USS Dale (DD-290)

USS Dale (DD-290) was a Clemson class destroyer that served with the Atlantic Fleet for most of the 1920s, making one visit to European waters in 1924-25, when she was commanded by the future Admiral William Halsey.

The Dale was named after Richard Dale, an officer in the Continental Navy who served under John Paul Jones, commanded his own ship and fought in the US Navy during the Quasi-War with France and the attack on Tripoli.

The Dale was laid down at the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp at Squantum, Mass, on 28 July 1919 and launched on 19 November 1919 when she was sponsored by Mrs A. J. Peters. She was commissioned on 16 February 1920.

USS Flusser (DD-289), USS Billingsley (DD-293) and USS Dale (DD-290) at Venice
USS Flusser (DD-289),
USS Billingsley (DD-293)
and USS Dale (DD-290)
at Venice

From 3 March to 3 April 1920 she was used to help recalibrate radio compass stations in the 1st Naval District, operating off New England. She then joined the Destroyer Force of the Atlantic Fleet, where the normal pattern of live was to spend the summers in US waters and the winters in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. During this period she took part in the normal fleet training operations as well as being used to train naval reservists. She was also sometimes used to calibrate radio compass stations in the 5th Naval District, operating from Norfolk. 

On 17 June 1924 the Dale departed for Europe. On her arrival she went to northern waters, visiting Germany, Denmark, Norway, Scotland, England and France. She then turned south, visiting Spain and Portugal. She arrived at Gibraltar on 21 September and entered the Mediterranean, where she took part in battle practice with the US squadron already there, intelligence work and more goodwill calls. She left Gibraltar on 2 July 1925 and returned to New York on 16 July.

From July 1924 until June 1925 she was commanded by the future Admiral William Halsey. He transferred to the Osborne (DD-295) in June 1925 at Gibraltar, and remained in European waters for several months after the Dale had returned home. In about the same period she was also commanded by Raymond Spruance.

On her return to the US the Dale joined the Destroyer Squadrons of the Scouting Fleet, and resumed the normal pattern of life, with summers in US waters and winters in the Caribbean.

USS Dale (DD-4) in dry dock, Gibraltar, 1918 USS Dale (DD-4) in dry dock, Gibraltar, 1918

Dale then operated with Destroyer Squadrons, Scouting Fleet, on the Atlantic coast, in the Caribbean, and in the Canal Zone until her arrival at Philadelphia on 21 September 1929.

In June 1926 she took part in the Navy’s Sesquicentennial exhibition at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

The Dale was one of the large number of Yarrow powered ships that were discovered to have badly worn boilers. As a result it was decided to decommission her and replace her with one of her almost unused sister ships from the reserve. She arrived at Philadelphia on 21 September 1929, and was decommissioned on 1 May 1930.

The former Dale was sold to the Boston Iron and Metal Co (of Baltimore), on 17 January 1931. However unlike most of her sister ships she wasn’t scrapped, but instead she was reduced to a hulk, and then sold to the Standard Fruit and Steamship Co of New Orleans, who started that their aim was to "to utilize the fine lines for which [she was] notable and thus secure the maximum possible economic speed with a minimum amount of horsepower." She was purchased without any machinery – even her propellers had been removed! Todd Shipyards of New Orleans gave her new, less powerful, smaller engines, and in 1933 she began work as a banana boat, as the Masaya.

In 1942 the Masaya was purchased back by the War Department under a bareboat charter (with no crew or supplies). She was sent to the Pacific theatre, and operated around New Guinea. On 27 May 1943 the Japanese carried out a fairly sizable raid on Oro Bay, New Guinea, with around 25 medium bombers, 15 dive bombers and a fighter escort. The Masaya was sunk in the attack.

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



19 November 1919


16 February 1920


1 May 1930

Sunk by Japanese bombers

27 May 1943

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 (17 June 2020), USS Dale (DD-290) ,

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