USS Truxtun (DD-229)

USS Truxtun (DD-229) was a Clemson class destroyer that served in Pacific waters for ten years then in home waters, before being lost when she ran aground early in 1942.

The Truxtun was named after Thomas Truxtun, a US sailor during the War of Independence and the Quasi-War with France.

The Truxtun was laid down at Cramp’s of Philadelphia on 3 December 1919, launched on 28 September 1920 and commissioned on 16 February 1921.

The Truxtun joined Division 39, Destroyer Squadron 3 of the Atlantic Fleet after her shakedown cruise, and spent most of 1921 operating on the Atlantic coast. In the autumn she moved to Division 43, Squadron 15. She spent the winter of 1921-22 she took part in the annual fleet exercises at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

On 22 June 1922 the Truxtun left Newport heading east to the Pacific. She travelled through the Mediterranean, the Suez Canal and the Indian Ocean and reached the Pacific in mid-August. In early September she and other destroyers of Division 43 joined the Asiatic Fleet off Chefoo (China). After just over a month in Chinese waters, the fleet returned to Manila at the end of October.

The Truxtun then took part in the normal routine of the Asiatic Fleet, which involved winter training in the Philippines and summer cruises in Chinese waters.

In June 1924 the Truxtun took part in the support efforts for the first successful flight around the world, carried out by four Curtiss flying boats of the US Navy, forming part of a line of warships along the route.

USS Truxtun (DD-229), 1934, Panama Canal Zone
USS Truxtun (DD-229), 1934, Panama Canal Zone

In June-July 1925 she landed men to protect US interests in Shanghai during an outbreak of disorder in the city. Anyone who took part qualified for the Shanghai Expeditionary Medal.

Between September 1926 and October 1927 the Truxtun spent eight months patrolling in the Yangtze to protect US interests during the ongoing civil wars in China. She also returned to the Yangtze from 1 March-14 April 1930 and January-March 1932.

Anyone who served on her during five periods between 15 September 1926 and 1 April 1932 qualified for the Yangtze Service Medal.

On 7 December 1931 the destroyer divisions within Destroyer Squadron 5 were reorganised and reduced from six to four ships. The Truxtun was one of six ships that were surplus to requirements in the new structure and she was allocated to a new Division 17, which was to return to the United States to join Rotating Reserve Squadron 20 at the Mare Island Navy Yard. 

The Truxtun was still in the Far East when fighting broke out between the Japanese and Chinese at Shanghai, and she was one of the US warships rushed to the city to protect US interests, moving close to the city of 6 February 1932.

In the aftermath of that crisis, the Truxtun left the Asiatic Fleet on 18 April 1932 to return to the United States. She reached Mare Island Navy Yard on 13 May, and joined the Battle Force. She spent the next seven years operating in the eastern Pacific, reaching Alaska in the north and the Panama Canal in the south. She also took part in the regular fleet exercises with the battleships. She left the Pacific once, in 1934, to make a brief visit to the US east coast. She visited Haiti, and reached New York on 31 May. After cruising along the east coast, she left Hampton Roads on 15 September to return to the Pacific, arriving at San Diego on 9 November. 

In 1939 the Truxtun was assigned to the Atlantic fleet. She departed from San Diego on 27 April 1939 and reached Norfolk on 15 May, where she joined Destroyer Division 27 of the Atlantic Squadron. After the outbreak of war in Europe later in the year, she joined the neutrality patrol, operating off the Atlantic Coast, in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.

In October 1939 she was part of the Caribbean Patrol, along with the cruisers Wichita and Vincennes and the destroyers Borie (DD-215), Broome (DD-210), Lawrence (DD-250), King (DD-242) and two squadrons of patrol aircraft (VP-33 and VP-51).

USS Truxtun (DD-229), 1934, Panama Canal Zone
USS Truxtun (DD-229), 1934, Panama Canal Zone

In May-June 1940 the Truxtun made a voyage to Casablanca in French North Africa, ending just as the fall of France made Casablanca potentially unfriendly territory. She then returned to her neutrality patrol duties off Florida and in the Caribbean.

The Truxtun underwent repairs at Norfolk in December 1940-January 1941. In February 1941 she joined Destroyer Division 63, Squadron 31. In February-March she made two voyages to Halifax, Nova Scotia. She then returned to Newport, from where she operated in the North Atlantic, escorting convoys from New England and Canada to Argentia, Newfoundland and Reykjavik, Iceland.

Anyone who served on her between 21 July-4 August 1941 or 8 September-13 November 1941 qualified for the American Defence Medal.

The Truxtun had a very short career after the US entry in the Second World War. On 25 December 1941 she left Boston as part of the escort for Convoy HX168. She reached Reykjavik on 13 January 1942 and departed on 19 January with Convoy ON57.

Early on 18 February the Wilkes (DD-441) ran aground on Ferryland Point, while escorting the Pollux (AKS-2). She broadcast a warning, but it was too late for the Truxtun and the Pollux, which both also ran aground. Pollux ended up running aground to the starboard of the Wilkes, with the Truxtun to the starboard of the Pollux. The Truxtun broke up almost immediately, and despite the best efforts of the locals 110 members of her crew were lost, along with 95 from the Pollux. This was the US Atlantic Fleet’s worst loss in a single incident at that point in the war.

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 turbines
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

28 September 1920

Commissioned

16 February 1921

Wrecked

1 February 1942

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 (1 July 2019), USS Truxtun (DD-229) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_USS_Truxtun_DD229.html

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