USS Worden (DD-16)

USS Worden (DD-16) was a Truxtun class destroyer that served as a recruiting ship in 1917 then escorted convoys along the French coast during 1918.

The Worden was named after John L. Worden, a US Navy officer who commanded the ironclad Monitor during her battle with the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia.

Crew of USS Worden (DD-16)
Crew of
USS Worden (DD-16)

The Worden was laid down on 13 November 1899 by the Maryland Steel Co, launched on 15 August 1901 and commissioned on 31 December 1902. Like her two sisters she joined the 2nd Torpedo Flotilla, and operated on the US East Coast from 1903 until 1907. However while her sisters took part in the first stage of the voyage of the 'Great White Fleet' and then served in the Pacific, the Worden spent the period from 18 November 1907 May 1909 and November 1909 to 1912 in the reserve.

In 1912-1913 the Worden served as a training ship with the Pennsylvania Naval Militia and was based at Philadelphia.

In 1913 she returned to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at Charleston.

In 1914 the Worden became a tender for the Atlantic Fleet Submarine Force, a role she performed until March 1917.

In March 1917, with American entry into the First World War increasingly likely, the Worden moved to New York, where she spent the rest of the year taking part in a recruiting campaign. In June 1917 she was officially allocated to Division B, Destroyer Force, but this didn’t affect her role.

On 16 January 1918 the Worden finally departed for the war zone, in the company of four of her half-sisters (Hopkins DD-6, Macdonough DD-9, Paul Jones DD-10 and Steward DD-13, all at that point officially designated as Coast Torpedo Vessels). After a brief stop at the Azores at the end of January Worden and Steward continued on to Brest, where she spent the last nine months of the war escorting convoys along the French coast.
In December 1918 she left France (along with the Flusser (DD-20), Steward and Whipple (DD-15)). She reached the US in January 1919 and was decommissioned, along with all other coal powered destroyers, in July 1919.

In 1920 the Worden was sold for use as a motor fruit carrier. She performed that role for significantly longer than she had been a destroyer, even seeing some excitement during the Second World War. On 1 May 1942 U-109 torpedoed the British freighter La Paz off the coast of Florida. The Worden towed the La Paz towards safety at Jacksonville, and both ships survived the incident. The commander of U-109 claimed to have sunk both ships, and the Worden is sometimes shown as having been sunk on this date

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed



4 Thornycroft boilers
2 Vertical Triple Expansion engines


259ft 6in


23ft 3in


Two 3in/50 guns
Six 6 pounder guns
Two 18in torpedo tubes

Crew complement



15 August 1901


21 October 1902


Sold 1920

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

Books on the First World War | Subject Index: First World War

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (4 January 2016), USS Worden (DD-16) ,

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