USS Du Pont (DD-152/ AG-80)

USS Du Pont (DD-152/ AG-80) was a Wickes class destroyer that spent most of the Second World War on convoy escort duty in the Atlantic theatre and that played a part in the sinking of U-172.

The Du Pont was named after Samuel Francis Du Pont, a US naval officer during the Mexican War and the American Civil War, who died in 1865 with the rank of Rear Admiral.

USS Osborne (DD-295), USS Gwin (DD-71) and USS DuPont (DD-152), Charleston, SC, 1920
USS Osborne (DD-295),
USS Gwin (DD-71)
and USS DuPont (DD-152),
Charleston, SC, 1920

The Du Pont was launched on 22 October 1918 at Cramps and commissioned on 30 April 1919. On 6 May she put to sea to support the first transatlantic flight, completed by the Navy Curtiss flying boat NC-4. Her role was to patrol off the Azores to support the aircraft as they flew over. After the flight she visited Brest and then returned to New York in mid June. A month later she set off for the Mediterranean and on 27 July she reached Constantinople, where she came under the command of the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, European Waters. She was used to support the relief efforts in Eastern Europe and to investigate conditions in Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Greece. She spent almost a year on this duty, before returning to New York on 21 July 1920. She was placed in the reserve but with a half crew and carried out training exercises until she was decommissioned on 19 April 1922.

The Du Pont was recommissioned on 1 May 1930, and served on the east coast and in the Caribbean between then and the start of 1932. She mainly took part in practice and training exercises and for reserve training cruises, but on 13-29 March 1931 she escorted the Arizona (BB-39) as she carried President Hoover to Ponce, Rhode Island, and St. Thomas, Virginia.

Between 9 January and 22 October 1932 the Du Pont served on the west coast. She then returned to Norfolk, where she joined Rotating Reserve Squadron 19. During this period she was used to train Naval Reservists. Between September 1933 and February 1934 she took part in patrols off the Cuban coast.

On 15 August 1934 the Du Pont was fully recommissioned. She served as a plane guard and target vessel in the Caribbean in the autumn, before moving to San Diego in November. She was used on training and tactical development work, as well as visiting Pearl Harbor during a fleet training problem in 29 April-10 June 1935. In April 1936 she moved to the Canal Zone to take part in that year's fleet problem, then moved to the east coast, where she took part in Naval Reserve training. On 14 January 1937 she was placed into the reserve for a second time,

USS Du Pont (DD-152), Camo Measure 32, Pattern 3D, 6 October 1944
USS Du Pont (DD-152), Camo Measure 32, Pattern 3D, 6 October 1944

The Du Pont was recommissioned for the second time on 16 October 1939 after the outbreak the Second World War, and joined the Neutrality Patrol. She operated on the east coast, performing a mix of training duties with reservists and submarines and patrols. Between 7 July 1941 and 26 February 1942 she escorted five convoys to Argentia, Newfoundland and on to Iceland. She then returned to escort duties on the east coast, and on 15 March rescued 30 survivors from a sunken merchant ship.

Anyone who served on her between 9 July and 1 August 1941 was entitled to wear the American Defence Medal service ribbon with a bronze letter 'A' in the centre. 

Between 8 May 1942 and 19 February 1943 the Du Pont was used to escort convoys moving from New York and Norfolk south to Key West and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

USS Du Pont (DD-152), 1930s
USS Du Pont (DD-152), 1930s

After a brief overhaul she was used to escort tankers between Aruba in the Dutch East Indies and Guantanamo Bay, part of the key fuel supply route. This ended on 17 May 1943 when she departed for the Mediterranean, arriving at Algiers on 1 June. On 9 June she departed from North Africa as part of the escort for the carrier USS Card (CVE-11) as she returned to New York. During the voyage she rescued four men from downed aircraft.

Between 17 July and 12 September 1943 she escorted two convoys to the United Kingdom.

On 25 September she set sail as part of an anti-submarine patrol as part of a hunter-killer group centred around the carrier Card.

On 6 October she joined the screen for the carrier USS Bogue (CVE-9), first for exercises, and then from 14 November to support a Gibraltar-bound convoy.

On 12 December 1943, during the return voyage, one of the Bogue's aircraft spotted U-172 on the surface and bombed the U-boat. The destroyers George E. Badger (DD-196) and Du Pont then attacked the U-boat, eventually forcing her to the surface on the morning of 13 December. The destroyers opened fire on the submarine, and soon sank her. Forty six of her crew, including the captain, were rescued. The entire task force was given a Presidential Unit Citation for its anti-submarine operations.

Between 25 January and 9 March 1944 the Du Pont escorted a convoy to Gibraltar and the return convoy to Boston. She then returned to duties in the Caribbean, before on 11 June leaving for Britain as part of the escort for the Albermarle (AV-5). She then escorted the Albermarle back to Boston, carrying some of the casualties from the invasion of Normandy.

On 16 September 1944 the Du Pont entered Charleston Navy Yard to be converted into auxiliary vessel AG-80. The work was completed by 9 October and she moved to Key West to act as a target ship for Fleet Air Wing 5. She rescued two downed airmen on 24 November. This duty lasted into the spring of 1946.

On 2 May 1946 the Du Pont was decommissioned and she was sold on 12 March 1947.

The Du Pont earned three battle stars during the Second World War, for escorting Convoy UGS-6 in March 1942, her role with Task Group 21.13 in November-December 1943 and for her part in sinking U-172 on 12 December 1943.

Displacement (standard)

1,160t (design)

Displacement (loaded)

 

Top Speed

35kts (design)
35.34kts at 24,610shp at 1,149t on trial (Wickes)

Engine

2 shaft Parsons turbines
4 boilers
24,200shp (design)

Range

3,800nm at 15kts on trial (Wickes)
2,850nm at 20kts on trial (Wickes)

Armour - belt

 

 - deck

 

Length

314ft 4in

Width

30ft 11in

Armaments (as built)

Four 4in/50 guns
Twelve 21in torpedoes in four triple tubes
Two depth charge tracks

Crew complement

114

Launched

22 October 1918

Commissioned

30 April 1919

Decommissioned

2 May 1946

Sold

12 March 1947

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (22 December 2017), USS Du Pont (DD-152/ AG-80) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_USS_Du_Pont_DD152.html

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