USS Hovey (DD-208/ DMS-11)

USS Hovey (DD-208/ DMS-11) was a Clemson class destroyer that fought at Gualadcanal, Bougainville and Leyte before she was sunk by a torpedo during the landings at Lingayen Gulf on Luzon.

The Hovey was named after Charles Emerson Hovey, a naval ensign who was killed by hostile locals during a landing on Basilan in the Philippines in 1911.

The Hovey was launched by Cramps at Philadelphia on 26 April 1919 and commissioned on 2 October 1919. She carried one more gun than most members of her class, having a twin 4/50 gun forward to give her a total of five. After her shakedown cruise she departed for Brest on 19 December 1919, where she became the station ship. She then entered the Mediterranean, visiting the Adriatic in 1920 and reaching Constantinople on 12 July, where she was the station ship until 17 December 1920. In November 1920 the Hovey, along with the Brooks (DD-232) and Chattanooga (CL-18), escorted the former Austro-Hungarian pre-dreadnought battleship Zrinyi from Papaja, Italy, after it was decided to hand her over to the Italians. Despite the considerable diplomatic work involved in this, the Zrinyi was obsolete, and was soon scrapped by the Italians. 

USS Williamson (DD-244) and USS Hovey (DD-208), Panama Canal, 1930s
USS Williamson (DD-244)
and USS Hovey (DD-208),
Panama Canal, 1930s

In December 1920 she departed for the Philippines, traveling east via the Suez Canal. Once there she joined the Asiatic Fleet, remaining in the Far East until 1922, when she returned to the United States. She was decommissioned at San Diego on 1 February 1923.

USS Maryland (BB-46), USS Hovey (DD-208) and USS Long (DD-209), Panama Canal, 24 April 1931
USS Maryland (BB-46), USS Hovey (DD-208) and USS Long (DD-209), Panama Canal, 24 April 1931

The Hovey was recommissioned on 20 February 1930 on the West Coast. She was used as a training ship for naval reservists for the next four years, before in April 1934 she passed through the Panama Canal heading for New York to take part in fleet exercises off the New England and Florida coasts. She returned to the Pacific in November 1934, where she combined her training duties with fleet exercises and problems in the Panama Canal Zone and around Hawaii.

In 1935 she was part of Destroyer Division 18, along with the Chandler (DD-206), Long (DD-209) and Southard (DD-207).

In 1940 the Hovey was converted into a high speed minesweeper. She was reclassified as DMS-11 on 19 November 1940, and departed for Pearl Harbor on 4 February 1941. On 7 December she was at sea, acting as an anti-submarine screen for the Minneapolis, which was engaged in gunnery practice 20 miles outside the harbour. In the aftermath of the attack she began a series of patrols around Pearl Harbor, combined with convoy escort duties, that lasted well into 1942.


These duties lasted until 20 May, when the Hovey departed for San Francisco as part of the escort of a twenty ship convoy. She was then selected to join the invasion fleet assigned to the attack on Guadalacanal. She returned to Pearl Harbor in mid June, before on 10 July she and the Southard (DMS-10) departed for Fiji, escorting the Argonne(AP-4). They arrivd on 23 July, and on 31 July the Hovey joined the Minesweeping Group of the South Pacific Amphibious Force (Rear Admiral Richmond K. Turner).

USS Hovey (DD-208) at Sea, 1 September 1932
USS Hovey (DD-208)
at Sea,
1 September 1932

At the start of the invasion on 7 August the Hovey formed part of the screen for the transports. At 0800 she was assigned to a bombardment station, to cover the landings east of Gavutu, where she helped suppress fire from Japanese shore batteries. She was then used to sweep for mines between Gavutu and Bungana islands. On 8 August she moved into Lengo Channel where she helped fight off an attack by Japanese torpedo bombers, forming part of an anti-aircraft barrage so fierce that it forced the Japanese to drop their torpedoes too soon. The Hovey remained at Guadalcanal for just over a month, before she returned to New Caledonia to resupply on 13 September.

Her next mission was to carry a reconnaissance party of Marines from Samoa to Ndeni (or Nendo) on the Santa Cruz islands, to the east of the main Solomons group. She then returned to New Caledonia to pick up 127 drums of aviation fuel, which must have made a rather alarming deck cargo before she dropped it off at Tulagi on 12 October. On the same trip she towed two PT boats to the front. The Hovey then began a period of escort duties between Guadalcanal and Espiritu Santo well into 1943. During this period she was on the edge of the naval battle of Guadalcanal (13-15 November 1942), having delivered another load of aviation fuel on 10 November. On 12 November she was posted in the outer line of defences, and on the night of 12-13 November she helped escort the transport ships away from the danger zone.


