USS Luce (DD-99/ DM-4)

USS Luce (DD-99) was a Wickes class destroyer that entered service late in the First World War, served in the Adriatic and eastern Mediterranean in 1919 and was converted into a minelayer after her return to the United States.

The Luce was named after Rear Admiral Stephen B. Luce, the first superintendent of the Naval War College at Newport, Rhode Islands.

The Luce was laid down at Quincy, Mass, on 9 February 1918, launched on 29 June 1918 and commissioned on 11 September 1918 with Lt. Commander R.C. Parker in command.

The Luce joined the Cruiser Force, Atlantic Fleet, at New York, on 21 September 1918. On 23 September she departed for France as part of the escort of Troop Convoy 67, but after reaching the Azores on 1 October she was detached from the convoy and sent to Gibraltar, where she arrived on 19 October. For the rest of the war she performed a mix of escort and patrol duties in the Mediterranean.

Anyone who served on her between 19 September and 11 November 1918 qualified for the First World War Victory Medal.

On 26 November the Luce left the western Mediterranean and moved to the Adriatic. She spent five months operating in the Adriatic, working with the Food Commission.

USS Luce (DD-99) as a minelayer, c.1921
USS Luce (DD-99)
as a minelayer, c.1921

In May-June 1919 the Luce operated in the Eastern Mediterranean, Aegean and Black Sea. On 15 May 1919 the Greeks occupied Smyrna, as part of a wider claim to the partly Greek populated areas of western Asia Minor. The Greeks had the support of President Woodrow Wilson, and a US naval squadron was moved to the port before the Greek occupation. This consisted of the battleship Arizona and the destroyers Dyer, Gregory, Luce and Manley, and reached Smyrna on 11 May. On the following day the Luce departed for Constantinople, along with the Gregory and the Stribling.

On 27 June 1919 the Luce returned to Gibraltar, from where she set sail for the United States. She reached New York on 10 July and then moved to Boston, where on 29 October she joined Reserve squadron 1 of the Atlantic Fleet.

Forward gun of USS Luce (DD-99)
Forward gun of USS Luce (DD-99)

On 18 March 1920 the Luce was reclassified as a Light Mine Layer, DM-4. This involved removing her torpedo tubes and adding mine tracks that ran from the stern from a point just aft of No.4 smokestack. In April she moved to Newport to join the destroyer force. Between 5 July and October 1921 she served with Mine Squadron 1, based at Gloucester, Mass, and took part in tactical exercises. The took part in a cruiser to the Caribbean in January 1922, and then moved to Philadelphia, where she was decommissioned on 30 June 1922.

The Luce was recommissioned on 19 March 1930, and in April moved to Panama, to operate with the submarines of the Canal Zone Control Force. This only lasted into May, and in June she returned to the East Coast. After a period of training with Mine Squadron 1, she moved to Boston, where she was decommissioned for the final time on 31 January 1931. She was sold for scrap on 29 September 1936.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

35kts design
34.81kts at 27,350shp at 1,236t on trial (Kimberly)


2 shaft Parsons turbines
4 boilers
27,000shp design


2,500nm at 20kts (design)

Armour - belt


 - deck



314ft 4.5in


30ft 11.5in


Four 4in/ 50 guns
Twelve 21in torpedo tubes in four triple mountings
Two 1-pounder AA guns
Two depth charge tracks

Crew complement


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

Books on the First World War | Subject Index: First World War

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (5 May 2017), USS Luce (DD-99/ DM-4) ,

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