USS General Alava (AG-5)

Career (US)
Name: USS General Alava
Laid down: date unknown
Launched: 1895
Acquired: 21 February 1900
Commissioned: date unknown
Decommissioned: 28 June 1929
Struck: date unknown
Fate: sunk, 17 July 1929
General characteristics
Type: Cargo ship
Displacement: 1,390 long tons (1,410 t)
Length: 212 ft 6 in (64.77 m)
Beam: 28 ft 3 in (8.61 m)
Draft: 13 ft (4.0 m)
Speed: 10.5 kn (12.1 mph; 19.4 km/h)
Complement: 76
Armament: 1 × 6-pounder, 2 × 3-pounders

USS General Alava (AG-5) was a General Alava-class cargo ship acquired by the United States Navy during the Spanish-American War and subsequently used by the Navy as a general cargo ship.

General Alava was built in 1895 by A. McMillan & Sons, Dumbarton, Scotland; captured during the Spanish-American War; transferred from the War Department to the Navy on 21 February 1900; commissioned at Cavite, Philippine Islands on 9 March 1900, Lieutenant Commander C. E. Fox in command.

General service

General Alava served in the Philippines as a transport and lighthouse tender. She transported Marines between various garrisons in the Philippines, making a voyage to Guam in November 1900 to return survivors of Yosemite — lost at sea during a typhoon — to Cavite. Following a tour of the Archipelago with the Army Board for selection of a leper colony site, she carried a Naval Observatory party to Pendang, Sumatra, to observe a partial eclipse of the sun on 16 May 1901. From 3–26 September 1901, she cruised with Rear Admiral C. C. Remey on inspection of the southern islands. She carried Governor William Howard Taft from Manila to Singapore and back from 5–22 August 1902. The transport again sailed from Manila on 29 October, transporting a Forestry Commission to the southern islands, Northern Luzon, Formosa and Nagasaki, Japan. She returned to Subic Bay on 30 December and decommissioned at Cavite on 24 January 1903.

Recommissioning prior to World War I

General Alava recommissioned on 11 June 1904 for transport service between the islands until May 1905, when she departed for the coast of China. She returned to Cavite from Shanghai on 21 November and decommissioned on 26 February 1906.

General Alava recommissioned on 18 December. She was largely used to carry passengers between Cavite and Olongapo until February 1925. This service was interrupted (May–November 1919) by a cruise to Batavia, Saigon, and Celebes to show the flag. With the assignment of hull classification and numbers to ships in 1920, she was designated a miscellaneous auxiliary (AG-5). The transport departed Manila on 18 February 1925 once again to show the flag at Batavia and Saigon and to proceed via Hong Kong to Shanghai, arriving on 24 April.

China operations

For the next two years, General Alava carried passengers between Chinese ports, twice returning to the Philippines for brief visits. In several inspection cruises from Shanghai, she carried the Asiatic Fleet Commander to such ports as Dairen, Chefoo, Tsingtao, Tientsin, and Chinwangtao. On 24 August 1927, she became receiving ship at Shanghai for transient officers of the Yangtze Patrol and from time to time made inspection trips along the river.


She returned from her last cruise on the river to Nanking on 3 June 1929 and decommissioned at Shanghai on 28 June. Her hulk was used as a target during gunnery practice off the Asiatic coast and sunk on 17 July.

See also


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

External links

  • Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
  • NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive - AG-5 General Alava
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