From: Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
A merchant name retained.
dr. 21'9" s. 13 k. cpl. 122 a. 2 x 6-pdr. r.f.
Culgoa (AF) was built in 1889 by J. L. Thompson and Sons, Ltd., Sunderland, England; purchased at Cavite, P.I., 4 June 1898; and commissioned 3 December 1898, Lieutenant Commander J. W. Carlin in command.
Assigned to the Asiatic Squadron as a refrigerator supply ship, Culgoa sailed out of Cavite Navy Yard supplying ships and troops at Manila with ice and meat until August 1889. Overhauled at Hong Kong between 20 October and 18 November 1899, Culgoa returned to supply duties, making three voyages to Sydney and Brisbane, Australia, for fresh stores in 1900 and 1901.
On 22 July 1901 she cleared Cavite 22 July 1901 and sailed by way of Ceylon, Suez, Malta, and Gibraltar to New York, arriving 25 September. She was placed out of commission 16 October 1901 at Boston.
Recommissioned 1 October 1902 Culgoa joined the North Atlantic Squadron and provided storeship services to ships and shore stations in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico until again placed out of commission 11 August 1905. Considered for disposition, she was stricken from the Navy List on 7 May 1906, but reinstated 30 June 1906 and recommissioned 12 September 1907 for service with the Atlantic Fleet.
Sailing from New York 21 September 1907 Culgoa was loaned to the Panama Railway Co. for an emergency shipment of beef, returning to New York 16 October 1907. Culgoa cleared 11 December to join the Atlantic Battleship Fleet as mobile stores ship at Santa Lucia for the round-the-world cruise of the "Great White Fleet". At Amoy, China, and in the Formosa Strait between 28 October and 5 November 1908, she assisted in the establishment of wireless communications with the Second Squadron.
Returning to Hampton Roads 17 February 1909, Culgoa resumed her cruise along the Atlantic coast and in the Caribbean until 1 December 1910, when she sailed to supply ships serving in European waters, visiting Brest and Cherbourg, France, and Weymouth and Gravesend, England, before returning to New York 20 January 1911.
She put out from New York 11 February 1911 for duty in the Caribbean, where she supplied stores for ships and shore detachments protecting American citizens and interests throughout this troubled area until February 1918.
Serving with the Naval Overseas Transportation Service during the remainder of World War I, Culgoa made seven transatlantic convoy voyages to bases in France and Great Britain between 19 February 1918 and 10 May 1919. On one of these voyages (10 July 1918) she assisted the SS Oosterdijk which sank after a collision with San Jacinto. Culgoa took aboard the passenger survivors and towed the San Jacinto into Halifax.
Culgoa issued stores and provisions to Battle Squadron 2 at Guantanamo Bay from 24 March to 6 April 1920, then after supplying shore installations at Yorktown and Philadelphia, cleared Brooklyn 2 June for fleet maneuvers in the Pacific. Classified AF-3 on 17 July 1920, she joined Battle Squadron 2 at Colon, transited the Panama Canal, and joined in fleet problems on her way to Pearl Harbor, visiting Seattle and San Francisco.
Returning to New York 3 September 1920 for overhaul, she resumed her supply operations on the east coast and in the Caribbean between February and October 1921. Culgoa was decommissioned at New York 31 December 1921 and sold 25 July 1922.