December 7 to 27, 1917

USS DeKalb

December 8

At 6 a.m., the 1st MGB (Headquarters, 77th and 81st Companies) entrains and leaves Quantico, Virginia, for Newport News, Virginia, arriving at 2 p.m. the same day, and embarks on board the USS DeKalb for overseas expeditionary duty.

December 9 & 10

USS Dekalb remains in harbor at Newport News, as it continues to take on cargo & additional military units.

December 11

At 4 p.m, the transport USS Dekalb sails from Newport News, Virginia, for New York, N.Y.

December 12

USS Dekalb arrives in New York harbor at 6 a.m. & anchors off Staten Island. <

December 14

USS Dekalb, sails from NY harbor at 8.30 p.m.

December 16 through 22

USS Dekalb, sailing in convoy to France. Among the papers of a veteran of the 6th MG Bttn, found after his death, was a clipping from 1938 newspaper which had this to say about the Dekalb during the war: "Strange as it seems, on the strength of a pounding crankshaft sawed four-fifths through by German sabotageurs, hung the fate of thousands of American soldiers who crossed the Atlantic on the USS De Kalb during the World War.

Formerly the North German Lloyd liner, Prince Eitel Frederich, built in 1904, 15,000 gross tons, the De Kalb was one of 120 German ships interned in the United States at the outbreak of the war with Germany.

The skeleton crews aboard these ships attempted to put them out of commission so that they would be rendered unfit for transport service ~ at least until Germany had time to gain an advantage in the conflict.

The United States Navy department consequently found itself with the task of repairing smashed cylinder heads, scored bearings and other mechanical defects resulting from this sabotage.

Strange as it seems, a complete going over of the De Kalb refused to disclose anything wrong with her, so she was placed into transport service and made eleven successful crossings to France, carrying thousands of ‘doughboys' to the Big War.

Confident that all was well, men and officers alike were blissfully unaware that the pounding, vibrating crankshaft that drove them through the ocean waters was ready to shear off at any moment.

Not until the end of the war was the damage discovered ~ the Germans had craftily sawed four-fifths of the way through the shaft and filled the cut with grease to hide it!"

December 23

USS Dekalb, in convoy, sails into the Bay of Biscay, Sun Dec 23, 1917."

December 27

Reported engagement between Destroyer V. Jenkins and German U-boat.

NEXT: St Nazaire & Enroute East

6th MG Bttn
in WWI