1917: A Civilian Motorboat is Commissioned into the U.S. Navy

August 5, 1917

Four months after the United States entered World War I on the side of the Allied Powers, a motorboat known as Riette was commissioned into the U.S. Navy at the New York Navy Yard in the northwest section of Brooklyn. (That shipyard is now officially called the Brooklyn Navy Yard.) Chief Boatswain’s Mate Joseph McCaffrey became commander of USS Riette (SP-107). The Navy had acquired Riette from Dr. George G. Shelton of Ridgefield, Connecticut, on May 19.

Riette was built as a motorboat in 1916 by the New York-based Twentieth Century Yacht, Launch, and Engine Company. Originally known as Amalia III, this vessel was renamed Temegan II and then redesignated as Riette.

During the course of her wartime service on the home front, USS Riette was a patrol vessel in the vicinities of the present-day village of Port Jefferson on the north shore of Long Island; the Black Rock neighborhood of Bridgeport, Connecticut; and Iona Island within the part of the Hudson River in New York’s Rockland County. Riette was also stationed at the New York Navy Yard.

Riette continued to serve in the Navy for several months after the end of war. She was decommissioned on August 14, 1919. On October 30 of that year, she was sold to Brooklyn resident H.H. Miller. As confirmed by subsequent yacht registers, Riette remained in service as a civilian motorboat up until at least 1958. (The above photo of Riette was taken not long before she was commissioned into the Navy.)

Photo Credit: Public Domain

For more information on USS Riette (SP-107), please check out USS Riette (SP-107) – Wikipedia

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