USS La Vallette (DD-315)

USS La Vallette (DD-315) was a Clemson class destroyer that served with the Pacific Fleet during the 1920s before being scrapped in 1931.

The La Vallette was named after Elie A. F. La Vallette, who joined the US Navy during the War of 1812, fought in the Mexican War, commanded the African and Mediterranean Squadrons in 1850s and was one of the first rear admirals after that rank was established by President Lincoln.

The La Vallette was laid down at the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp, San Francisco on 14 April 1919 and launched on 15 July 1919 when she was sponsored by Miss Nancy Lane, daughter of the Secretary of the Interior. She was commissioned on 24 December 1920 and was commanded by Lt Commander A.D. Denny, although in February 1921 he was moved to the Naval Acadamy at Annapolis.

USS La Vallette (DD-315) during Presidential Review, 1927 USS La Vallette (DD-315) during Presidential Review, 1927

The future Vice Admiral Hyman G. Rickover served on her in 1922, soon after graduating from the Naval Academy.

In 1924 the La Vallette passed through the Panama Canal to take part in exercises in the Caribbean.

On 2 July 1924 the La Vallette struck a reef fifty miles north of San Francisco, but managed to get off under her own steam, and was undamaged.

In March-April 1925 the La Vallette took part in exercises in Hawaiian waters (Fleet Problem V), which ended with her having to go to Pearl Harbor for repairs.

In 1927 the La Vallette passed through the Panama Canal to take part in exercises in the Caribbean.

In August 1927 the La Vallette was one of eight destroyers posted along the air route from California to Hawaii for the Dole Air Race, a disasterous event that saw three deaths before the event, two aircraft disappear during the race and another lost during the rescue event. The La Vallette was posted forty miles out from San Francisco.

During 1929 the La Vallette was used as a plane guard for the new carrier Lexington(CV-2).

By the end of the 1920s it was clear that her Yarrow boilers were badly worn, and it was decided to decommission her and replace her with one of the many almost unused ships in the reserve. She was one of thirty-four ships to be decommissioned that were named in the press in October 1929. She was decommissioned at San Diego on 19 April 1930, and scrapped on 10 June 1931, helping American fulfil her obligations under the London Naval Treaty.

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



15 July 1919


24 December 1920


10 June 1931

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.
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (9 December 2020), USS La Vallette (DD-315) ,

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