USS Greene (DD-266/ AVD-13/ APD-36)

USS Greene (DD-266/ AVD-13/ APD-36) was a Clemson class destroyer that began the war as a seaplane tender, took part in several successful anti-submarine patrols in 1943 and then became a fast transport, taking part in Operation Dragoon and supporting the invasion of Okinawa.

The Greene was named after Samual Dana Greene, the executive officer on USS Monitor during the battle against the ironclad CSS Virginia in 1862. After her captain was wounded in the fighting he took command of the Monitor. He remained with her until she sank in a gale, surviving the loss of the ship.

Destroyer No.266 was originally going be called USS Anthony, after  a sailor who was present on the battleship USS Maine when she exploded in Havana Harbor in 1898. He made his name by going into the ship to inform the captain of the explosion. She had been allocated that name by the time she was laid down on 3 June 1918, but was renamed the Greene on 1 August 1918, three months before she was launched. The name Anthony was transferred to Destroyer No.172 on the same day (both ships were being built by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp, so the reason for the change isn’t clear, although DD-172 was launched on 10 August, so the change may have been made because of some sort of timetable problem for the ship’s sponsors).

The Greene was launched on 2 November 1918 by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., Quincy, Mass. She was sponsored by Greene’s daughter, Mrs John Stevens Conover, and commissioned on 9 May 1919.

USS Greene (APD-36) at Mers-el-Kebir, 1944 USS Greene (APD-36) at Mers-el-Kebir, 1944

Her first commission was fairly short. On 5 June 1919 she left Newport and crossed the Atlantic, visiting Plymouth and Brest, before returning to New York on 27 July 1919. She was then allocated to the Pacific Fleet, and departed for San Diego on 18 August. She had a fairly slow voyage, and didn’t arrive unil 22 December 1919 (probably taking part in exercises on the way). She was decommissioned into the Reserve Destroyer Force in March 1920. She moved to Puget Sound in September 1921, but returned to San Francisco on 2 December 1921 and was decommissioned on 17 June 1922.

The Greene was recommissioned on 28 June 1940 and towed to San Francisco, where she was converted into a seaplane tender. On 6 April 1941 she was redesignated as AVD-13 and on 27 April she departed for the Caribbean. For most of the rest of 1941 she carried out training exercises and generally supported seaplanes operating around Puerto Rico and Bermuda.

One week after the attack on Pearl Harbor the Greene departed for Brazil. She was based at Natal from then until the summer of 1942, acting as a seaplane tender. In February 1942 she visited Rio de Janeiro for repairs then returned to Natal.

On 18 July 1942 she returned to Charleston. She escorted one convoy from Norfolk to Bermuda, and then spent six months operating as a convoy escort in the South Atlantic, including two further visits to Rio.

On 26 February 1943 the Greene returned to Norfolk, and then moved to Argentia to join the hunter-killer anti-submarine group built around the escort carrier USS Bogue (TG 21.12). On 23 April the group escorted a convoy to Londonderry without incident. On the return trip the Bogue’s aircraft attacked a concentration of submarines on 21-22 May, sinking U-569. There were twenty-four survivors. The group carried out a second patrol from 31 May-20 June 1941, once again achieving success, sinking U-317 on 5 June and U-118 on 12 June. The group was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for these operations. 

After the end of the second patrol the Greene was used to escort a fast troop convoy from Norfolk to the United Kingdom. She then operated off Bermuda, before joining the hunter-killer group built around USS Core (along with the Belknap and Goldsborough). On 22 October the Core group sank U-378.

On 19 January 1944 the Greene returned to Charleston, where she was converted into a high speed transport. On 1 February 1944 she was redesignated as APD-36. After a period of training she departed for Oran, Algeria on 12 April 1944. She joined the fleet that supported Operation Dragoon, the invasion of the South of France. On 14 August she was used to land American and Canadian troops on the Levant and Port Cros Islands between Toulon and Cannes. Their mission was to secure the islands and eliminate long range naval guns that were believed to be on the islands, although most of them turned out to be fakes. The main invasion followed on 15 August.

The fighting soon moved too far inland for the Navy to intervene, and the Greene was used on escort duty in the Mediterranean until 6 December 1944, when she departed for Norfolk.

On 29 January 1945 the Greene left Norfolk once again, this time heading west. She passed through the Panama Canal, and reached Ulithi on 31 March 1945. She was used as an escort ship, and in April escorted four aircraft carriers to Okinawa to take part in the battle for that island. She then returned to Guam to collect another convoy heading to Okinawa. Once this second convoy had arrived, the Greene joined the anti-submarine picket line off Okinawa. Once that duty was over she was used on escort duties between Okinawa, Saipan and the Philippines.

After the end of the war she was used to evacuate POWs from Nagasaki. On 24 September she moored off Okinawa, and she was still there with a typhoon hit on 9 October. She was driven onto the north-western coast of Kutaka island by the typhoon, and was damaged beyond economical repair. Any useful materials were salvaged. She was decommissioned on 23 November 1945 and struck off on 5 December 1945.

Greene received three battle stars, for her service with TG 21.12, Operation Dragoon and Okinawa.

Anyone who served on her between 2 September and 23 November 1945 qualified for the Navy Occupation Service Medal.

Displacement (standard)

1,190t

Displacement (loaded)

1,308t

Top Speed

35kts
35.51kts at 24,890shp at 1,107t on trial (Preble)

Engine

2-shaft Westinghouse geared tubines
4 boilers
27,000shp (design)

Range

2,500nm at 20kts (design)

Length

314ft 4in

Width

30ft 10.5in

Armaments

Four 4in/ 50 guns
One 3in/23 AA gun
Twelve 21in torpedoes in four triple mountings
Two depth charge tracks
One Y-Gun depth charge projector

Crew complement

114

Launched

2 November 1918

Commissioned

9 May 1919

Wrecked in typhoon

9 October 1945

U.S. Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History, Norman Friedmann . The standard history of the development of American destroyers, from the earliest torpedo boat destroyers to the post-war fleet, and covering the massive classes of destroyers built for both World Wars. Gives the reader a good understanding of the debates that surrounded each class of destroyer and led to their individual features.
cover cover cover

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (4 March 2020), USS Greene (DD-266/ AVD-13/ APD-36) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_USS_Greene_DD266_AVD13_APD36.html

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