Ship: USS General Langfitt

The USS General Langfitt was built in 1944 by Kaiser Co. Inc. in Richmond, California and named after General William Campbell Langfitt. She was first used during the war to transport American troops. By the time she was inactivated on September 30, 1957, she had travelled all over the world, a people carrier dropping off refugees, troops, veterans, in all corners of the globe. She sat as part of the US National Defense’ reserve fleet for a while, then was sold in 1968  and used as a container vessel, renamed SS Transindiana. The SS Transindiana was scrapped in 1983 in Brownsville, Texas.
Arturs Ziverts and his family (except for his sisters, Ida and Olga, his mother Jule and his daughter Irma) left Bremerhaven, Germany aboard the USS General Langfitt on March 19, 1950 bound for Berthoud, Colorado.

USS General Langfitt

USS General Langfitt


15 thoughts on “Ship: USS General Langfitt

  1. My father who is of German decent was a ship’s officer aboard the Langfitt. At the age of 90, he still talks about this ship and the people it carried. I was just looking up some info on he ship and found it was converted and operated until the late 70’s.

    • My family also came to the USA on the Langfitt in 1957. We where told it was the last time it carried immigrants. I remember working in the kitchen for a couple of dollars of pay. I also remember half of the passengers being seasick. Which was ok with me, since sick people eat less, and I had less dishes to wash. Original my family was from Kurland. I am probably the last one of my tribe.

  2. Qur family (Roostna) traveled to Venezuela on board of the Gen. WC Langfitt and arrived on April1st,1950 in this country. Also my wife´s family (Javornik) came to Venezuela on board
    Her name Elizabeth Javornik..
    We married in Venezuela in 1960 and still going strong after 53 years.
    So this ship got us together with it´s blessing.
    Thanks to USNS Gen. WC Langfitt.
    (We keep a framed foto of this great ship in our office here in Valencia, Venezuela.)

  3. My family: my parents, maternal grandmother and I, age 6/ 3/4 years old, boarded USS General Langflitt in Bremenhaven in early March of 1950, first stop was in Caracas Venezuela. I remember bananas being brought on board. We then sailed north to New Orleans. Boarded a train going west to Los Angeles, where we spent the day walking around until our train going north departed. We were met by the ranch owner in middle of the night in Paso Robles. Our first morning there was Easter Sunday if I remember correctly. I also met my first rattlesnake that morning.
    P.S. We came from Latvia

    • Dear Anita: Welcome to the USS Gen. Langfitt “Club”. I am sure we must have met on board with other kids.(Our age 13 at that time). We stayed in Venezuela until 1960 and studied at University of Florida in Ganesville,Fl, U.S.A.
      I persued my graduate work there as well .
      Now we are both retired from teaching at the Sate University here in Valencia, Venezuela and presently working at the General Consulate (H) of Estonia,
      since 1999.
      We have been back in Estonia several times and it is heart warming to see how our Baltic Sates have done such a huge step in progress and well-being.
      Our congratulations also to the fine people of Latvia. Excellent!!!
      Kind regards.
      Arne Roostna , Consul General (H) of Estonia in Venezuela
      Elizabeth Roostna , Consular Offcer.

      • Wonderful stories. I am an immigrant to the US and came with my family from Germany also on an old ship called the “Berlin.” I recognize Arne Roostna as an old friend of mine from our days at the UF Gainesville, Florida. I hope that Arne will read this and we can re-contact and chat a bit via e-mail.
        Ralph Iwens

    • I have been searching for a very long time this particular voyage from Bremenhaven to Venezuela in 1950. I have a little mineograph brochure about the voyage. This is the first information I have found that someone was on that ship at this time! I was looking for a manifest but this particular trip I could not find information. We too ended up in New Orleans then onto Arkansas. I was 5 at the time. We came from Germany. My parents were from Poland. Perhaps as children we played together on the decks!

    • Hello Anita! I have been trying for years to find folks who were on the same ship. We left in March, 1950 from Bremenhaven and stopped in Caracas as well, then on to New Orleans. So we must have been on the same voyage. We ended up in Batesville, Ark. then Chicago. I was 5 yrs old. Now live in CA. I was looking for a passenger manifest, but never could find one.

      • Hi Helen!
        Didn’t find a passenger manifest, but several years ago found a several page pamphlet/handout that introduced the captain and other officers, and other information, currently I don’t have it in front of me, but will keep a lookout for it and would be glad to fill you in.

        Where in California?


      • Thank you for reaching out. I have that same pamphlet you’re talking about. But that’s all I have other than some documents that trace where we lived; where I was born, etc. I’m in Apple Valley, CA.

      • Dear Anita, Helen,

        All 3 of us were on that ship and got off at New Orleans, from where we headed north. I’m in New York City now after a childhood in Chicago. Everyone visits NY sometime; if you come we have a big house and can put you up and catch up on the past.

        Best wishes,

        Uldis Roze


  4. It’s wonderful hearing from fellow passengers about the SS General Langfitt journey of March/April 1950 route Bremenhaven – Venezuela – New Orleans. My Latvian family (Ernests and Lucia Roze, parents; Uldis, Maris, Ieva, Dace, children) spent as much time on the journey, as would have been taken by a sailing vessel. Liberty ships were built to carry cargo, and when transformed to carry people, there would have been no 5-star ratings, had ratings been possible. Seasickness, dark quarters, overboiled breakfast eggs. I was 12 years old and the thrill was seeing schools of flying fish rising and falling in the Atlantic. After a journey lasting almost a month, we woke up in the morning to see the most beautiful purple mountain rising in the near distance. It was Puerto Cabello, Venezuela, where passengers lowered baskets to the docks to trade cigarettes for fresh fruit.
    The ship turned north and docked at New Orleans on April 6, 1950, our American port of entry. The train carried us north to the little town of Neosho, MO, where we waited for a connecting train to the university town of Rolla, MO, and bought our first bottles of Dr. Pepper soda. Price 5 cents.
    But the General Langfitt was only the first step of a long journey into America: Chicago – St. Louis – New York City. Where would we be now had the current anti-immigrant storm raged in 1950?

  5. My father, mother,and brothers ( we were ages 5 , almost 4 and 2-1/2) left Bremerhaven and arrived in New York on the General Langfitt on June 18,1956. on our way to Chicago. Don’t remember much about the voyage except upon arriving in New York they decided to do a “man overboard” drill. My Mother said she wished they would have done it when we left, as it kept us quiet and close instead of all over the place.

    • I was on the first trip for the General Langfitt carrying refugees, and I was almost a “man overboard” and would have been fish food had it not been for a lady seeing me leaning way over to see another ship I think. There was a solid “rail” that was at a slant. I was 6 1/2 y.o. My grandmother was on the deck and I was sent down to check on my mother who was seasick even before we boarded the ship. This became a family joke. I was “dragged” down to the ship’s “police”, wouldn’t tell them my name for fear they would send me back to Germany. Finally someone recognized me and went for my dad and mom. Our destination was a cattle ranch north of San Luis Obispo California.We had very good people, we stayed in touch until recently. My parents are gone, grandmother died 2 1/2 years after we arrived, shortly before her 70th BD. She and I were roommates for 9 years. I now live in Oregon, 4 kids and 7 grands. Was an only child. Sorry I lost sight of this connection, glad to have found it.

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