USS Jacob Jones (DD-130)

USS Jacob Jones (DD-130) was a Wickes class destroyer that was sunk by U-578 on 28 February 1942 leaving only 11 survivors.

The Jacob Jones was named after Jacob Jones, a US naval officer during the quasi-war with France, the war with Tripoli and the War of 1812.

The Jacob Jones was laid down at Camden, New Jersey, on 21 February 1918, launched on 20 November 1918 and commissioned on 20 October 1919. She was allocated to the Pacific fleet, and reached San Diego on 26 January 1920. She served on the California coast during the first half of 1920, taking part in anti-aircraft and gunnery exercises, before entering the reserve on 17 August. She returned to active duty as part of the Destroyer Force, Pacific Fleet, on 18 June 1921, but was decommissioned for a second time on 24 June 1922.

USS Yorktown (CV-5) and USS Jacob Jones (DD-130), 1937
USS Yorktown (CV-5)
and USS Jacob Jones (DD-130),

This period lasted until 1 May 1930, when she was recommissioned once again. Her first duty was to act as a plane guard for aircraft carriers, a role that took her from Mexico to Alaska. She took part in the 1930 battle fleet manoeuvres in August, and then entered Mare Island Navy Yard for repairs that lasted from November 1930 until the end of January 1931. She then moved to Panama to act as plane guard for the USS Langley (CV-1). On 22 March she passed through the Panama Canal to take part in manoeuvres in the Caribbean. She then moved to the US East Coast, and took part in exercises in Chesepaeke Bay in late May. After that the Jacob Jones joined the Badger, Babbitt, Tattnall and Twiggs in Destroyer Division 7, Destroyer Squadron 3, Destroyer Flotilla 1, Scouting Force.

After another period in the dockyard she resumed her plane guard duties in February 1932, performing that role in March 1933. She then took part in more exercises at Guantanamo Bay in May 1933. She spent most of the next year and a half carrying out a variety of training exercises from Guantanamo Bay. She also escorted President Roosevelt during his 1934 'Good Neighbor' visit to Haiti. 

In May 1935 the Jacob Jones took part in the summer midshipman cruise for the Naval Academy. This was followed by three months of coastal patrols, then manoeuvres off New York, before she entered Brooklyn Navy Yard for more work.

USS Jacob Jones (DD-130) when new, c.1920
USS Jacob Jones (DD-130) when new, c.1920

In June-September 1936 the Jacob Jones took part in reserve officer training cruises to the Caribbean. In October she took part in Army-Navy coastal manoeuvres In February 1937 she took part in minesweeping training. In March she was used to train officers from the 5th Fleet Reserve. In June she carried out another midshipmen training cruiser. She continued with reserve officer training until January 1938, then took part in fleet landing exercises and battle manoeuvres

In June 1937 she began another period as a plane guard as well as taking part in torpedo and gunnery practice.

The peace time atmosphere began to fade during 1937. In October she departed from Norfolk to join Squadron 40-T, the small fleet protecting American interests during the Spanish Civil War. She was based at Villefranche on the French Mediterranean coast from 17 November until 20 March 1939. She then carried out a good will cruise around the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Coast, visiting Algiers, Lisbon and Rotterdam and other ports. She then returned to the United States in October 1939 where she returned to plane guarding and coastal patrol duties.

In April 1940 the Jacob Jones joined the Neutrality Patrol, but she only served with the patrol for two months, before in June she returned to midshipman training.

In September 1940 the Jacob Jones moved to Norfolk for anti-submarine training, in particular with sonar.


In March 1941 the Jacob Jones returned to the Neutrality Patrol, this time operating between Key West and the Yucatan Channel. In May she joined the force watching the Vichy-French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe. This task lasted into September when she was allocated to Destroyer Division 54 in the North Atlantic. She joined her new unit at Argentia, Newfoundland, in mid December. Her first mission saw her escort the submarines USS Mackerel (SS-204) and S-33 (S-138) to Boston.


On 4 January 1942 the Jacob Jones departed from Argentia escorting Albatross (AM-71) and Linnet (AM-76). Her task was to escort them to Convoy SC-63, heading across the Atlantic to Britain. During this mission she detected something on sonar and attacked with depth charges, but without success. She completed her mission and was back at Argentia on 5 January.

On 14 January 1942 the Jacob Jones left Argentia to help escort Convoy HX-169 to Iceland. She was separated from the convoy in a storm and had to make her own way to Iceland, arriving on 19 January.

On 24 January she departed from Iceland with three merchant ships heading for Argentia. Once again the convoy was scattered by bad weather, but the Jacob Jones did remain in contact with one of the three ships. She also carried out a second attack on a possible U-boat, on 2 February 1942.

On 4 February she left Argentia to escort Convoy ON-59 on its way to Boston, arriving on 8 February. She was then allocated to a new Anti-Submarine patrol that had been established in an attempt to reduce the heavy losses being suffered off the US east coast. This duty began on 22 February, and began with a prolonged but unsuccessful attack on a possible submarine. She then had to return to base to re-arm, leaving New York once again on 27 February to patrol the New Jersey coast. On 27 February she found the wreckage of the tanker R.P. Resor , and spent two hours searching for survivors.

At first light on 28 February the Jacob Jones was hit by two or three torpedoes fired by U-578. The magazine probably exploded after the first hit, and everything in front of the impact was broken off. The bridge, chart room and officers quarters. The second torpedo hit 40 ft from the fantail,a and destroyed the rear of the ship, leaving the midships section and 25-30 survivors.  The remaining part of the ship stayed afloat for 45 minutes, allowing the survivors to get onto rafts, but when she did sink her depth charges exploding, killing some of the survivors.

The rafts were spotted by an Army observation aircraft at 0810, and twelve survivors were picked up by Eagle 56 of the Inshore Patrol. One of these men died before reaching shore leaving only eleven survivors. The eleven survivors were made up of nine engine room ratings and two apprentice seamen.

Displacement (standard)

1,160t (design)

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

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


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


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

Armour - belt


 - deck



314ft 4in


30ft 11in

Armaments (as built)

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

Crew complement


Laid Down

21 February 1918


20 November 1918


20 October 1919

Sunk by U-578

28 February 1942

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (18 September 2017), USS Jacob Jones (DD-130) ,

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