Talk:SS American Legion (1919)

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The page titled "USS American Legion (APA-17)" has a reference to the 5th Marine Division on Guadalcanal.

There was no 5th Marine division at the time of the Guadalcanal invasion. The first action of the 5th Division was Iwo Jima.

I think the author meant to say the 5th Marine Regiment which did land on Guadalcanal.

Would someone who knows how to edit please make this change.

George Clark - 5th Marines WWII —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:38, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Done, after a mis "correction" sometime in the past. Do not understand why so many cannot help but add "Division" when regiments are involved! DANFS is very clear and 5th Marine Regiment indeed there. Palmeira (talk) 17:58, 8 August 2015 (UTC)

Pre launch names[edit]

Contemporary references make clear the ship was launched as American Legion. McKellar's listing shows Koda as the original name without any reference to Badger State. The article in the 8 October 1920 issue of The American Legion Weekly with photo and description of the circumstances of the rename, launch attendees and launch photo supports other sources with the name being in effect at the 11 October 1919 launch. As the American Legion was a new organization at the time the naming of the ship was quite important so it is well documented and, apparently took place rapidly within the Harrisburg Convention in early October during which the name change request was made known and the launch a week later.

The 1919 War Department report offers a clue as to how Badger State got into the ship's history. Three transports the Army was considering had already been laid down: Wenatchee (hull 240), Sea Girt (hull 241) and Koda (hull 242) when the Shipping Board informed Army it was switching design from troop transports to passenger and cargo vessels. It was in connection with that design change for both the Design 1095 ship and these Design 1029 ships that the "State" names came into being. Since the memo with a date for the change is so far absent the likely sequence is those first transports of the design got the contract names of Wenatchee, Sea Girt and Koda, the plan changed, the State names were assigned to future hulls of the type and got applied to those existing hulls for a time, but they all got launched under the original names except Koda which, through the urging of the American Legion got hastily renamed in time for Mrs. Joseph S. Frelinghuysen to smash a bottle of Champagne on the bow of American Legion. Palmeira (talk) 17:45, 9 August 2015 (UTC)

An== Title == I don't think you should have changed the article name. The bulk of the article pertains to USS American Legion so it should stay under that name IMO. Gatoclass (talk) 16:08, 11 August 2015 (UTC)

