The Allied Control Commission had a large pool of ex-German liners available to them following the Armistice. Imperator was temporarily allocated by the Allied Control Commission to the United States on 27th April 1919, to be used to repatriate American servicemen from the battleﬁelds of Europe. Having been stuck in the river mud for over four years, four weeks of dredging was needed to free her. Once the boilers were lit the engines were found to be in a reasonable condition, and she sailed for Brest.
On 4th May 1919 she ofﬁcially became USS Imperator, a Navy Transport, and was formally commissioned at 1.00pm on 5th May 1919 as Transport No. 4080. Over the next few days she was reﬁtted to carry 1,000 ofﬁcers, 966 NCOs and 7,939 enlisted men, with a crew of 2,200 US Navy ofﬁcers and men. Leviathan, which had already been converted to a troopship, arrived at Brest on 13th May and a number of experienced officers and crew were transferred to USS Imperator. Troops began boarding both liners for the journey home.