USS Lardner (DD-286)

USS Lardner (DD-286) was a Clemson class destroyer that served with the Atlantic and Scouting Fleets during the 1920s and spent a year in European waters before she was decommissioned in 1930.

The Lardner was named after James L. Lardner, who served in the US Navy from the 1820s until his retirement in 1864, commanding the frigate Susquehanna during the Civil War.

The Lardner was launched at the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp’s Squantum plant on 29 September 1919 and sponsored Miss Margaret Large, Admiral Lardner’s granddaughter. She was commissioned on 10 December 1919 and assigned to the Destroyer Force of the Atlantic Fleet.

After her shakedown cruiser the Lardner joined the fleet at Guantanamo Bay, where she took part in the normal winter exercises. She returned to Boston on 15 May 1920 then spent the next few months operating along the coast of Florida. On 28 August she entered the reserve fleet at Charleston, and was used to train naval reservists.

USS Lardner (DD-286) at Toulon, 1927
USS Lardner (DD-286)
at Toulon, 1927

She rejoined the main fleet in April 1921, took part in the normal fleet operations for the rest of 1921 and 1922.

In January 1923 she joined the Scouting Fleet off Cuba. In February the Scouting Fleet joined the Pacific Fleet off Panama for Fleet Problem I, an attack on the defences of the Panama Canal. After the exercise was over the Lardner returned to Norfolk for a refit, then operated with the Scouting Fleet off New England for the rest of the summer and autumn. She then moved to the Caribbean for the winter of 1923-24 to take part in the annual training exercises in those waters.

On 6 March 1924 a detachment of forty marines from USS Florida came onboard the Lardner at Guantanamo Bay. The destroyer then sailed for Honduras, and on 8 March a force of 40 marines and 45 sailors were landed at La Ceiba, Honduras. They established a neutral zone at Mazapon, before returning to the Lardner on 13 March. Anyone who landed qualified for the Honduras Expeditionary Medal.

From the spring of 1924 until September 1925 the Lardner operated along the Atlantic coast. In September 1925 she departed for Guantanamo, then visited Haiti, before returning to Charleston on 28 April 1926.

On 17 June 1926 the Lardner joined Destroyer Division 27, which spent the next year in European waters. In September 1926 she was off Gibraltar and she then carried out a series of goodwill visits to Mediterranean ports. In the summer of 1927 she departed for the US, towing the steam yacht USS Scorpion (PY-3) on part of her voyage back from the Eastern Mediterranean, where she had served as the station ship.

Between August 1927 and September 1929 the Lardner returned to the usual pattern of life in the Atlantic and Scouting Fleets, spending the summer on the US East Coast and the winters in the Caribbean

One of her last commanders was Willis A. Lee, who rose to command the Pacific Fleet battleships during the Pacific War.

By the late 1920s it was clear that the Yarrow boilers used by Bethlehem were wearing out quickly and it was decided to replace the worn out ships with fresher ships from the reserve. The Lardner was decommissioned on 1 May 1930. She was then chosen to be scraped under the terms of the London Naval Treaty and was struck off on 22 October 1930 and sold for scrap on 17 January 1931.

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)


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



29 September 1919


10 December 1919

Sold for scrap

17 January 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 (27 May 2020), USS Lardner (DD-286) ,

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