USS Hovey (DD-208) rescues pilot of Grumman F3F
USS Hovey (DD-208) rescues pilot of Grumman F3F

On 19 April 1943 the Hovey departed for San Francisco. She returned to the Pacific with a convoy that departed on 31 May, reaching New Caledonia on 10 August. She then spent another two and a half months on escort and patrol duties, before she was chosen to join the III Amphibious Force (Rear Admiral. T.S. Wilkinson), for the landings at Cape Torokina on Bougainville on 1 November 1943 (Operation Cherryblossom). After the success of the landings she supported the attack on Empress Augusta Bay, screening the transport ships and carrying out minesweeping patrols in the invasion area.


The Hovey continued to carry out a mix of screening and escort duties in the Solomon Islands until 5 April 1944. She then departed to escort the dock landing ship USS Lindenwald (LSD-6) from Tulagi to Majuro in the Marshall Islands. She was back at Espiritu Santo by 11 April, and on 20 April she joined task Unit 34.9.3. This was built around the escort carrier USS Petrof Bay (CVE-80), which was being used to deliver replacement aircraft to the carriers at Manus. On 29 April the Task Unit rendezvoused with Fast Carrier Task Force 58 and provided aircraft that were to be used on the first carrier strikes on Truk. The Hovey then departed for the West Coast for repairs, arriving on 31 May 1944.

Twin 4"/50 breech from USS Hovey (DD-208) or USS Long (DD-209)
Twin 4"/50 breech from USS Hovey (DD-208) or USS Long (DD-209)

The Hovey left Pearl Harbor on 29 July and became the flagship of Mine Squadron Two (Commander W.R. Loud). On 6 September she departed from Port Purvis as part of the anti-submarine screen for the Western Gunfire Support Group (Rear Admiral Oldendorf) for the invasion of the southern Palau Islands.  The Hovey carried out a sweep in the gap between Anguar and Peleliu and the Kossel Passage, and then formed part of the anti-submarine screen for the transport ships.

During the invasion of Leyte the Hovey joined the Minesweeping and Hydrographic Group of the Escort Carrier Group (Rear Admiral Thomas Sprague). She began minesweeping operations ahead of the fast transports on 17 October, clearing the approaches to Dinagat Island. She also swept Looc bay and the approaches to Tacloban-Dulag, before retiring to Manus on 25 October.


During the landings at Lingayen on Luzon the Hovey was the flagship of the Minesweeping and Hydrographic Group (again under Commander Loud). She sortied from Leyte on 2 January 1945 and sailed into the Mindanao Sea. On 3 January a series of heavy air attacks began. In order to conserve ammunition the Hovey had to abandon the normal routine of firing at any suitable target and restrict herself to only firing on aircraft that posed a direct threat.

The minesweepers entered Lingayen Gulf on 6 January, where they came under heavy and effective air attack. Two kamikaze aircraft hit the Brooks and Long, causing heavy damage. The Hovey attempted to come to the aid of the Long, but was unable to get close because of explosions and more air attacks. She was able to pick up 149 survivors who had got off the Long. The surviving minesweepers withdrew at dusk. They came under attack again early on 7 January. This time the Hovey’s luck ran out. At 0450 one aircraft flew past her starboard quarter. A second came in from the port and was set on fire by USS Chandler. This burning aircraft hit the sea just off the starboard side of the Hovey at 0455, at the exact same moment that she was hit by a torpedo on the starboard side. The Hovey immediately lost power. The stern remained level while the bow listed 40 degrees to starboard as she tore herself in half. Two minutes late the bow listed to 90 degrees and then sank. Twenty four of her own crew were killed, along with 24 men from the Long and Brooks.

The Hovey received eight battle stars during the Second World War, for the occupation and defence of Guadalcanal, the naval battle of Guadalcanal, Cape Torkina, the southern Palaus, Leyte, Lingayen Gulf and Hollandia.

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)

Armour - belt


 - deck



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 April 1919


2 October 1919

Sunk by torpedo

7 January 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 (27 September 2018), USS Hovey (DD-208/ DMS-11) ,

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