USS Chase (DD-323)

USS Chase (DD-323) was a Clemson class destroyer that served with the Pacific Fleet during the 1920s before being scrapped because of her badly worn boilers.

The Chase was named after Reuben Chase, who took part on John Paul Jones’s famous raid into British waters during the War of Independence.

The Chase was laid down by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corps at San Francisco and launched on 2 September 1919 when she was sponsored by Mrs. J. A. Annear and commissioned on 10 March 1921.

USS Chase (DD-323) in somebody's wake USS Chase (DD-323) in somebody's wake

In October 1920 the Marcus, Mervine, Chase, Robert Smith and Mullany were allocated to Destroyer Division 45, part of Destroyer Squadron 13 of Flotilla No.2. However in the following year this was renumbered as Destroyer Division 35.

The Chase spent most of July and August 1922 operating with the Battle Fleet in the waters around Puget Sound, before returning to San Diego late in August.

The Chase took part in the Presidential Fleet Review at Seattle in the summer of 1923, which took place in front of President Warren G. Harding not long before he died early in a planned tour around the US coast.

At the start of September 1923 Destroyer Division 35 (Marcus, Mervine, Selfridge, Mullany and Chase) visited Humboldt Bay in Northern California, to take part in the convention of the American Legion, which was taking part in Eureka, the largest community on the bay. 

On 7 July 1924 the Chase and the Hull greeted the first major British naval squadron to visit a US port for forty years, when a fleet of seven warships led by the battlecruiser HMS Hood visited San Francisco at the start of a three day visit.

In May 1927 the 35th Destroyer Division was ordered to Nicaraguan waters, but the Chase, Marcus and Mullany were sent their regular overhaul instead. She doesn’t appear to have ever reached Nicaragua, as she wasn’t listed as one of the ships that qualified for the Second Nicaraguan Campaign Medal.

Fitting out Clemson Class Destroyers, Bethlehem, San Francisco Fitting out Clemson Class Destroyers, Bethlehem, San Francisco

The Marcus and the Chase were at Mare Island for the Independence Day celebrations on 4 July 1927.

In the summer of 1928 she was part of Destroyer Division 35 (Marcus, Mervine, Mullany, Selfridge, Chase and Robert Smith). This division was used to take naval reservists from southern California on a training cruise to Honolulu and back, then in late July departed from Puget Sound to join the battle fleet which was carrying out manoeuvres in northern waters.

In 1929 the Chase supported the Saratoga (CV-3) and Lexington (CV-2) during carrier operations off San Diego.

By now it was clear that the Chase’s Yarrow boilers were badly worn. The US Navy decided to swap thirty four of the badly worn destroyers for almost fresh sister-ships that had been in the reserves for most of the 1920s. The Chase was decommissioned at San Diego on 15 May 1930 and broken up in 1931, helping to fulfil the terms of the London Naval Treaty.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

35.51kts at 24,890shp at 1,107t on trial (Preble)


2-shaft Westinghouse geared turbines
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



2 September 1919


10 March 1921

Broken up


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
How to cite this article: Rickard, J (3 February 2021), USS Chase (DD-323) ,

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