USS Breck (DD-283)

USS Breck (DD-283) was a Clemson class destroyer that served with the Atlantic Fleet and Scouting Fleet for most of the 1920s, as well as spending one year in European waters, before being decommissioned in 1930.

The Breck was named after Joseph Bery Breck, who served with the US Navy during the Civil War, commanding USS Niphon until he was invalided out in November 1964. 

USS Breck (DD-283) at Toulon, 1927
USS Breck (DD-283)
at Toulon, 1927

The Breck was laid down at the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corps’ Squantum plant on 8 May 1919 and launched on 9 September 1919. She was sponsored by Breck’s granddaughter Mrs Ellen Breck MacNee. She was commissioned on 1 December 1919 and assigned to Destroyer Squadron 1 of the Atlantic Fleet.

The Breck spent the first six months of her career in the West Indies,  part of the US Navy’s general pattern of life which saw the winters spent in Caribbean waters. In mid July 1920 she moved north to Newport, Rhode Island, where she spent most of the next year training reservists.

In June 1921 the Breck returned to the main fleet. She took part in the usual mix of operations, with summers along the US East Coast and winters in the Caribbean. In 1921 she was also used to help calibrate coastal radio compass stations.

In June 1922 the Brock joined Squadron 9 of the Scouting Fleet, and continued to take part in the usual mix of operations.

In August 1925 she moved to Destroyer Division 25, and was based at Norfolk Virginia.

In June 1926 the Brock and her division departed for European waters, where they spent a year with the US Naval Forces in Europe. Most of this period was spent visiting ports around the Mediterranean. In the spring of 1927 she visited Rotterdam in the Netherlands, Portland and Plymouth in England and Dublin.

On Memorial Day 1927 (30 May) members of her crew were present when a wreath was placed on the grave of Commander William Henry Allen, USN, at Plymouth.

The Breck returned to the US in June 1927, and entered the New York Navy Yard for repairs. She was then based at Newport, taking part in fleet manoeuvres and training reservists for the next two years.

By the end of the 1920s it was becoming clear that the Yarrow boilers in some of the Clemson class destroyers were very badly worn. It was decided to decommission them and replace then with some of their almost unused sister ships. On 1 May 1930 the Breck was decommissioned at Philadelphia. The worn out destroyers were then chosen for scrapping to satisfy the terms of the London Naval Treaty, and the Breck was sold for scrap on 17 January 1931. 

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



9 September 1919


1 December 1919


17 January 1931

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.
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (6 May 2020), USS ,

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