December 7, 1940: Duluth’s own USS Paducah arrives in Brooklyn

On this day in 1940, the USS Paducah—training vessel of the Duluth Naval Militia—and her crew of naval reservists from Duluth arrived in Brooklyn, New York, where it would spend the next few years training sailors for battle during the Second World War. Launched in 1904, the Paducah was a Dubuque-class gunboat that joined the U.S. Navy’s Caribbean Squadron in 1906. During World War I the Paducah operated out of Gibraltor, escorting convoys on the way to North Africa, Italy, the Azores, and Madeira. She returned to duty in the Caribbean before arriving in Duluth in June of 1921, replacing the USS Essex. From 1940 to 1945 the Paduch was a common site on Chesapeake Bay, where she trained Naval Armed Guard Gunners. The gunners were sailors and officers who served on armed merchant vessels because the navy itself did not have enough ships to protect the merchant fleet. After the war the Paducah was sold to an individual in Florida, who then sold her to the Israeli group Haganah and renamed her Geula or “Redemption.” She was eventually turned into a merchant ship before being sold for scrap in 1951.

The U.S.S. Paducah. (Image: Zenith City Press)

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