USS Perry (DD-340/ DMS-17)

USS Perry (DD-340) was a Clemson class destroyer that fought at Pearl Harbor, then served in the Aleutians, the Marshals, the Marianas, New Guinea and the invasion of Pelelieu, where she was sunk on 13 September 1944, probably by a mine.

The Perry was named after Oliver Hazard Perry, who served in the US Navy during the Quasi-War with France and the War of 1812, where he won control of Lake Erie.

The Perry was laid down by the Mare Island Navy Yard on 15 September 1920, launched on 29 October 1921when she was sponsored by Miss Anne R. Scudder and commissioned on 7 August 1922.

USS Perry (DD-340) refueling from USS Pennsylvania (BB-38) USS Perry (DD-340) refueling from USS Pennsylvania (BB-38)

The Perry had a very short first commission, being decommissioned during 1923, only a year after entering service. However by the end of the 1920s the Yarrow boilers in her more active sisters were wearing out and the Navy decided to scrap them and replace them with some of their almost unused sisters. The Perry was recommissioned on 1 April 1930, and joined the Pacific Fleet. For most of the next decade she took part in the normal mix of training exercises and cruises into northern waters, as well as some of the major Fleet Problems. These saw her move into the Carribean and Western Atlantic as the Pacific and Atlantic forces came together for the exercises.

In August 1930 the Wasmuth and the Perry carried a group of Senators from the Interstate Commerce Commission to Alaska where they were to make a study of the Alaska Railroad.

In July 1931 the Perry was used as the control ship for experiments with radio control, steering the un-manned USS Stoddert through a series of maneuvers.

On 2 April 1940 the Perry moved from San Diego to Pearl Harbor as part of the wider move of the Battle Fleet to Hawaii. After five months of destroyer duties she was chosen for conversion into a high speed minesweeper, and on 19 November she was redesignated as DMS-17. She was based at Pearl Harbour, but returned to the US West Coast in spring of 1941 to escort the USS Arizona to join the fleet.

On 7 December 1941 the Perry was mored with the rest of Mine Division 4 (Zane (DMS-14), Wasmuth (DMS-15) and Trever (DMS-16)) off Pearl City. Like the rest of the division she opened fire with her AA guns soon after the start of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and then put to sea. Once the main attack was over she helped sweep the approaches to Pearl Harbor for any Japanese mines.


In the aftermath of the attack the Perry carried out patrols around Hawaii, before on 31 May 1942 she departed for California and a refit at Mare Island. On 31 July she left California to escort a convoy back to Pearl Harbor.

The Perry was then allocated to the Aleutians, and departed for Kodiak. She spent the next year operating in the northern Pacific, carrying out a mix of minesweeping, escort duties and rescue missions.


On 26 July 1943 the Perry took part in the ‘battle of the Pips’, in which the American fleet opened fire on a series of radar contacts that eventually turned out to be false echoes. The Perry was part of the anti-submarine screen for the Idaho (BB-42) and Mississippi (BB-41) during the ‘battle’.

The main campaign in the Aleutians reached a climax with the liberation of Kiska on 15 August 1943. On 8 September the Perry left Adak heading for Hawaii. After a brief visit to Pearl Harbor she returned to San Francisco for repairs, probably much needed after a year in Aleutian waters. She was back at Pearl Harbor by 27 November, and then moved west to join the Fifth Fleet.


The Perry took part in the Marshall Islands campaign. She reached Kwajalein on 31 January, and carried out anti-submarine patrols in the transport area.

Five days later she departed for Noumea as part of the escort for a convoy of troop ships. She carried out some minesweeping operations in the Solomons, before on 3 April departed for New Guinea with the rest of MinRon 2. On 6 April she joined the Seventh Fleet in Milne Bay. She then took part in the landings at Aitape on 22 April, which were carried out to support the larger landings at Hollandia. Before the landings she swept the area between Tamara and Alli Islands, then carried out a mix of anti-submarine patrols and shore bombardment. She remained off New Guinea until 6 May.

The Perry then rejoined the Fifth Fleet to take part in the invasion of the Marianas. She formed part of TG 51.17, and took part in the invasion of Saipan. She arrived off the island on 13 June and began minesweeping operations, protected by the battleships of TF 58. She was then used to protect the transport ships off the assault beaches, and during the battle of the Philippine Sea.

On 26 June she left Saipan heading for Eniwetok, where she joined TG 53.1 to take part in the invasion of Guam. From 14-20 July screened the ships carryin gout the pre-invasion bombardment of the island. During the invasion itself of 21 July she joined the protective screen for the fire support units. She then took part in the shelling of Rota, before departing for Eniwetok.

On 6 September she departed from Florida Island to take part in the invasion of the Palau Islands. On 12 September she began minesweeping operations off Peleliu. This was a dangerous duty, and at 0811 a mine explodied, destroying her port sweeping gear. It was replaced by 10.28 and she resumed operations. On the night of 12-13 September she carried out anti-submarine patrols.

Early on 13 September she resumed her mine sweeping duties. At 1418 she was hit by an underwater exploision that struck her amidships on her starboard side, almost certainly from one of the mines she was trying to sweep. All steam to the engines was lost, and the forward fire room was flooded. She quickly developed a 30 degree list to port, and at 1420 her captain gave the order to abandon ship. Not all of the crew left at this point, and with the aid of the Preble (DD-345) an attempt was made to save her. It was soon clear that this was futile, and the remaining crew were ordered off at 1515. The Perry capsized at 1605, broke in two where she had been hit by the explosion, and sank at 1607. 

The Perry  earned 6 battle stars during World War II.

James Mackey Lewis: - June 1934-

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

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


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


2,500nm at 20kts (design)


314ft 4in


30ft 10.5in


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



29 October 1921


7 August 1922


13 September 1944

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 (9 June 2021), USS Perry (DD-340/ DMS-17) ,

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