USS Zeilin (DD-313)

USS Zeilin (DD-313) was a Clemson class destroyer that served with the Battle Force in the Pacific during the 1920s, before being decommissioned on 22 January 1930.

USS Zeilin (DD-313) at San Diego USS Zeilin (DD-313) at San Diego

The Zeilin was named after Jacob Zeilin, who served in the US Marines during the Mexican War, Commodore Perry’s voyage to Japan and the American Civil War.

 The Zeilin was assigned to Division 33, Squadron 11, Destroyers of the Battle Force and was based at San Diego. She stayed with that unit for the next nine years, taking part in the regular routine of West Coast destroyers, which will have taken her along the US, Canadian and Mexican coasts, probably to Alaska, and normally involved taking part in some of the Fleet Problems.

In July 1923 the Zeilin was part of the fleet assembled for President Warren G. Harding’s visit to Alaska. In July 1923 she suffered damage in a collision with the transport ship USS Henderson (AP-1) in Puget Sound. The President had been using the Henderson, but it isn’t clear if he was onboard at the time. By this point Harding was in poor health, and he died soon after leaving the fleet.  A photograph taken after the incident shows the Zeilin listing to the port and down by the stern, suggesting the damage was somewhere to her left-rear. The picture doesn’t go all the way to the stern, but it looks as the very end of her deck may actually have been underwater!

The Zeilin was repaired, and returned to service with the Battle Force Destroyers

On 16 November 1927 the Somers (DD-301) and the Zeilin collided off Point Loma, San Diego, while heading out of San Diego to take part in exercises. Nobody was injured, but both destroyers had to return to port to have the damage repaired

USS Zeilin (DD-313) in heavy seas USS Zeilin (DD-313) in heavy seas

By the late 1920s it was clear that the Yarrow boilers used in the Zeilin and her Bethlehem built sisters were unexpectedly badly worn. The Navy had plenty of spare Clemson class destroyers that had done into the reserve soon after being completed, so it was decided to decommission the Yarrow powered ships and replace them with these almost unused ships. The Zeilin was decommissioned on San Diego on 22 January 1930, struck off on 8 July 1930 and scrapped by the Navy.

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



28 May 1919


10 December 1920

Struck off

8 July 1930

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 (25 November 2020), USS Zeilin (DD-313) ,

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