, Wash., by the Skinner and Eddy Corp., was acquired by the Navy for duty with the Naval Overseas Transportation Service (NOTS); designated Id. No. 3636; and was commissioned on 31 October 1918 at the Puget Sound Navy Yard, Lt. Comdr. B. U. Heald, USNRF, in command.

Completing her sea trials too late to see wartime service with NOTS, West Madaket sailed for the east coast one week after the signing of the armistice, on 18 November, laden with a cargo of flour consigned to European food relief. Voyaging via the Panama Canal, the cargo vessel arrived at New York on 16 December and departed three days before Christmas, bound for Europe. She made port at Falmouth, England, on 5 January 1919 and pushed on, that same day, for Rotterdam, Holland, where she busied herself discharging her 7,031 tons of flour until 23 January.

Returning to New York on 9 February, West Madaket loaded 6,841 tons of general cargo and conducted onemore voyage for NOTS, to Verdon-sur-Mer, France, before arriving back at New York on 28 April. Decommissioned on 8 May at Newport News, Va., and returned to the Shipping Board on the same day, West Madaket remained in the custody of that agency until the establishment of the Maritime Commission, and she continued with the commission on freight-carrying voyages into World War II. On 5 May 1943, while steaming with Convoy ONS-5, the venerable cargo vessel was sunk in the Atlantic by torpedoes from German submarine U-707.

Published: Wed Oct 28 14:33:00 EDT 2015