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Frank Robert Dannanfelser

Submitted by: Sandra Dunlap {great niece}

Frank Robert Dannanfelser Frank Robert Dannanfelser born around 1887. Frank Dannanfelser served in World War 1 with the United States Navy. The enlistment was in 1907 and the service was completed in 1926.

Story of Service


My great great uncle Frank Robert Dannanfelser was orphaned at the age of 10. Sent south to Savannah, GA to live with an aunt, he ended up being admitted to the Bethesda Orphan Asylum instead. After aging out of the orphanage about 1905, he worked as an electrician in Savannah until 1907.

On 14 May 1907, he enlisted in the US Navy and was sent off to Norfolk, VA, to the USS Franklin. In August of the same year, he was transferred to the USS Ohio (BB-12) at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and left in December on President Theodore Roosevelt's "Great White Fleet" world cruise.

Navy life apparently agreed with him as he re-enlisted multiple times. Early in his career, he was primarily attached to battleships, cruisers, and destroyers with a smattering of shore duty stations. The longest shore duty time was gunnery school at the Naval Gun Factory, Washington Navy Yard from June 1911 to January 1912.

After the war in Europe had started, but before the US had entered, Frank began the last part of his career serving on submarines and sub tenders. From 1915 to 1919, he was attached to the USS G-4 (SS-26). While primarily training torpedomen, the G-4 was operating off Long Island & New England where there had been U-boat activity. Most notably were the activities of the U-53 whose captain (Hans Rose) brought her into the Naval Station at Newport RI, posed for pictures, had courtesy visits from the Commandant of the 2nd Naval District, RADM Austin M. Knight and Commanding Officer of the Destroyer Force (Atlantic Fleet), RADM Albert Gleaves. The next day (8 OCT 1916), U-53 promptly sank 5 ships off of Nantucket. The G-4 was at times operating out of Newport, RI instead of New London, CT as the Torpedo Station and School were located on Goat Island, Newport, RI.

I have no doubt that Frank was influenced to continue his submarine service by the actions occurring in October of 1916. Frank was still attached to the USS G-4 when the United States entered World War 1 on 6 APR 1917. He stayed with her until after the Armistice on 11 NOV 1918. From 1918 until transfer to Fleet Reserve in 1926 at the rank of TM 1c, Frank served on anti-submarine patrol boats, submarines, submarine tenders, and a short stint at the Naval Air Station, Coco Solo, Panama Canal Zone.

Frank Dannanfelser imageFrank is in the front row, the sailor furthest to the left. This is the 1917 crew of the USS G-4., a gasoline-electric submarine that was 157.5 ft long with a beam of 17.5 feet and a draft of about 11 feet.

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