USS Wadena (SP-158)

USS Wadena (SP-158)

USS "Wadena" (SP-158) was a converted yacht patrol vessel of the United States Navy during World War I. She was built in 1891 in Cleveland, Ohio as a steam yacht for Jeptha Homer Wade II of Cleveland and New York. During her Navy career, "Wadena" made several trips escorting submarine chasers across the Atlantic Ocean, and, later, patrolling in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. "Wadena" came to the aid of sinking tug , USS|Goliah|SP-1494|2, and USS|Arctic|SP-1158|2, on 20 June.

After subsequently taking part in another transatlantic movement of submarine chasers from Bermuda to Europe, "Wadena" continued on via Ponta Delgada to Gibraltar in a truly allied assemblage, in company with the Italian Navy fuel ship "Bronte" and three French submarine chasers. Reaching Gibraltar on 31 July 1918, the yacht operated with the U.S. Patrol Squadrons based at that port into the autumn. She performed patrol and escort duties between Gibraltar and Funchal, Madeira; Ponta Delgada and the Canary Islands; and Tangiers and Safi, Morocco. On occasion, she also transported mail and people. After escorting the Naval Overseas Transportation Service cargo vessel USS|Mount Shasta|ID-1822|2 from Ponta Delgada to Gibraltar between 16 and 21 October, "Wadena" remained at Gibraltar into the second week of November 1918. An hour into the afternoon watch on 11 November, her quartermaster recorded: “At 1:00 (pm) received word that Germany had signed the armistice and that hostilities had ceased at 11:00 a.m.”

While the ship lay at Gibraltar, she was inspected by Rear Admiral Albert P. Niblack, Commander, Squadron 2, Patrol Force. Eventually getting underway on 11 December 1918 to return to the United States, she made part of the passage in company with gunboats USS|Sacramento|PG-19|2, USS|Paducah|PG-18|2, and the Coast Guard cutter "Manning". "Wadena" employed her sails for most of the passage, sailing via Ponta Delgada and Bermuda, and reached New London in company with "Manning" on 3 January 1919.

Placed in reserve, "Wadena" remained at New London into the spring of 1919. Although stricken from the Navy Register on 24 April 1919, she remained in commission. As squadron flagship, she departed New London on 5 May 1919, bound for the New York Navy Yard, reaching there the following day in company with converted yachts USS|Wanderer|SP-132|2, USS|Corona|SP-813|2, USS|Christabel|SP-162|2, and USS|Emeline|SP-175|2. Later that day, the process of removing her guns and other Navy equipment began. After shifting to the Marine Basin at Brooklyn a week later, "Wadena" was decommissioned on the afternoon of 19 May 1919.

Offered for sale by the Navy, the ship was awarded to Morris Levinson who paid and received title to "Wadena" on 3 September 1919. On 8 September 1919, the Navy Department discovered a higher bid from S. H. Johnson of New York City had been received and misfiled, and attempted to rescind the transaction with Levinson by refusing to deliver the yacht to which he held title. Johnson filed suit, with the Navy Department joining as a stakeholder, but the U.S. district court ruled in favor of Levinson. Johnson then appealed to the U.S. court of appeals who threw the Navy out of the suit and reversed the finding, awarding the boat to Johnson. Levinson then appealed to the Supreme Court who restored the decision of the district court, awarding the boat to Levinson. [cite court | litigants = Levinson v. United States, et al. | vol = 258 | reporter = U.S. | opinion = 198 | court = Supreme Court of the United States | date = 1922 | url = ]

Later career

Little is known of "Wadena"’s final years other than she changed hands at least twice more. The yacht was purchased in 1921 by the Aeromarine Plane and Motor Co. of New York, who in turn, sold the ship later in 1921 to Aeromarine Engineering Sales Co. of Keyport, New Jersey. The ship was abandoned and scrapped in 1931.cite web | url = | title = Wadena (SP 158) | first = Joseph M. | last = Radigan | date = 2005 | publisher = NavSource Naval History | accessdate = 2008-02-26 ]




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