USS J Fred Talbott(DD-156/ AG-81)

USS J. Fred Talbott (DD-156/ AG-81) was a Wickes class destroyer that spent most of the Second World War on convoy escort duties in the Western Atlantic and Caribbean.

The J Fred Talbott was named after Joshua Frederick Cockey Talbott, a congressman for most of the period between 1878 and his death in 1918, who spend twenty five years on the Naval Affairs Committee.

The J. Fred Talbott was launched on 14 December 1918 at Cramps and commissioned on 30 June 1919. She departed for the Mediterranean on 10 July 1919, and spent the next year operating as a station ship in various European ports. She returned to the United States on 21 June 1920 and took part in normal peacetime fleet operations along the US east coast before being decommissioned on 18 January 1923.

USS J Fred Talbott (DD-156), New York

USS J Fred Talbott (DD-156),
New York

The J. Fred Talbott was recommissioned on 1 May 1930. She spent the next decade taking part in the normal round of fleet operations - a mix of summers on the US coast and winters in the Caribbean. She was also used for midshipman and reserve training.

After the outbreak of the Second World War the J. Fred Talbott operated with the Neutrality Patrol, mainly off the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal.

USS J Fred Talbott (AG-81), 1944 USS J Fred Talbott (AG-81), 1944

After the American entry into the Second World War, the J. Fred Talbott was allocated to convoy escort duties in the area between New Orleans, Cuba and the Panama Canal.

In January 1944 she underwent an overhaul in Boston. On 13 February she departed as part of the escort of a convoy heading to Casablanca. After this she spent the summer on convoy escort duties, a duty that took her from Iceland to the Caribbean.

On 15 September 1944 she arrived at New York to be converted into a target ship, with the new designation AG-81 (from 25 September 1944). From 1 November 1944 she operated as a target ship for torpedo bomber crews undergoing training and was based at Port Everglades, Florida. She continued in this role until the end of the war.

The J. Fred Talbott was decommissioned on 21 May 1946 and sold for scrap in November 1946.

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



14 December 1918


30 June 1919


21 May 1946

Sold for scrap

November 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 (15 January 2018), USS J Fred Talbott(DD-156/ AG-81) ,

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