3 Replies Latest reply on Feb 22, 2019 3:16 PM by Jason Atkinson

    Help Identify a WW1 Era US Navy Ship

    Richard Ownby Newbie

      I have a photograph of a US Navy ship, Hull #36, that my grandfather served on during WW1. I would appreciate any help in identifying this ship and any information available.

      WW1 US Navy Ship Hull #36

        • Re: Help Identify a WW1 Era US Navy Ship
          Michael Good Newbie

          Richard - This appears to be one of the Eagle-class patrol craft submarine chasers that were developed beginning in 1917.  The shipbuilding program had a unique strategy to engage Henry Ford to apply mass-production to naval shipbuilding.  Really a predecessor idea to what happened in a big way with wartime production in WWII. Only a few of the ships were built and delivered to the Navy before the end of WWI.  Most of these ships were delivered after the war, and the original order was greatly reduced (many ships cancelled). 

           

          See this Wikipedia article that describes them in more detail:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eagle-class_patrol_craft

           

          Here is another Navy internet resource (NavSource) that will give you more background on the entire class of these ships:

          - http://www.navsource.org/archives/12/04idx.htm

           

           

          From NavSource, here is a little more detail on hull # 36, which was commissioned (formally became a US Navy operational ship), designated "USS Eagle No. 36" on 22 August 1919:

          - http://www.navsource.org/archives/12/0436.htm

           

          And more background history about the ship class:

          - http://www.eaglespeak.us/2009/07/sunday-ship-history-eagle-ships.html

          - http://history.sandiego.edu/gen/WW2Timeline/eagleboat.html

          - https://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/1973-06/eagle-boats-world-war-i

           

          So, since the ship was not activated until August 1919, it would appear that your grandfather would have served aboard her sometime shortly after WWI ended.

           

          Hope this helps you in your quest.

           

          Regards,

          Mike Good, CAPT USN (Ret)

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            • Re: Help Identify a WW1 Era US Navy Ship
              Richard Ownby Newbie

              Captain Good,

              Thank you for the response and the valuable information. My grandfather was a quiet and reserved man of few words, and he never mentioned his Navy service. He passed away when I was a sophomore in high school and therefore was not around when I joined the US Navy in February 1974. It was only then that I learned from my grandmother and mother about his service. As is so often the case, age and time blurs the memory and details. So, while I know now he didn't serve during the war, he served our country proudly none the less.

               

              I went on to attain the rank of Aviation Electrician's Mate 2nd Class (AE2) with Attack Squadron 83 (VA-83 Rampagers) at NAS Cecil Field, FL, performing squadron level maintenance on A7E Corsair aircraft as a specialist on ASW-26/30 automatic flight control systems, and then moving into aircraft intermediate maintenance (AIMD) repairing that same system as well as other electronic systems. I made two deployments aboard USS Forrestal (CV-59). When I left active duty and returned home in February 1978, my grandmother presented me with my grandfather's complete dress blue uniform that she had kept in a cedar chest in excellent condition. It is my most cherished heirloom from my grandfather.  My oldest son, who served 12 years in the US Navy as an Operations Specialist (OS) during the 9/11 crisis and was aboard USS Enterprise (CVN-65) during the first air strikes against Afghanistan, will inherit his uniform one day.

               

              Because of your kindness and generous information, I can now provide a more detailed description of our family's Navy heritage. Thank you for your service to our country and help to me.

               

              Regards,

               

              Rick Ownby

              Cleveland, TN

            • Re: Help Identify a WW1 Era US Navy Ship
              Jason Atkinson Adventurer

              Dear Mr. Onwby,

              Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

              While the ship (or at least one of the ships) on which he served on was not commissioned until after the Armistice, that does not necessary mean that he did not first enlist during the war.  If you wish to learn more about your grandfather's military service, you can request his military records. The medical and Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs) of enlisted men of the U.S. Navy who were separated from the service after 1885 and prior to 1957 and of officers of the U.S. Navy who were separated from service after 1902 and prior to 1957 are located at NARA’s National Personnel Records Center, (Military Personnel Records), 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO 63138-1002.  For information about how to request copies of these records, see this link.

              See also our page about Researching Individuals in WW1 Records that provides information about additional resources available for conducting your family research.  We also have a page the provides information about Logbooks of the U.S. Navy at the National Archives. The logbooks and any other naval unit records for the time period you are interested in are located at the National Archives at Washington, DC.  They can be contacted via email at archives1reference@nara.gov.

              We hope this information is helpful. Best of luck with your research!

              2 of 2 people found this helpful