USS Eastern Light (ID-3538)
|Name:||USS Eastern Light|
|Namesake:||Previous name retained|
|Builder:||Osaka Iron Works Company, Innoshima, Japan|
|Acquired:||6 November 1918|
|Commissioned:||6 December 1918|
|Decommissioned:||16 April 1919|
|Fate:||Transferred to United States Shipping Board 16 April 1919|
|Length:||429 ft (131 m)|
|Beam:||55 ft 6 in (16.92 m)|
|Draft:||27 ft 7 in (8.41 m)|
Construction, acquisition, and commissioning
Eastern Light was built as the commercial cargo ship SS Eastern Light and completed in September 1918 by the Osaka Iron Works Company at Innoshima, Japan, for the United States Shipping Board. After she was converted for naval use at the Puget Sound Navy Yard at Bremerton, Washington, the Shipping Board transferred her to the U.S. Navy on 6 November 1918. The Navy assigned her the naval registry identification number 3538 and commissioned her on 6 December 1918 as USS Eastern Light (ID-3538) with Lieutenant Commander W. J. Johnson, USNRF, in command.
After loading a cargo of flour and other stores at Tacoma, Washington, Eastern Light departed Seattle, Washington, on 29 December 1918, bound for Norfolk, Virginia, where she arrived on 9 February 1919. She loaded cargo for the United States Food Administration there, then departed Norfolk on 13 February 1919 bound for Rotterdam in the Netherlands, where she arrived on 5 March 1919. Her cargo was transferred to barges there for use by the Commission for Relief in Belgium in relieving hunger in Belgium and northern France in the aftermath of World War I.
Ballasted with sand, Eastern Light got underway from Rotterdam and moved to Plymouth, England, then departed Plymouth for New York City, which she reached on 10 April 1919 after a 16-day transatlantic crossing.
Decommissioning and disposal
Eastern Light was decommissioned on 16 April 1919. The Navy transferred her back to the U.S. Shipping Board the same day.
- The Navy History and Heritage Command and NavSource Online: Section Patrol Craft Photo Archive: Eastern Light (ID 3538) both interpret the 5-3-1919 date on the photograph as 3 May 1919 and claim the photo shows Eastern Light at Rotterdam on that date, but Eastern Light was out of commission in the United States by then. The 5-3-1919 date must refer to 5 March 1919, the day Eastern Light arrived in Rotterdam while in commission.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- NavSource Online: Section Patrol Craft Photo Archive: Eastern Light (ID 3538)