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Passenger Memories: Born on America's Flagship

Every passenger who traveled aboard the SS United States left with a story they could tell for the rest of their lives. However, none of these stories is quite like the one told by John Dost, one of the only children  ever born on America's Flagship.

John's parents, Lucia and Harald Dost, were traveling to visit John's grandmother in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They departed from Bremerhaven, Germany on December 1, 1959 — a full month before Lucia's due date.

The Big U made her regularly scheduled stops in Southampton, U.K., and Le Havre, France, before setting course for New York City. A day later, John Dost made his unexpected arrival.

"I was one month premature due to rough seas," he says. "I was, however, one of the few passengers that was not sea sick."

Photograph courtesy of John Dost.

The attending doctor was the ship's chief surgeon, Dr. John E. Sheedy. "It was Dr. Sheedy and several other crew members who helped determine my weight," Dost reveals. "As there was no scale that could weigh me, they passed me around to guess my weight at 5 pounds."

Nearly 60 years later, John Dost holds a special fondness for America's Flagship. He says, "I am just a little biased, due to past events."

Photograph courtesy of John Dost.


The SS United States has created unforgettable memories for countless former passengers and crew. We can save this magnificent vessel for future generations, but we need your help.

Do you have memories of your time aboard America’s Flagship? Send us an email at

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