USS Mexican (ID-1655)
|Namesake:||Previous name retained|
|Builder:||Union Iron Works, San Francisco, California|
|Acquired:||23 December 1917|
|Commissioned:||23 December 1917|
|Decommissioned:||4 August 1919|
|Fate:||Returned to owners 4 August 1919|
|Type:||Cargo ship and troop transport|
|Tonnage:||8,673 gross tons|
|Length:||488 ft 3 in (148.82 m)|
|Beam:||57 ft 2 in (17.42 m)|
|Draft:||31 ft 6 in (9.60 m)|
|Speed:||13 knots (maximum)|
World War I
The United States Department of War acquired Mexican for World War I service on a bareboat charter basis on 10 December 1917. On 23 December 1917, the Department of War transferred Mexican to the U.S. Navy, which gave her the naval registry Identification Number (Id. No.) 1655 and commissioned her the same day as USS Mexican.
Manned by U.S. Navy personnel and operated on a United States Army account, Mexican was assigned to the Naval Overseas Transportation Service and served as an animal transport through the end of World War I.
Mexican was in port at St. Nazaire, France on 13 May 1918 when a fire broke out aboard her. Lookouts aboard the cargo ship USS Alaskan (ID-4542), lying directly astern of Mexican, spotted the fire breaking out. Alaskan called away her fire and rescue party, which aided Mexican's men in controlling the blaze before it did serious damage.
On 13 December 1918, Mexican was transferred to the Cruiser and Transport Force for use as a troop transport. Refitted for that purpose by the U.S. Army, she steamed on round-trip voyages from the United States East Coast to Europe for several months in 1919, bringing American troops who had completed their war service in Europe home to the United States.
The Navy returned Mexican to the American-Hawaiian Steamship Company on 4 August 1919. She returned to commercial service as SS Mexican.
World War II Relief and Seacowboys
In 1946 after World War II the Mexican was converted to a livestock ship, also called a cowboy ship. From 1945 to 1947 the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration and the Brethren Service Committee of the Church of the Brethren sent livestock to war-torn countries. These "seagoing cowboys" made about 360 trips on 73 different ships. The Heifers for Relief project was started by the Church of the Brethren in 1942; in 1953 this became Heifer International. The SS Mexican was one of these ships, known as cowboy ships, as she moved livestock across the Atlantic Ocean. The Mexican made trips and took horses, several thousand baby chicks and hay bales to Poland on each trip. Mexican moved horses, heifers, and mules as well as a some chicks, rabbits, and goats.  
The Mexican was scrapped in 1948.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here. (for USS Mexican (ID-1655))
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here. (for USS Alaskan (ID-4542))
- Department of the Navy: Naval Historical Center Online Library of Selected Images: U.S. Navy Ships: USS Mexican (ID # 1655), 1917-1919. Previously, and later, the civilian freighter Mexican (1907)
- NavSource Online: Section Patrol Craft Photo Archive: Mexican (ID 1655)