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USS Vedette listed on WWI Vet record


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I'm helping a friend of mine figure out a bit about his Dad's WWI Navy service. Found this record and it lists him as serving on the USS Vedette Apr-Nov 1918. I typed the name in Google, but two options came up. It looks like the Vedette was a commissioned motor boat for patrol? Any info on the Vedette would be super appreciated, I know! 


Also . . . my friend has a picture of his Dad in uniform that he says his Dad said was taken in Genoa. Was the Vedette over there? 


Thanks for any info! 




P.S. Anyone know if the rating F 3/c or MM 1/c would have been classed Petty Officer?

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Salvage Sailor

Here ya go Liz,


USS VEDETTE (SP-163) was a Yacht named the Virginia which belonged to the Vanderbilt family.  It was converted into an armed yacht for submarine patrol in WWI and dispatched to perform escort duty in the Eastern Atlantic and French waters. (see following text)




USS Vedette (SP-163), 1917-1919.  Originally the civilian yacht Virginia (later renamed Vedette) of 1899.  This was a program launched by the US Navy in WWI to purchase large civilian yachts for immediate conversion to armed convoy escorts and anti-submarine vessels.

From the Naval Historical Center:  Virginia, a 441 gross ton steam yacht, was built in Bath Maine. Completed in late 1899, she was renamed Vedette in 1916. The Navy leased her from her owner, Frederick W. Vanderbilt of New York City, in May 1917, converted her for patrol service and, later in that month, placed her in commission as USS Vedette (SP-163). During June and early July she steamed across the Atlantic to France, calling on Bermuda and the Azores en route. During the rest of 1917 and most of 1918, Vedette was employed on anti-submarine patrol and convoy escort duty off western France. While so engaged, she rescued the crew of a torpedoed freighter in August 1917 and, a year later, searched for an enemy U-Boat that had attacked her convoy. In December 1918, following the First World War's conclusion, Vedette returned to the U.S. She was subsequently decommissioned and, in early February 1919, given back to her owner.  (Note the return letter written on the photograph)





Much more here from NHHC USS Vedette (SP-163), 1917-1919 and here NH 42430 USS Vedette 


In regard to his ranks and rates, his service card lays it out.


He was an Engineer rate, first promoted to Fireman 1/c, (equivalent to Seaman 1/c) and then progressed to become an Engineman 2nd class (petty officer), Engineman 1st class (petty officer), and then converted to Machinist's Mate 1st class (petty officer) at discharge.


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Oh, this is great! I'm sending it to my friend now! Appreciate the rates overview, too. I read it in reverse, but it was kind of Greek to me! I find Navy rates sooooo confusing! :) Got to work on this . . . 


So cool about the Vedette being one of the Vanderbilt's yachts!

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