Shipping Board name retained.
(AK: dp. 12,105; Ibp. 385'; b. 51'8"; dr. 27'1"; s. 10 k.;
Easterner (No. 3331), a cargo ship, was built in March 1918 as Seifuku Maru No. 20, by Kawasaki Dockyard Co., Kobe, Japan, for the USSB. Converted for naval use, she was transferred from the Shipping Board 12 November 1918; and commissioned the same day, Lieutenant Commander Joseph Fuchs in command.
Assigned to the essential Naval Overseas Transportation Service, Easterner plodded between Norfolk and French ports twice, 1 December 1918 to 8 May 1919 carrying general cargo for the Army, including freight cars and engineering supplies. The second routine but vital cargo haul was enlivened by one incident, when 2 days out of Bordeaux, two stowaways, a hapless man and child, were detected and had to be turned over to immigration authorities upon arrival at Norfolk. Easterner was decommissioned and returned to the Shipping Board, 14 May 1919.