USS Goff (DD-247)

USS Goff (DD-247) was a Clemson class destroyer that spent most of the Second World War on escort duties in the Caribbean and Atlantic, apart from spell in 1943 when she was part of the successful submarine hunting group built around the carrier USS Card.

The Goff was named after Nathan Goff, Secretary of the Navy from 1880 and a senator for West Virginia.

The Goff was laid down by the New York Shipbuilding Co at Camden, New Jersey, and launched on 2 June 1920, when she was sponsored by Goff’s widow. She was commissioned on 19 January 1921.

USS Goff (DD-247) from the front
USS Goff (DD-247)
from the front

The Goff operated along the US east coast in the summers of 1921 and 1922 and in the Caribbean in the winter of 1921-22. In October 1922 she departed from the US to join the US fleet in the eastern Mediterranean, arriving at Constantinople on 22 October.  The Goff visited a variety of ports around the eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea, and on 18-20 July 1923 helped evacuate hundreds of Turkish refugees from Marsina (an uncertain location, probably close to the current Turkish-Syrian border). The Goff didn’t spend as long in the area as some American warships, and departed for the US on 11 August 1923.

After her return to the US the Goff joined the Scouting Fleet, based on the US east coast. She then settled into the standard routine of that fleet, a mix of summers spent operating along the US East Coast and winters exercising in the Caribbean.

There were some interruptions to this routine. The first half of 1925 was dominated by the annual Fleet Problem, which was held off Hawaii. She was thus absent from the east coast from 5 January to 17 July.

In the autumn of 1926 she helped with the relief effort on the Isle of Pina, off Cuba, which had been hit by a hurricane on 19-20 October. She operated alongside the Milwaukee, and provided medical support.

Early in 1927 the Goff joined the Special Service Squadron, which operated to protect US interests during an ongoing civil war in Nicaragua. Anyone who landed in Nicaragua between 15 January and 11 February 1927 qualified for the Second Nicaraguan Campaign Medal.

In June 1927 she was part of the flotilla that meet the cruiser Memphis as she returned Charles Lindbergh back across the Atlantic after his famous west to east solo flight.

In June 1930 the Goff was used to carry President-elect Herrera of Columbia from Newport to West Point.

The Goff was decommissioned at Philadelphia on 13 January 1931, but this was only a short interlude and she was recommissioned on 2 March 1932. For the next year she carried out naval reserve training cruises along the east coast. On 5 October 1933 she returned to Cuban waters (part of Destroyer Division 8, with the McFarland (DD-237), Reuben James (DD-245) and Bainbridge (DD-246)), to protect US interests during the civil war that led to the rise of the future dictator Batista. She remained in Cuban waters until 2 April 1934, when she returned to the East Coast.

On 9 November 1935 the Goff arrived at San Diego to join the Pacific Fleet. She was based in the Pacific into 1939, taking part in the normal mix of operations along the west coast and in Hawaiian waters.

On 4 January 1939 the Goff left San Diego to return to the east coast. She reached her new base at New York on 20 April and spent the next few months carrying out more training cruisers.

Second World War

On 8 September 1939, after the outbreak of war in Europe, the Goff began duties with the Neutrality Patrol off the coast of New England. On 14 February 1940 the Goff collided with the yard tug USS Wicomico (Yard Tug No.26) in Hampton Roads. The Wicomico sank almost immediately.

The Goff was then selected for service with Destroyer Division 55, which was operating in European waters. The Goff joined the division at Ponta Delgada in the Azores on 29 June 1940 and became flagship. She was then based at Lisbon for several months, before departed for the US on 21 September 1940.

After her return to the United States the Goff became flagship of DesDiv 67. She then escorted the new submarine Seawolf to the Panama Canal Zone, arriving on 31 October 1940. She spent the last year before America’s entry into the war on patrol duty in the Caribbean and around the Panama Canal.

USS Goff (DD-247) in the Sea of Marmora, 1923 USS Goff (DD-247) in the Sea of Marmora, 1923

After the US entry into the war the Goff was used as a convoy escort and patrol vessel in the Caribbean. The Americans were poorly prepared for the arrival of the U-boats off their coast, and the first few months of 1942 became known to the U-boat men as the ‘Second Happy Time’. Eight merchant ships were lost in convoys being escorted by the Goff.

In 1943 the destroyers Goff, Barry and Borie joined the carrier USS Card to form Task Group 21.14, which was used to provide distant escort for convoys and on hunter-killer patrols. The Goff was part of the Card’s group from 27 July to 9 November 1943, a period in which the group was credited with the destruction of eight U-boats. This included one that was sunk after being rammed by the Borie on 1 November. The Borie was also fatally wounded in the incident, and the Goff helped rescue the survivors after she sank. The Goff was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for her time with the task group.

After this period of excitement the Goff returned to more normal escort duties. On 28 November 1943 she and the Barry left Norfolk to escort the seaplane tender Albemarle to Casablanca, arriving on 7 December. From 13-18 December she escorted the Albemarle from Casablanca to Iceland, then returned to the US on 31 December. She continued to escort the Albemarle for the first seven months of 1944, escorting her to Trinidad, Casablanca, Brazil and Britain. This period ended when she began an overhaul at Boston on 13 July 1944.

After the overhaul was complete the Goff moved to Key West, arriving on 31 August 1944. She joined the Fleet Sound School and was used as a harbour guard, target vessel for aircraft and ships undergoing training and on occasion on anti-submarine patrols.

The Goff was decommissioned on Philadelphia on 21 July 1945, struck off on 13 August 1945 and sold for scrap on 30 November 1945.

Goff received two battle stars for service in World War II, for Task Group 21.14 (27 July-10 September 1943) and Task Group 21.14 (25 September-19 November 1943) – the two awards covering serving in the American and European halves of the Atlantic theatre.

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



2 June 1920


19 January 1921

Sold for scrap

30 November 1945

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 (24 October 2019), USS Goff (DD-247) ,

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