USS Kittery (AK-2)

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"AK-2" redirects here. For the highway in Alaska numbered 2, see Alaska Route 2.
For other ships with the same name, see USS Kittery.
USS Kittery (AK-2).jpg
German Empire
Name: Präsident (1905–18)
Owner: HAPAG (1905–18)
Builder: Schichau Seebeckwerft, Bremerhaven
Laid down: date unknown
Launched: 30 November 1905
Out of service: interned at San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1915
Fate: acquired by the US Navy, 14 May 1917
United States
Name: Kittery
Namesake: Kittery, Maine
Acquired: 14 May 1917
Commissioned: 6 July 1918
Decommissioned: 5 April 1933
Struck: 11 April 1933
Identification: Hull symbol:AK-2
Fate: scrapped 1937
General characteristics [1]
Tonnage: 1,839 GRT
Displacement: =3,300 t (3,200 long tons)
Length: 293 ft 8 in (89.51 m)
Beam: 40 ft 6 in (12.34 m)
Draft: 13 ft 3 in (4.04 m)
Installed power: 1,400 shp (1,000 kW)
Propulsion: triple expansion steam engine
Speed: 15.5 kn (17.8 mph; 28.7 km/h)
Complement: 87
Armament: none

USS Kittery (AK-2) was a German passenger liner of the Hamburg America Line that was built in 1905 as D/S Präsident. The United States Navy took her over in 1918, renamed and commissioned her as a troopship and military cargo transport in World War I. She was transferred to the United States Shipping Board in 1933 and scrapped in 1937.

Acquiring a captured German freighter[edit]

Schichau Seebeckwerft of Bremerhaven built Präsident, launching her on 30 November 1905. Hamburg America Line operated her in the West Indies and Caribbean.

After the outbreak of World War I, she was suspected of supplying German cruisers in the Leeward Islands. Following several cruises, during which she narrowly avoided capture by English and French ships, she entered the port of San Juan, Puerto Rico, early in 1915 and was interned with two other German merchant ships. After the United States entered the war in April 1917, the US Navy took her over on the authority of President Woodrow Wilson's Executive Order 2619-A of 14 May 1917. Präsident sailed to the United States escorted by USS Hancock and was refitted for naval service. She was commissioned as USS Kittery 6 July at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Lt. Comdr. Charles Geddes, USNR, in command.

World War I North Atlantic service[edit]

Assigned to cargo and troop transport service between the United States and the West Indies, Kittery left Philadelphia on 18 July. Operating out of Charleston, South Carolina, she made monthly trips during the remainder of the war to supply US forces.

Post-war operations[edit]

After the war she continued cargo service from Charleston and Norfolk, Virginia, for more than 15 years, making scores of runs to West Indian ports. After a final trip to Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Port-au-Prince, and Cap-Haïtien, she arrived Norfolk 21 December 1932. She left on 28 January 1933 and reached Philadelphia two days later.


Kittery decommissioned on 5 April, and her name was struck from the Navy List 11 April 1933. She was transferred to the United States Shipping Board 26 June 1933 and scrapped in 1937.

Military awards and honors[edit]

Kittery's crew members were authorized the following medals:


  1. ^ "USS Kittery (AK-2)". Retrieved May 23, 2015. 

External links[edit]