USS Dent (DD-116/ APD-9)

USS Dent (DD-116/ APD-9) was a Wickes class destroyer that entered service just in time to escort one convoy across the Atlantic during the First World War, but that saw more service as a fast transport in the Pacific during the Second World War.

The Dent was named after John H. Dent, a US Naval officer who fought in the Quasi-war with France and the Tripolitan War.

The Dent was laid down at William Cramp and Sons of Philadelphia, launched on 23 March 1918 and commissioned on 9 September 1918, with Commander B.C. Allen in command,.

Crews of Rathburne, Talbot, Dent, Waters, Lea and Dorsey
Crews of Rathburne, Talbot,
Dent, Waters, Lea

and Dorsey

USS Dent (DD-116) during 1920s
USS Dent (DD-116) during 1920s

The Dent escorted one convoy across the Atlantic, leaving the US on 19 September and reaching Ireland on 8 November.

Anyone who served on her between 10 September and 8 November 1918 qualified for the First World War Victory Medal.

The Dent then returned across the Atlantic and took part in training exercises at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In May 1919 she was part of the fleet that lined the route of the Navy Curtiss seaplanes during the first successful trans-Atlantic flight (carried out by NC-4). In June she escorted the President of Brazil from New York to Newport (either Delfim Moreira, the president in June, or Epitacio Pessoa, his successor, who was elected president while in France for the Paris peace talks).

The Dent joined the Pacific Fleet in August 1919. In the same month she escorted USS New York (BB-34) which carried Josephus Daniels, the Secretary of the Navy to Hawaii. In September she visited Seattle for a Fleet Review, but on 22 September she was placed into the reserve.

The Dent was commissioned for the second time on 14 December 1920, although with a reduced complement of 50%. She took part in gunnery and torpedo practice and in fleet manoeuvres. She also visited South America and Mexico in January-March 1921, before she was decommissioned for the second time on 7 June 1922, this time for almost eight years. Amongst her crew in this period was the future Admiral William M. Callaghan, who served on her from 4 January-10 June 1921.

Crew of USS Dent (DD-116)
Crew of USS Dent (DD-116)

USS Dent (DD-116) at sea, 1921
USS Dent (DD-116) at sea, 1921

The Dent was recommissioned for the third time on 15 May 1930. Over the next few years she was used as a plane guard for aircraft carriers and to train reservists. In 1931 she was used as the control ship for USS Stoddert (DD-302), which was then being used as a radio controlled target ship. The Dent also took part in Fleet Problem XI in 1934, and spent most the rest of the year visiting the US east coast.

Amongst her crew in this period was John William Ailes III, who was awarded the Navy Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his actions while in command of the destroyer USS Cassin Young at Okinawa in 1945, and retired with the rank of Rear Admiral in 1965.

On 18 December 1934 she was placed in the Rotating Reserve at San Diego, although with enough of a crew to be used to test ordnance.

The Dent was fully recommissioned for the fourth and final time on 10 June 1935. She spent the next few years operating from Hawaii and the US West Coast, and was at San Diego when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. On 8 December 1941 she joined a number of her sister ships to form part of the screen of the carrier USS Saratoga (CV-3), when she left San Diego at the start of a ten day high speed run to Pearl Harbor.

The Dent didn't remain in Hawaii for long. She returned to San Francisco on 29 December 1941 and joined the Sound School at San Diego, helping to develop sonar techniques. She was also used for convoy duties on the west coast.

USS Stoddert (DD-302) and USS Dent (DD-116), c.1931
USS Stoddert (DD-302) and
USS Dent (DD-116), c.1931

On 27 April 1942 the Dent departed for Alaska. She was based out of Dutch Harbor from 8 May to 30 January 1943. During this period she escorted bombardment forces that attacked Kiska on 7 August and the invasion convoy heading for Adak in the Aleutians on 1 September 1943.

On 30 January 1943 the Dent left Alaska and moved to Seattle, where she was converted into a high speed transport. She was redesignated as APD-9 on 7 March 1943.

The Dent  reached Noumea on New Caledonia on 20 April 1943. She took part in Operation Toenails (the invasion of New Georgia and Rendova), the invasion of Vella Lavella, and supported the landings at Cape Torokina on Bougainville (Operation Cherryblossom). This first spell of operations ended in November, when she went to Sydney, Australia for an overhaul.

After the overhaul she moved to Milne Bay, New Guinea, but on 22 December she ran aground and had to return to Australia for repairs that lasted into January 1944.

In 1944 the Dent took part in the invasion of Emirau Island (20 March), where she landed part of the 4th Marines. On 22 April she landed troops at Aitape. She then moved to the Solomons to train with underwater demolition teams (UDTs), which were to be used during the invasion of the Marianas. She then carried a UDT to Roi, where they transferred to the ships that were to take them to Guam. The Dent then escorted the Mazama (AE-9) to Saipan to carry ammunition to the bombardment ships. Between then and early July she carried out patrols off Saipan and Tinian.

In early July the Dent left the Mariannas to return to the United States for an overhaul. She reached San Diego on 3 August. On 8 November 1944 the Dent joined the Amphibious Training Force, Pacific Fleet, based at San Diego. This assignment lasted for the rest of the war. After the Japanese surrender the Dent was surplus to requirements. She arrived at Philadelphia on 6 November 1945, was decommissioned on 4 December 1945 and sold for scrap on 13 June 1946.

The Dent qualified for five battle stars during the Second World War, for the Solomon Islands, New Georgia, Treasury-Bougainville, Hollandia and the Marianas.

Displacement (standard)

1,160t (design)

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

35kts (design)
35.34kts at 24,610shp at 1,149t on trial (Wickes)


2 shaft Parsons turbines
4 boilers
24,200shp (design)


3,800nm at 15kts on trial (Wickes)
2,850nm at 20kts on trial (Wickes)

Armour - belt


 - deck



314ft 4in


30ft 11in

Armaments (as built)

Four 4in/50 guns
Twelve 21in torpedoes in four triple tubes
Two depth charge tracks

Crew complement



23 March 1918


9 September 1918


4 December 1945

Sold for scrap

13 June 1946

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 (20 July 2017), USS Dent (DD-116/ APD-9) ,

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