USS Paducah (PG-18)
|Namesake:||City of Paducah, Kentucky|
|Builder:||Gas Engine and Power Co. and Charles L. Seabury Co., Morris Heights, N.Y.|
|Laid down:||22 September 1903|
|Launched:||11 October 1904|
|Commissioned:||2 September 1905 Gunboat No.18|
|Decommissioned:||2 March 1919|
|In service:||2 May 1922 Hull symbol:PG-18|
|Out of service:||7 September 1945|
|Struck:||19 December 1946|
|General characteristics |
|Class and type:||Dubuque-class gunboat|
|Length:||200 ft (61 m)|
|Beam:||35 ft (11 m)|
|Draft:||12 ft (3.7 m)|
Paducah (Gunboat No. 18) was launched 11 October 1904 by Gas Engine and Power Co. and Charles L. Seabury Co., Morris Heights, New York; sponsored by Miss Anna May Yeiser; and commissioned 2 September 1905, Comdr. Albert G. Winterhalter in command. She was reclassified AG–7 in 1919; IX–23, 24 April 1922; and PG–18, 4 November 1940.
After shakedown, Paducah joined the Caribbean Squadron early in 1906 to protect American lives and interests through patrols and port calls to Caribbean and Central American and South American cities. She patrolled Mexican waters in the aftermath of the Vera Cruz incident through the summer of 1914, then returned to her Caribbean operations, performing surveys from time to time.
Paducah was ordered north to prepare at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, for European service in World War I, for which she sailed from New York 29 September 1917. She reached Gibraltar 27 October, and based there as convoy escort to North Africa, Italy, the Azores, and Madeira. She attacked a U-boat 9 September 1918 after it had sunk one of her convoy, and was credited with possibly damaging the submarine. Leaving Gibraltar 11 December, Paducah reached Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 7 January 1919 to decommission 2 March 1919.
She again recommissioned 16 August 1920 through 9 September 1921 for survey duty in the Caribbean. Paducah was commissioned a third time 2 May 1922 for duty training Naval Reservists in the 9th Naval District. She arrived Duluth, Minnesota, 20 June, replacing the USS Essex which then became a receiving ship. These training missions included regular two-week cruises, and gunnery practice on Lake Michigan. In addition to regular duties, the ship was used for miscellaneous ceremonial purposes, assisted in the fight against a fire on Isle Royale, and assisted with rescue work when the Mississippi River flooded.
Paducah was modified in the early 1930s to run on oil-fired boilers. The triple expansion engines were installed, with boilers fore and aft. Additional modifications included hammock berthing on a new boat deck, and a sheltered main deck between the quarterdeck and the pilot house.
Paducah returned to the U.S. East Coast in early 1941, and through World War II, trained Naval Armed Guard gunners in Chesapeake Bay, thus giving vital service to the Merchant Marine’s crucial World War II assignment.
Decommissioning 7 September 1945, Paducah transferred to the Maritime Commission 19 December 1946, and was sold the same day to Maria Angelo, Miami, Florida. After she was sold in Miami, the ship was obtained by the Israeli group Haganah and renamed Geula, meaning "Redemption," was taken by a volunteer American crew to Bayonne, France, and from there to Bulgaria. One thousand three hundred eighty eight Jewish refugees were embarked and, led by former Spanish Republican Navy commander Miguel Buiza, the ship tried to run the British blockade and bring the refugees to Palestine.
She was intercepted on 2 October 1947 and brought to Haifa, where she was left with other captured "illegal" immigrant ships. Because she was a former naval vessel the newly formed Israeli Navy examined her in 1948 for possible service, but she was not in good shape and was not accepted for service. She was refurbished sufficiently to sail as an Israeli merchant vessel and made one trip in late 1948 from Haifa to Naples, Italy. There she was tied up and eventually sold for scrap in 1951.
- CDR Albert Gustavus Winterhalter, USN - USNA Class of 1873 (2 September 1905 - 21 September 1906)
- LT John Wills Greenslade, USN - USNA Class of 1899 (21 September 1906 - 29 December 1908)
- CDR John Lewis Purcell, USN (29 December 1908 - 11 January 1910)
- CDR William Wirt Gilmer, USN - USNA Class of 1895 (11 January 1910 - 16 May 1910)
- CDR George Grant Mitchell, USN (16 May 1910 - 8 March 1916)
- LCDR Edward Constant Southworth Parker, USN 8 March 1916 - 18 July 1917)
- LT Frank Caspar Fechteler, USN (18 July 1917 - 2 March 1919)
- LCDR John Treadwell Bowers, USN - USNA Class of 1899 (16 August 1920 - 9 September 1921)
- LCDR Joseph Carhart, Jr., USNRF (1929 - 1931)
- CDR Antoine Oliver Rabideau, USNRF (1931 - 6 July 1942)
- CDR Francis David Hurd, USNR (6 July 1942 - August 1944)
- LCDR Robert Edward Seltzer, USNR (August 1944 - 7 September 1945)
- Cuban Pacification Medal
- Mexican Service Medal
- World War I Victory Medal
- American Defense Service Medal
- American Campaign Medal
- World War II Victory Medal
- Van Der Linden, Peter (1994). Great Lakes Ships We Remember III. Cleveland, OH: Freshwater Press, Inc. p. 281.
- Murray S. Greenfield and Joseph M. Hochstein, The Jews' Secret Fleet: The Untold Story of North American Volunteers who Smashed the British Blockade, Gefen Publishing House (2010), ISBN 978-9652295170
- USS Paducah
- NavSource Online: Gunboat Photo Archive - Paducah (PG 18) - ex-IX-23 - ex-AG-7 - ex-Gunboat No. 18