5th May 1919 – US Navy commissions USS Imperator

imperator stern with stars n stripesThe Allied Control Commission had a large pool of ex-German liners available to them following the Armistice. Imperator was temporarily allocated by the Allied Control Commission to the United States on 27th April 1919, to be used to repatriate American service­men from the battlefields of Europe. Having been stuck in the river mud for over four years, four weeks of dredging was needed to free her. Once the boilers were lit the engines were found to be in a reason­able condition, and she sailed for Brest.

uss imp and levi at new yorkOn 4th May 1919 she officially became USS Imperator, a Navy Trans­port, and was formally com­miss­ioned at 1.00pm on 5th May 1919 as Transport No. 4080. Over the next few days she was refitted to carry 1,000 officers, 966 NCOs and 7,939 enlisted men, with a crew of 2,200 US Navy officers and men. Leviathan, which had already been converted to a troopship, arrived at Brest on 13th May and a number of experienced officers and crew were transferred to USS Imperator. Troops began boarding both liners for the journey home.