That is because so far that "bulk of the article" is nothing more than a direct cut and paste from DANFS with lots of little paragraphing for every operation—something I plan to address. The vessel had considerable, and notable civilian service and Army transport operations. Navy collects all sorts of fairly insignificant status and such information along with very significant operations. The tendency to let DANFS "rule" on civilian ships with decades of notable commercial service over a couple of years transport activity is undue preference IMO. First name or longest used name for commercial vessels, unless the naval service is so famous and spectacular as to make the ship a household word, seems much more appropriate and is supported in number of references if you look beyond DANFS and such. Palmeira (talk) 21:49, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
By the way, all those 502s and 535s had considerable impact on the commercial and merchant marine affairs of the United States from 1920 as they first came into service through 7 December 1942. A number, and I hope to get into those, did some very interesting pre war preparation for Army and Navy in moving personnel and equipment and others. Several were engaged in rather interesting movement of evacuees and U.S. government people in the months before entry into the war. At the moment, for those covered and with DANFS coverage, those aspects are submerged. Palmeira (talk) 22:22, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
I'm fine with moving the article provided you are going to expand the commercial service section - though I personally would probably have left the move until afterwards. I know a bit about the 502s and 535s, having done some research on them for these articles. It's one of the hundreds of jobs that have been on the back burner for me for some years, which went on hold due to real life priorities. I'm glad to hear someone is finally getting around to them :) Gatoclass (talk) 07:19, 12 August 2015 (UTC)
I might add though, that I don't agree with moving articles based solely on the fact that they operated under a given name longer than under any other name. It's the percentage of the article devoted to a given ship name that should determine the article title IMO. If it's done any other way, the article title ends up diverging from its actual content. Gatoclass (talk) 07:24, 12 August 2015 (UTC)
They've been on my back burner a while too. My "issue" with the DANFS copy articles is multi pronged. Percentage of the article may only be the result of Navy, being downright anal (justly in my personal view) about keeping its ship records, having detailed even trivial "events" during Navy service. Meanwhile some ships that were downright "USS Reluctant of Mister Roberts fame in dull plodding have some pretty significant and interesting events in untouched Army or civilian service. If Army or shipping company archives had been so lovingly preserved we would also have such trivia as from USS American Legion:
"American Legion returned once more to San Juan on 8 October, mooring at 09:56 and disembarking naval enlisted passengers brought from Trinidad. Once more, her turnaround was comparatively swift, for she was underway again on the morning of 10 October, bound for Hamilton. late that afternoon, though, the ship's port main engine and steering engine proved troublesome."
If we had the Munson Line manifests, schedule and maintenance records we could most certainly bury USS American Legion DANFS text under port calls, notable names among passengers and engine casualties and every hull cleaning and dry dock maintenance period! In my opinion most of that kind of DANFS stuff needs to come out of these "encyclopedia" articles. It is non notable, routine junk any ship has in quantity, just Navy hoards the records. Army, with no ship love, trashed its records once a ship was no longer in its "floating equipment" inventory.
Anyway, American Legion is the one I have no question about moving to the original name—that was the only 535 that retained a single name from launch to scrapping. All the others went through changes, sometimes so fast even crews got a bit confused as seen in What's In a Name. Since "USAT" and "USS" and hull numbers are not part of any ship's "name" and only status tags (with "SS" or "MS" only descriptive of engineering, but less volatile), all the move really shed were last status stuff. On the ships such as Wenatchee I am more ambivalent. Longer service as President Jefferson, but perhaps the Army given name Henry T. Allen will have more cites, more "accomplishment" that warrants it being the title. I have much less confidence in the "USS" and AP/APA hangers on to the actual name being warranted. Those, in cases of names not used again, are simply pseudo "Navy" authoritative junk in a title that even DANFS does not use. There was not another Army or Navy ship of that name that I know of, so those are extraneous pseudo "Navy" authoritative junk as far as I'm concerned. Palmeira (talk) 11:43, 12 August 2015 (UTC)
Again, I can't agree that a ship should simply go under its longest-use name, if that is what you are arguing. If a ship was 20 years in service under one name, but there are scarcely any resources for that period, but a ton of sources for a six-month period when the ship had a different name, the article should be under the latter name in my view. The guideline says a ship should go under the "best known" name, and amount of coverage in reliable sources is probably the best way to determine that. Anyhow, thank you once again for getting a start on these, I look forward to seeing what you can do with them :) Gatoclass (talk) 13:08, 12 August 2015 (UTC)
My point is that the U.S.N.'s obsessive record keeping and focus on ships distorts "reliable references" in most articles to one: DANFS. Thus the article name tends to be the Navy name even if the ship had significant and well documented events outside naval service. Army and commercial firms kept records of routes, ports, personnel and passenger lists; the trivial fluff DANFS writers used to bulk up their pieces such as I quote above.
Do we want to have "American Legion arrived at Rio de Janiero on x July disembarking passengers and freight" equivalents? Well, by culling shipping notices in newspapers and writing paragraphs around arrivals, departures, delays for repairs, drydockings and other trivia Navy often puts into DANFS and is copied here we could turn her "Navy history" into a small percentage of the whole. Some "editor" that just wants to rack up character count could spend years in those shipping notices adding routine arrival and departure dates—all for the stunning boredom of the readers.
I also contend we should examine the copies of DANFS here and begin culling all that administrivia unless it is significant in a redeployment, military movement or impact on an operation. Anyway, in this particular case there is no issue or problem because the ship's name never changed. Palmeira (talk) 11:50, 13 August 2015 (UTC)
The name didn't change in this example, but the prefix did.
Regarding the DANFS record keeping, yes it's true that if you could do the same for the years a ship was in commercial service, you would have an unreadable article, but a ship's movements in Naval service in wartime are arguably more important than that. In many cases, I think DANFS content could actually be usefully expanded if more was known about exactly why a ship went from A to B and what it did there, so I am apprehensive about your suggestion that DANFS content could be trimmed back. With regard to the general principle, the reality is that merchant ship histories often consist of little else but movements and cargoes, accidents etc., so there is nothing intrinsically wrong with adding content along these lines provided it isn't overdone. Gatoclass (talk) 14:39, 13 August 2015 (UTC)