USS Gregory (DD-82/ APD-3)

USS Gregory (DD-82/ APD-3) was a Wickes class destroyer that saw service late in the First World War, and was then converted into a fast transport. She was sunk while carrying out her new role off Guadalcanal in September 1942.

The Gregory was awarded two battle stars for her service in the Second World War, both for parts of the Guadalcanal campaign (7-9 August 1942 and 4-5 September 1942).

The Gregory was named after Francis Hoyt Gregory, a US naval officer who served on Lake Ontario during the War of 1812, the Mexican War and in a shore capacity during the American Civil War.

The Gregory was built by the Fore River Ship Building Co of Quincy, Massachusetts. She was launched on 27 January 1915, and was sponsored by Mrs George S. Trevor, Admiral Gregory's great-granddaughter. She was commissioned on 1 June 1918, with Commander Arthur P. Fairfield in command.

USS Gregory (APD-3/ DD-82)
USS Gregory (APD-3/ DD-82)

The Gregory formed part of the escort of Troop Convoy Group 45, which consisted of the US ships President Grant (No.3014), Nopatin (No.2915), Pocohantas (No.3044) and Susquehanna (No.3016), the French Patria and the Italian Red di Italia, Caserta and Duca d'Aosta. The convoy was escorted by the Gregory, the armoured cruisers South Dakota and Huntington and the destroyer USS Fairfax (DD-93). The convoy left New York on 23 June, and the South Dakota turned back when the Eastern Escort took over, but the Gregory continued on to her wartime base at Brest.

The Gregory spent most of the rest of the war escorting convoys between Brest and other Allied ports. On 2 November 1918 she was assigned to the squadron based at Gibraltar, and after the end of the war she was used to patrol the Atlantic and Mediterranean. She also operated in the Adriatic, transporting passengers and supplies and helping to implement the Austrian armistice, a task made more difficult by the disappearance of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Anyone who served on her between 11 June and 11 November 1918 qualified for the First World War Victory Medal.

On 14 December 1918 she transported Admiral Bullard, the US Naval Delegate in the Adriatic and Captain Gherardi, USN, to Fiume, which was then being claimed by Italy and the new King of Yugoslavia. Eventually President Wilson suggested that Fiume should become an independent state, but this remained an unstable area until it was given to Italy in 1924.

USS Gregory (DD-82), c.1918
USS Gregory (DD-82), c.1918

On 6 January 1919 Chief Gunner's Mate Charles Henry Bast was killed when an Austrian shell exploded while he was unscrewing the fuse.

On 28 April 1919 the Gregory was allocated to the forces carrying out relief missions in the eastern Mediterranean, and operating alongside USS Arizona she took supplies to Smyrna, Constantinople and Batum. She then transported the US Consul from Tiflis and some British army officers from Russia to Gibraltar, before returning to the United States, reaching New York on 13 June 1919.

The Gregory spent some time in the reserve, before moving to Charleston at the start of 1921. Between then and early 1922 she was used for local training operations in southern waters, before on 12 April 1922 she moved to Philadelphia, where she was decommissioned into the reserve on 7 July 1922.

Second World War

After the outbreak of the Second World War the Gregory was chosen for conversion into a high speed transport. She underwent a refit in which most of her guns were removed, extra boats were added and the facilities required to carry troops were installed. She was then recommissioned as USS Gregory (APD-3) and joined the Little, Colhoun and McKean in Transport Division 12.

The new transports spent the next year training off the US East Coast, operating with the US Marines. The Gregory left Charleston on 27 January 1942, heading for Pearl Harbor. TransDiv 12 spent the spring of 1942 carrying out more training in Pacific waters, then returned to San Deigo for repairs.

The fast transports returned to Pearl Harbor in June 1942, ready to take part in the Guadalcanal campaign. On 31 July the Gregory joined Task Force 62 (Admiral Frank Fletcher). The Gregory landed a force of marines in the initial landing on the island on 7 August. She was then used to patrol the waters around Guadalcanal, and to bring supplies up from Espiritu Santo.

On 4 September the Gregory and Little were used to transport a Marine raiding party to Savo Island, which turned out to be unoccupied. It was too late to return to their safe harbour at Tulagi, so their commander decided to spent the night at sea rather than risk an night entry into the harbour. Unfortunately this brought them into contact with the Japanese destroyers Yudachi, Hatsuyuki, and Murakumo, part of the Tokyo Express, bringing supplies to the Japanese troops on Guadalcanal.

At 0.56am on 5 September the crews of the Gregory and Little saw gun fire, but assumed it came from a Japanese submarine. Their radar then showed them four targets, but at the same time an American aircraft dropped flares, having also thought it had detected a submarine. These flares illuminated the two American transports, and the Japanese opened fire at 1.00am. Within three minutes the Gregory was sinking, with two boilers burst and on fire. Lt Commander H. F. Bauer ordered his crew to abandon ship, but was lost himself. The Japanese are then said to have opened fire on the American sailors in the water, although only 11 of the Gregory's crew were actually lost. The Gregory sank within forty minutes of the start of the encounter, and the Little two hours later.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

35kts design
34.81kts at 27,350shp at 1,236t on trial (Kimberly)


2 shaft Parsons turbines
4 boilers
27,000shp design


2,500nm at 20kts (design)

Armour - belt


 - deck



314ft 4.5in


30ft 11.5in


Four 4in/ 50 guns
Twelve 21in torpedo tubes in four triple mountings
Two 1-pounder AA guns
Two depth charge tracks

Crew complement



27 January 1918


1 June 1918


5 September 1942

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 February 2017), USS Gregory (DD-82/ APD-3) ,

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