USS Sturtevant (DD-240)

USS Sturtevant (DD-240) was a Clemson class destroyer that served on escort duties in the Atlantic after the US entry in the Second World War, before being sunk by a mine on 26 April 1942.

The Sturtevant was named after Albert D. Surtevant, an American aviator during the First World War who was killed when he was attacked by ten German aircraft while on escort duty in the North Sea.

The Sturtevant was laid down on 23 November 1918, launched on 29 July 1920 and commissioned on 21 September 1920.

Soon after entering service the Sturtevant was allocated to the United States Naval Forces, European Waters, leaving New York on 30 November 1920. She arrived at Gibraltar on 10 December, then moved to the Adriatic, reaching Split on 19 December. She was based there for the next six months, operating in the Adriatic.

USS Sturtevant (DD-240)
at Philadelphia, 1932

In the summer of 1921 the Adriatic detachment was disbanded, and on 16 June the Sturtevant was allocated to the Constantinople detachment, arriving three days later. During her time with this detachment she operated in the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea and carried out a mix of diplomatic and humanitarian missions.

From 25 October to 28 November 1921 she was the flagship of Admiral Bristol while he visited Beirut, Jaffa, Alexandria and Rhodes.

In the first part of 1922 she visited a number of Russian ports in the Black Sea, to investigate which could be used to supply food to the Soviet Union.

In June 1922 Destroyer Division 39 reached the eastern Mediterranean, allowing the Sturtevant and her division to return to the United States. While back in the United States she underwent an overhaul at New York and exercised from Yorktown. However tensions were rising in Turkey as the peace negotiations between the Turks and Allies came close to success, and on 2 October the Sturtevant was one of a group of destroyers that departed for the Mediterranean. This was the start of another seven months in the eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea, which ended in May 1923 when she departed for home.

The Sturtevant returned to New York on 12 June 1923. She spent the rest of the year operations along the East Coast. In November she paid an Armistice Day visit to Baltimore, and at the end of the year she became flagship of Division 41, Squadron 14 of the Scouting Fleet.

In January 1924 the Sturtevant moved to the Panama Canal Zone to take part in either Fleet Exercise III or IV, which took place at the same time in the Caribbean. She returned to the US East Coast in May.

Early in 1925 she passed into the Pacific, where she took part in Fleet Exercise V, an attack on Hawaii. She returned to New York on 16 July and spent the rest of the summer along coast, before heading to the Caribbean for the normal winter exercises.

Early in 1926 she passed through the Panama Canal once again, this time to take part in Fleet Exercise VI.

From May 1926 to January 1931 she took part in the normal life of the Atlantic Fleet, spending the summer operating along the East Coast and the winter in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.

In the autumn of 1930 the Sturtevant was allocated to Charleston, but this was soon cancelled, and in January 1931 she was ordered to Philadelphia, where she was decommissioned on 30 January 1931. 

fffff USS Sturtevant (DD-240) under construction

The Sturtevant was recommissioned on 9 March 1932, and joined the Special Service Squadron, which was based in the Panama Canal Zone. She spent the next two years operating in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, protecting US interests in Nicaragua, Haiti and Cuba.

Early in 1934 she returned to the Scouting Force, and was based at Norfolk, Virginia. On 31 May 1934 she took part in the Presidential Fleet Review off New York.

In 1935 the Sturtevant was allocated to the Battle Force, in the Pacific. She was based at San Diego until 20 November, when she was decommissioned.

Second World War

The Sturtevant was recommissioned on 26 September 1939 after the outbreak of the Second World War. In 1940 she moved back into the Atlantic, where she took part in the neutrality patrol and escorted convoys.

Anyone who served on her during four periods between 22 June and 7 December 1941 qualified for the American Defence Service Medal.

From 10-18 January 1942 she escorted Convoy HX-169 east across the Atlantic. On 18 January she was detached from the convoy, and reached Londonderry on 21 January.

In early March 1942 the Sturtevant escorted a convoy largely made up of warships heading for the Pacific (including the Hornet), from New York to the Panama Canal Zone. On 5 March the Sturtevant rescued the crew of a Curtiss SBC-4 that had crashed just behind the Hornet. After arriving at Panama, the Sturtevant reported to the Commander, Caribbean Sea Frontier. Her new task was to screen convoys in the Caribbean.

On 4 April the Sturtevant rescued the crew of the tanker Comol Rico, which had been sunk by U-154.

On 26 April 1942 the Sturtevant left Key West as part of the escort of a convoy. Two hours after leaving port, she was rocked by an explosion that lifted her stern out of the water, but without causing any obvious damage. The Sturtevant’s officers believed they had been attacked by a submarine, and responded by dropping two barrages of depth charges. However she had probably wandered into an American minefield that she was unaware of, and just after dropping the second barrage she hit a second mine. This time she suffered serious damage, and began to sink on an even keel. A few minutes later a third explosion took place below the aft deckhouse. She split into three. The midships section sank immediately, and the stern soon afterwards. The bow remained afloat for several hours before sinking. Despite the three explosions, only fifteen of her crew were killed.

The Sturtevant was struck off the Navy List on 8 May 1942.

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)

Armour - belt


 - deck



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 July 1920


21 September 1920

Sunk by mines

26 April 1942

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (12 September 2019), USS Sturtevant (DD-240) ,

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