Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Western Spirit
(Freighter: dp. 12,185; l. 423'9"; b. 54'0"; dph. 29'9"; dr. 24' -" (mean); s. 10.5 k.; cpl. 97; a. 1 4", 1 3")

Western Spirit, a single-screw, steel-hulled freighter constructed under a United States Shipping Board (USSB) contract at Portland, Oreg., by the Northwestern Steel Co., was launched on 6 May 1918; was taken over by the Navy on 19 July 1918; designated Id. No. 3164; and commissioned at Portland on 30 July 1918, Lt. Comdr. Howard H. Rees, USNRF, in command.

Assigned to the Naval Overseas Transportation Service (NOTS), Western Spirit departed Portland on 26 July for Arica, Chile. There she loaded a cargo of nitrates and proceeded via the Panama Canal to Louisiana. The cargo vessel arrived at New Orleans on 11 September; unloaded; and sailed on the 23d for Hampton Roads, Va. Soon after arriving at Norfolk, she onloaded some 4,000 tons of general Army supplies and sailed on 13 October for New York to join an east-bound convoy for France.

Underway on the 16th, Western Spirit developed engine trouble and was forced to put in to Halifax, Nova Scotia, for emergency repairs which delayed her until 2 November. Arriving at Verdon-sur-Mer on the 20th, the cargo vessel discharged her cargo, took on a return Army equipment cargo, and got underway on 18 December for the United States.

Returning to Norfolk on 7 January 1919, Western Spirit conducted one more cargo-carrying voyage for NOTS. She departed Norfolk on 19 February, carrying railroad supplies and a cargo of goods consigned to the Army Quartermaster Corps, and arrived at La Pallice, France, on 10 March. On the 23d, the cargo vessel departed French waters, bound for home, and reached Norfolk on 11 April.

Western Spirit was decommissioned on 17 April 1919 and returned to the USSB. She remained in the custody of that agency until abandoned, due to age and deterioration, in 1933.

Published: Tue Oct 27 09:06:35 EDT 2015