USS Coghlan (DD-326)

USS Coghlan (DD-326) was a Clemson class destroyer that served in the Pacific during the 1920s, apart from one year in European waters in 1925-26, before being scrapped because of her badly worn boilers.

The Coghlan was named after Joseph Bulloch Coghlan, who served in the US Navy during the Civil War and the Spanish-American War, reaching the rank of Rear Admiral.

USS Cohglan (DD-326) and USS Preston (DD-327) at Trieste USS Cohglan (DD-326) and USS Preston (DD-327) at Trieste

The Coghlan was laid down by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corps at San Francisco and launched on 16 June 1920 when she was sponsored by Mrs. G. Coghlan and commissioned on 31 March 1921.

The Coghlan was part of the Blue, or defending fleet, during Fleet Problem I (February 1923), which was based on the idea of a surprise naval attack on American territory without a declaration of war. The attacking Black fleet successfully evaded the Blues, and on 21 February the Coghlan reported the arrival of the ‘enemy’ fleet at Port Culebra, marking the victory of the Blacks. From 7-9 August 1923 she took part in the funeral ceremonies for President Warren G. Harding, who had died early in a planned cruiser around the American coast.

On 12 January 1924 the Coghlan dragged her anchors in a gale, and ran aground off Lookout Bight. Luckily no serious damage was suffered, and she was soon refloated.

In August-September 1924 the Coghlan was one of a number of destroyers that lined the final stage of the first round the world flight, completed by two Douglas World Cruisers from the USAAS, and was one of the first ships to report their approach to Labrador (Newfoundland), marking their return to the North American continent after their Atlantic crossing.  

The Coghlan spent just over a year, from 18 June 1925 to 11 July 1926, operating with the US Naval Forces Europe, then based in the Mediterranean.

The Coghlan and Lamson arrived at Alexandria, Egypt in late October 1925, ready to move to the Syrian coast. They were then posted to Beirut, to protect US interests during a period of unrest in Syria. The movement was triggered by an outbreak of violence in Damascus. On 22 December 1925 they both arrived at Naples, Italy, having moved there from Beirut.

USS Preston (DD-327), Isherwood (DD-284) and Coghlan (DD-326), Puget Sound USS Preston (DD-327), Isherwood (DD-284) and Coghlan (DD-326), Puget Sound

She and the Preston (DD-327) were photographed at Trieste on 26 March 1926.

On 3 April 1926 the ships of Destroyer Division 27 were photographed at Venice, when the division contained the Preston (DD-327), Lamson (DD-328), Coghlan (DD-326) and Bruce (DD-329).

The Coghlan returned to US waters in July 1926. Later in the same summer she was used as an exhibition ship during the Philadelphia SesquiCentennial Exposition.

Between 3 February and 31 March 1927 she served with the Special Service Squadron off Nicaragua, and anyone who served on her between 18 February and 21 March qualified for the Second Nicaraguan Campaign Medal. On 4 June 1927 she took part in a presidential fleet review in the Hampton Roads in front of President Calvin Coolidge.

In April 1929 the Coghlan was cruising with the Childs (DD-241) and the Bruce when the Childs rammed the schooner A Ernest Mills off the coast of North Carolina. The schooner which was carrying a cargo of salt sank, while the bows of the Coghlan was so badly damaged that she had to be towed stern first back to the Norfolk Navy Yard. The Coghlan and Bruce lowered their boats to try and find three missing men from the schooner, including the captain. Sadly they were never found.

By now it was clear that the Coghlan’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 Coghlan was decommissioned at Philadelphia on 1 May 1930 and sold for scrap on 17 January 1931, helping to fulfil the terms of the London Naval Treaty.

Destroyer Division 27 at Venice, 3 April 1926 Destroyer Division 27 at Venice, 3 April 1926

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)


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



16 June 1920


31 March 1921

Sold for scrap

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 (24 February 2021), USS Coghlan (DD-326) ,

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