USS Edward Luckenbach (ID-1662)

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Coordinates: 24°57.830′N 81°53.270′W / 24.963833°N 81.887833°W / 24.963833; -81.887833

SS Edward Luckenbach around the time of her completion in 1916.
SS Edward Luckenbach around the time of her completion in 1916.
History
Name: USS Edward Luckenbach
Namesake: Previous name retained
Builder: Fore River Shipbuilding Corporation, Quincy, Massachusetts
Completed: 1916
Acquired: 29 August 1918
Commissioned: 29 August 1918
Decommissioned: 6 August 1919
Fate:
Notes: Served as commercial cargo ship SS Edward Luckenbach 1916–1918 and 1919–1942
General characteristics
Type: Cargo ship and troop transport
Tonnage: 8,151 gross tons
Displacement: 15,963 tons
Length: 456 ft 5 in (139.12 m)
Beam: 57 ft 2 in (17.42 m)
Draft: 32 ft (9.8 m)
Propulsion: Steam engine
Speed: 15 knots
Complement: 62
Armament: 2 × 5-inch (127-millimeter) guns

USS Edward Luckenbach (ID-1662) was a cargo ship and troop transport that served in the United States Navy from 1918 to 1919. including a voyage late in World War I. Returning to commercial service, she was sunk in 1942 during World War II.

Construction and acquisition[edit]

SS Edward Luckenbach was built as a commercial cargo ship in 1916 at Quincy, Massachusetts, by Fore River Shipbuilding Corporation for Luckenbach Steamship Company of New York City. By 1918, she had come under control of the United States Shipping Board. The Shipping Board transferred her to the U.S. Navy for World War I service on 29 August 1918. Assigned Identification Number (Id. No.) 1662, she was commissioned the same day as USS Edward Luckenbach with Lieutenant Commander A. C. Fickett, USNRF, in command.

U.S. Navy service[edit]

Assigned to the Naval Overseas Transportation Service, Edward Luckenbach departed New York City on 18 September 1918 for Marseilles, France, carrying United States Army cargo. By the time she returned to New York on 22 November 1918, the war had been over for eleven days, so it was her only wartime voyage as a U.S. Navy ship.

On 18 December 1918, Edward Luckenbach was transferred to the Newport News Division of the Cruiser and Transport Force for postwar use as a troop transport. After conversion into a transport, she made three voyages in 1919 from New York and Newport News, Virginia, with cargo for St. Nazaire, France, returning with patients, convalescents, troops, and casuals to the United States.

Edward Luckenbach was unable to continue her fourth voyage to Europe — this time from Hampton Roads, Virginia — because of engine trouble. She was lying disabled in mid-ocean in the Atlantic on 15 July 1919 when troop transport USS Arizonan (ID-4542A) — herself four days outbound on a voyage from Brooklyn, New York, to St. Nazaire, France — encountered her. Arizonan towed her 425 nautical miles (787 kilometers) toward Boston, Massachusetts. The United States Coast Guard cutter USCGC Ossipee joined the two troop transports on the afternoon of 17 July 1919. On the morning of 19 July 1919, Ossipee took over the towing duty from Arizonan, freeing Arizonan to continue on her voyage to France.[1]

USS Edward Luckenbach as a cargo ship in 1918.

After arriving at Boston under tow, Edward Luckenbach was decommissioned on 6 August 1919 and delivered to the Shipping Board the same day for return to Luckenbach Steamship Company.

Later career[edit]

Once again SS Edward Luckenbach, she resumed commercial service as a cargo ship. She ran aground at Block Island, Rhode Island, on 10 January 1930,[2] but was refloated on 5 March 1930 and returned to service.[3]

Edward Luckenbach continued in commercial service until 1 July 1942 when, during World War II, she mistakenly entered a defensive minefield north of Key West, Florida, struck two mines, and sank.

A large quantity of tungsten was salvaged from the wreck,[4] and the wreck was surveyed using the wire-drag technique to prevent it from being a hazard to navigation. The wreck is scattered over a wide area in 65 feet (20 m) of water.[4]

References[edit]

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

  1. ^ "Arizonan". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Naval History & Heritage Command. Retrieved 2009-05-27. 
  2. ^ "United States steamer stranded". The Times (45408). London. 11 January 1930. col C, p. 19. 
  3. ^ "Casualty reports". The Times (45454). London. 6 March 1930. col C, p. 25. 
  4. ^ a b Barnette, Michael C. (2003). Shipwrecks of the Sunshine State: Florida's Submerged History. Association of Underwater Explorers. p. 57. ISBN 0-9743036-0-7. Archived from the original on 19 February 2009.