USS Doyen (DD-280)

USS Doyen (DD-280) was a Clemson class destroyer that served with the Pacific Fleet in the 1920s before being scrapped because of badly worn boilers.

The Doyen was named after Charles A Doyen, a member of the Marine Corps who served in France during the First World War before ill heath forced him to return home. He died of ill health on 6 October 1918.

The Doyen was launched by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corps at Squantum, Mass, on 26 July 1919 and sponsored by Doyen’s daughter Miss F.E. Doyen. She was commissioned on 17 December 1919 and assigned to the Pacific Fleet, arriving at San Diego on 15 March 1920. She took part in some local operations before being placed in the active reserve on 17 August. She was then used for local exercises and reserve training before being decommissioned on 8 June 1922.

USS Doyen (DD-280) from the left
USS Doyen (DD-280)
from the left

She was recommissioned on 26 September 1923 and resumed her previous mix of training and exercises. Those took her to Hawaii and the Panama Canal Zone. 

In 1925 she was part of Destroyer Division 30. On 20 August 1925 she departed from San Diego to support the first attempt to fly non-stop from the US west coast to Hawaii, and to escort the Japanese cruiser Tama on the first stage of her trip back to Japan after bringing the body of Ambassador Edgar Bancroft back to the United States. The flight was attempted by two Naval Aircraft Factory PN-9 flying boats. Ten warships were posted along the road to give radio bearings, and to make smoke by day and light their searchlights at night to illuminate the route. The Doyen was fifth in line, so missed most of the excitement. The first aircraft had to land only 300 miles into the trip, while the second flew over the Doyen’s position but ran out of fuel 300 miles short of its destination. Several naval ships attempted to find the downed aircraft but without success, so her crew rigged sails and completed the voyage on the surface!

In 1926 the Doyen took part in exercises in the Canal Zone (possibly Fleet Problem VI) and the Caribbean. She then moved to Bremerton for an overhaul, before visiting Ketchikan in Alaska and Duncan Bay in British Columbia.

On 26 April 1927 the Doyen departed for the east coast where she took part in joint Army-Navy manoeuvres at Newport. She returned to the west coast on 25 June, and returned to her normal mix of exercises and training, visiting Pearl Harbor and the Panama Canal Zone over the next few years.

Her commander from November 1927 to August 1928 was Howard F. Kingman, who later rose to flag rank, commanding a battleship division late in the Second World War and taking command of the Third Fleet after the surrender of Japan.

By the of the 1920s the Doyen’s boilers were heavily worn, and so when the US navy needed to scrap a number of destroyers to satisfy the terms of the London Naval Treaty, she was chosen. The Doyen was decommissioned on 25 February 1930 and scrapped on 20 December 1930.

November 1927-August 1928: Howard Fithian Kingman

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



26 July 1919


17 December 1919


20 December 1930

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 (22 April 2020), USS Doyen (DD-280) ,

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