USS Kendrick (DD-612)

USS Kendrick (DD-612) was a Benson class destroyer that served on convoy escort duty, supported the invasion of Sicily, the campaign in Italy, the landings at Anzio, and the invasion of the South of France. 

The Kendrick was named after Charles S. Kendrick, who served in the Army’s Western Flotilla and then the US Navy during the American Civil War, dying of fever in August 1863.

The Kendrick was laid down by the Bethlehem Steel Co at San Pedro, California, launched on 2 April 1942 when she was sponsored by Kendrick’s great-granddaughter Mrs J. Hanson Delvac, and commissioned on 12 September 1942.

On 27 October the Kendrick and Altamaha (CVE-18) left Tacoma heading south to San Diego. During the trip the Kendrick reported spotting a submarine and three torpedoes fired at the carrier, but none of this was seen from the carrier. They reached San Diego on 31 October. The two ships then headed in different directions, with the Altamaha heading for the south-west Pacific and the Kendrick for the East Coast. She left San Diego on 11 December 1942 and reached Casco Bay, Maine, on 28 December, where she took part in anti-submarine warfare exercises.


The Kendrick then moved to New York. On 13 January 1943 she left New York as part of the escort of Convoy UGS-4, heading for Casablanca. She returned to New York on 13 February as part of the escort for a return convoy.

USS Kendrick (DD-612) at sea, 1943 USS Kendrick (DD-612) at sea, 1943

From then until late April she carried out patrol, escort and training duties along the East Coast, from Norfolk up to Newfoundland.

On 28 April she departed from New York to escort a convoy to Oran, Algeria, and returned to New York with a returning convoy on 8 June.

On 11 June the Kendrick left New York as part of Task Force 85 (Rear Admiral Kirk) which was escorting the transports carrying the 45th Infantry Division (General Troy Middleton). She reached Oran on 22 June.

On 5 July she departed for Sicily, and reached the beaches at Scoglitti on 9 July, the day of the invasion of Sicily. She remained off Sicily until 12 July, guarding the transports and landing craft. She then departed to New York as part of a convoy of troop ships returning to the US, arriving on 4 August.

The Kendrick left New York to escort a convoy east to Bizerta. They passed through the Straits of Gibraltar on 1 September, but on 2 October German Heinkel He-111 bombers attacked the convoy, taking advantage of poor visibility to get into position. One torpedo missed the Tillman, but another hit the Kendrick at the stern, damaging the rudder, steering compartment and fantail (although without inflicting any casualties). The aircraft was shot down. The Kendrick left the convoy and returned to Oran, although only after leaving life rings for the German crew and reporting their position (stopping to rescue them was out of the question with the danger of air attack). The torpedo appears to have hit the trailing edge of the rudder, and the force of the explosion went straight up, punching holes in the bottom plating, first platform and main deck. The explosion inflicted some damage on the propeller shafts, which were knocked slightly out of alignment, but both were still functional, and she was able to make a speed of 12.5 knots. Two depth charges were knocked off the stern and detonated 150 yards behind her. She was able to stay with the convoy for fifteen minutes after the attack, before being ordered to return to Oran. During this trip she had to move slower, at about 6.5 knots, because higher speeds caused excessive vibration.

Once she reached Oran all structures to the aft of frame 183 were removed. Damage in front of that point was temporarily repaired. A temporary bulkhead was built across the stern at frame 183. The damage to the propeller shafts was found to be too great for them to be used during the trip back to the States, so the propellers were removed. A temporary rudder was built to a design produced by the Kendrick’s commanding officer, taking power from the rear 5in mount. The Kendrick was then towed across the Atlantic to Norfolk, Virginia by the W.S.A tug Point Loma, arriving on 4 September 1943.

At Norfolk the damage was repaired and she was also given an overhaul.

After temporary repairs at Oran, Kendrick was towed to Norfolk, arriving 26 October. Upon completion of repairs she made a round-trip escort cruise to the United Kingdom


The Kendrick returned to service on 1 January 1944. She made a round trip escorting convoys to the United Kingdom and back.

On 18 February she departed from the US to escort a convoy to Oran, arriving on 5 March.

She then joined the forces supporting the fighting in Italy, initially as part of the screen for the cruiser Philadelphia.

On 12 April the Kendrick, MacKenzie (DD-614), Madison and Philadelphia carried out shore bombardment exercises near Mers-el-Kebir, Algeria.

On 14 May the Kendrick, Boyle (DD-600) and Philadelphia bombarded German targets near Gaeta, south of Anzio, supporting American troops that were advancing towards Anzio from the south.

During Operation Dragoon, the invasion of the South of France, the Kendrick was part of Rear Admiral Deyo’s Bombardment Group, a multinational force that included the Arkansas (BB-33), the British light cruiser HMS Argonaut and the French cruisers Duguay-Trouin and Emile Bertin. She left Palermo on 12 August and provided fire support for the 36th Infantry Division during the landings on 15 August. On 15-16 August she was used to attack German 88mm guns. On 25-26 August she bombarded gun emplacements and ammo dumps at St. Madrier. Soon after that she departed for the United States, arriving at Boston on 19 September.

In mid-November she left the US to escort another convoy to the Mediterranean, returning to New York on 15 December.


On 6 January 1945 the Kendrick left Norfolk to escort another convoy to the Mediterranean. On 18 January she joined the US 8th Fleet in the Mediterranean. She spent the next four months on mix of fire support missions, escort duties, air-sea rescue and patrol duties. She remained in the Mediterranean until after the end of the war in Europe.

On 15 May she left Oran to escort a convoy back to New York, arriving on 23 May. She underwent repairs at New York, and then moved to Cuba for training.

The Kendrick was then sent to the Pacific, reaching Pearl Harbor on 28 August, only a few days before the Japanese surrender. She never moved any further west, and instead spent some time training from Hawaii before returning to Charleston, South Carolina, on 16 October.

The Kendrick was decommissioned and joined the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at Orange, Texas on 31 March 1947. She never returned to service, and was struck off on 1 May 1966 before being destroyed in tests at sea carried out by the David Taylor Model Basin of Maryland.  

Kendrick received three battle stars for World War II service, for Sicily, Anzio and the South of France.

Displacement (standard)

1,620 design
1,911t as built

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

37.89kt at 51,390shp at 2,065t on trial (Mayo)


2-shaft Westinghouse turbines
4 boilers
50,000shp design


6,500nm at 12kt design
5,520nm at 12kt at 2,400t wartime
3,880nm at 20kt at 2,400t wartime

Armour - belt


 - deck



348ft 1in


36ft 2in


Five 5in/38 guns
Five 21in torpedoes
Ten 0.5in AA guns
Two depth charge tracks
One Y-Gun depth charge projector

Crew complement


Laid Down



2 April 1942


12 September 1942

Struck off

1 May 1966

Destroyed in tests


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 (31 July 2023), USS Kendrick (DD-612) ,

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