USS McDougal (DD-358)

USS McDougal (DD-358) was a Porter class destroyer that carried President Roosevelt to the Prince of Wales during the Placentia Bay conference, then spent most of 1942-44 serving in the south-eastern Pacific, before she ended the war on convoy escort duty in the Atlantic. 

USS McDougal (DD-358) being launched, 1936 USS McDougal (DD-358) being launched, 1936

The McDougal was named after David Stockton McDougal, who served in the US navy for over forty years, spending the Civil War in the Far East, and after the war rising to command of the South Pacific Squadron

The McDougal was laid down by the New York Shipbuilding Corps on 18 December 1933, launched on 17 July 1936 when she was sponsored by Admiral McDougal’s great-grand daughter Caroline McDougal Neilson, and commissioned on 23 December 1936.

After her shakedown cruise the McDougal was allocated to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, serving under its command until the middle of 1937. She then moved to her permanent base at San Diego, where she served with the scouting force and then the battle force. She served as the flagship for Destroyer Squadron 9 and took part in the normal routine of the fleet, with winters in Californian waters, summers in the north, and taking part in the annual fleet problems. In August 1938 she was used to escort USS Houston (CA-30) when the cruiser carried President Roosevelt to a meeting with President Arosemena of Panama.

1941

HMS Prince of Wales and HMS McDougal (DD-358) HMS Prince of Wales and HMS McDougal (DD-358)

In the spring of 1941 the McDougal and her division moved to the Atlantic, to operate along the US East Coast. In mid-August she helped escort President Roosevelt on the cruiser Augusta (CA-31) as it took her to Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, to meet with Winston Churchill, a remarkable meeting in which the two men agreed what became known as the Atlantic Charter, and discussed plans for the defeat of the Axis powers, even though the United States was still neutral. On 10 August the McDougal was used to ferry Roosevelt too and from HMS Prince of Wales, for the famous meeting onboard that battleship. She then screened the Augusta as she returned to Maine carrying the President, arriving on 14 August.

Anyone who served on her during one of four periods between 11 July and 7 December 1941 qualified for the American Defense Service Medal.

After this diplomatic activity the McDougal was allocated to the tough job of convoy escort in the South Atlantic. Early in December she left the Caribbean heading for Capetown, and was off the Cape of Good Hope when news arrived of the attack on Pearl Harbor. She was soon ordered back, and reached Trinidad on 30 December 1941.

1942

The McDougal was allocated to the South American patrol, leaving for South America on 18 January 1942. She spent the next few months on patrol and escort duty between the Caribbean and Brazil. On 19 May she joined the rescue efforts for the SS Commandante Lyra, a Brazilian merchantship that had been torpedoed by a U-boat. Between them the US naval ships that reached the scene rescued the crew, put out the fires onboard and towed the stricken ship to safety at Fortaleza, Brazil.

USS McDougal (DD-358) from the left USS McDougal (DD-358) from the left

She then underwent at refit at Charleston in July-August.

Her next duty took her to the south-eastern Pacific. She passed through the Panama Canal on 31 August, and began her new role patrolling along the Pacific coast of Latin America on 7 September.

1943

In her new role she was based at Balboa in the Panama Canal Zone. Her duties took her north to Nicaragua, south all the way to the Straits of Magellan and west to the Galapagos and Juan Fernandex Islands. She also visited ports in Ecuador, Peru and Chile.

1944

The McDougal’s time in the south-eastern Pacific ended in the autumn of 1944, and she returned to New York on 4 September 1944. She was then assigned to convoy escort duty on the routes between the United States and Great Britain. On 12 September she departed from the US as part of the escort of convoy CU-39, and over the next six months she made four round trips between New York and Great Britain.

1945

The fourth of those trips ended when she reached New York with convoy UC-57 on 5 March 1945. On the same day she sailed for Charleston, where she underwent an overhaul. This was probably over by June 1945 when she was photographed passing under the bridge at Charleston, but she still needed time for a post-refit shakedown.

By the time she was ready to return to duty the war was over. From 11-15 September 1945 she moved to Casco Bay, where she began to work with the Operational Development Force, Atlantic Fleet (TF-69). She was redesigned as auxiliary warship AG-126 on 17 September. She was used in experiments with naval gunnery and radar. During the rest of 1945 she visited Boston, Newport and Norfolk, before arriving at Boston on 15 December, where she spent the winter. She briefly resumed on 29 March 1946, but in mid June moved to New York, where she was decommissioned on 24 June 1946.

The McDougal had a brief return to service, acting as a training ship for the Naval Reserves of the 3rd Naval District from 13 January 1947 until 8 March 1949. She was then sold for scrap on 2 August.

Displacement (standard)

1,850t (design)

Displacement (loaded)

2,131t (design)

Top Speed

37kts design
38.19kts at 51,127shp at 2,123t on trial (Porter)
38.17kts at 47,271shp at 2,190t on trial (Porter)

Engine

2-shaft Parsons turbines
4 boilers
50,000shp design

Range

7,800nm at 12kts design
8,710nm at 15kts at 2,157t on trial (Porter)
6,380nm at 12kts at 2,700t wartime
4,080nm at 15kts at 2,700t wartime

Length

381ft 0.5in

Width

36ft 10in

Armaments

Eight 5in/38 SP in four twin mounts
Eight 21in torpedoes in two quad mounts
Eight 1.1in AA guns in four twin mounts
Two 0.50in AA guns
Two depth charge tracks

Crew complement

206

Laid down

18 December 1933

Launched

17 July 1936

Commissioned

23 December 1936.

Sold for scrap

2 August 1949

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 (12 October 2021), USS McDougal (DD-358) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_USS_McDougal_DD358.html

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