USS DeKalb (ID-3010)
USS DeKalb underway circa 1918
|Name:||Prinz Eitel Friedrich|
|Builder:||Vulcan Co., Stettin, Germany|
|Launched:||18 June 1904|
|Recommissioned:||12 May 1917|
|Decommissioned:||22 September 1919|
|Renamed:||USS DeKalb (ID-3010)|
|Length:||506 ft 6 in (154.38 m)|
|Beam:||55 ft 6 in (16.92 m)|
|Draft:||26 ft (7.9 m)|
|Complement:||534 officers and enlisted|
|Armament:||8 5", 6 3"|
DeKalb was launched 18 June 1904 by Vulcan Company, Stettin, Germany, as Prinz Eitel Friedrich, an ocean liner for North German Lloyd. She was operated on the Empire-steamship-postcourse to the Far East. When the First World War broke out in August 1914 she was at Shanghai and was ordered to the then German colony Qingdao, China, where she was quickly converted to an auxiliary cruiser for the German Navy. Prinz Eitel Friedrich got the guns and crews of two gunboats (SMS Tiger and SMS Luchs), which were demilitarised. For the next seven months the ship operated on the high seas with Vice Admiral Maximilian von Spee's squadron and as a detached commerce raider. Among her victims while in the latter role was the schooner William P. Frye, captured on 27 January 1915 and scuttled the next day, the first U.S. flag vessel sunk in World War I.
On 10 March 1915 Prinz Eitel Friedrich, now low on supplies and burdened by over 300 prisoners, arrived at Newport News, Virginia. After failing to leave in the time prescribed by international law due to the crew not risking the Allied warships just outside US waters, she was interned in April. Later she was taken to the Philadelphia Navy Yard, she remained under the German flag. When the United States entered World War I in April 1917, she was seized by Customs officials and transferred to the Navy. Reconditioned and refitted as a troop transport, she was renamed DeKalb, and commissioned 12 May 1917, Commander W. R. Gherardi in command.
DeKalb was assigned to the Cruiser and Transport Force, Atlantic Fleet, and on 14 June 1917 sailed in the convoy carrying the first troops of the American Expeditionary Forces to France. In the next 18 months DeKalb made 11 such voyages, carrying 11,334 soldiers safely. With the end of the war, she continued her transport duty returning 20,332 troops from Europe in eight voyages. On 6 September 1919 she was turned over to the Commandant, 3d Naval District.
She was decommissioned 22 September 1919 and returned to the Shipping Board for disposal the following day. She returned to civilian control, initially as DeKalb and, after 1920, as Mount Clay. After briefly operating for the United American Lines during the first half of the 1920s, the ship was laid up. She was scrapped in 1934.