USS Kennison (DD-138/ AG-83)

USS Kennison (DD-138/ AG-83) was a Wickes class destroyer that operated as a coastal escort off Califonia from 1941-44 and then as a target ship for the rest of the war.

The Kennison was named after William W. Kennison, a US Naval Officer during the American Civil War.

USS Kennison (DD-138) and USS Stansbury (DD-180)
USS Kennison (DD-138)
and USS Stansbury (DD-180)

The Kennison (DD-138) was launched on 8 June 1918 at Mare Island and commissioned on 2 April 1919. She was based at San Diego from 25 March 1920, where she joined Destroyer Division Seventeen, along with the Claxton (DD-140), Ward (DD-139), Boggs (DD-136) and Hamilton (DD-141).

During the summer of 1920 she was used for experimental torpedo and anti-aircraft exercises. From then until 12 August 1921 she was used for coastal operations and tactical exerises. She was then placed into half commission at San Diego, before being decommissioned on 22 June 1922. By 1922 her aft 4/50 gun nad been moved to the top of an enlarged after deckhouse.

The Kennison was recommissioned on 18 December 1939, and on 6 May 1940 joined the Neutrality Patrol, still operating from San Diego, Between June and September 1940 she took part in reserve training cruises, before resuming Neutrality Patrols on 14 October 1940. From then until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor she continued with the same roles.

USS Kennison (AG-83), San Diego, 1945
USS Kennison (AG-83), San Diego, 1945

From 1942 until 1944 the Kennison took part in anti-submarine warfare operations, convoy escort duties and submarine escort missions, mainly along the Californian coast.

On 22 September she moved to the Bremerton Navy Yard for conversion into a target ship, AG-83. From 9 November 1944 until the end of the war she was used as a target ship for Navy aircrew practising with aerial torpedos.

After the end of the war the Kennison moved to the East Coast, where she was decommissioned on 21 November 1945 and sold for scrap on 18 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



8 June 1918


2 April 1919

Sold for scrap

18 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 (24 October 2017), USS Kennison (DD-138/ AG-83) ,

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