December 7 to 27, 1917
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
Dekalb remains in harbor at Newport News, as it continues to take on
cargo & additional military units.
At 4 p.m, the transport USS
Dekalb sails from Newport News, Virginia, for New York, N.Y.
USS Dekalb arrives in New York harbor at 6 a.m. & anchors off Staten Island. <
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
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!"
USS Dekalb, in convoy, sails into the Bay of Biscay,
Sun Dec 23, 1917."
Reported engagement between Destroyer V. Jenkins and German U-boat.