USS Paul Hamilton (DD-307)

USS Paul Hamilton (DD-307) was a Clemson class destroyer that served with the Pacific Fleet during the 1920s before being scrapped because of her badly worn boilers.

The Paul Hamilton was named after Paul Hamilton, a veteran of the American War of Independence who went on to serve as Secretary of the Navy from 1809-1813

The Paul Hamilton was launched by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp at San Francisco on 21 February 1919 when she was sponsored by Miss Justin McGrath. She was commissioned on 24 September 1920 and allocated to Division Thirty-three, Squadron Six, Flotilla Two of the Cruiser-Destroyer Force Pacific based at San Diego.

On 21 January 1921 she was photographed with the combined Atlantic and Pacific Fleets in Panama Bay, during combined fleet exercises.

In April 1921 she was part of Destroyer Division Thirty-Three (Stoddert DD-302, Paul Hamilton DD-307, Reno DD-303, Kennedy DD-306, Thompson DD-305 and Farquhar DD-304).

In May 1921 she took part in a massive search for the missing fleet tug Conestoga, which had disappeared without a trace while sailing from California to American Samoa. Despite the massive search, her wreck wasn’t found until 2009 (just outside San Francisco Bay), and not identified until 2015.

In December 1921 the 32nd Destroyer Division (Stoddert, Reno, Farquhar, Thompson, Kennedy and Paul Hamilton) moved from San Diego to the Puget Sound Navy Yard, where they stayed until February 1922.

USS Paul Hamilton (DD-307), early 1920s USS Paul Hamilton (DD-307), early 1920s

The Paul Hamilton and her division represented the US Navy at the Monteray Industrial Fair of 1-4 September 1922.

On 8 September 1923 she was one of thirteen destroyers that were returning home after a trip to Puget Sound. The squadron turned to enter the Santa Barbara Channel, but they had misjudged their position. The leading seven ships ran aground on Honda Point, and were lost – the largest peacetime loss of destroyers in US navy history. The Paul Hamilton  was further back in the formation, and avoided the disaster.

The Farquhar, Paul Hamilton and Kennedy represented the Navy for the Independence Day celebrations at Port Angeles in 1924.

The Paul Hamilton  was sent to Pismo Beach for the Navy Day celebrations on 27 October 1925.

In 1926 thePaul Hamilton was part of a larger fleet that remained at San Diego for the Navy Day celebrations on 27 October.

At the end of September 1928 she provided part of a naval escort for the British Foreign Secretary Sir Austen Chamberlain as he passed through San Diego on a long cruise

In July 1929 she was part of a squadron that took part in a reservist training cruise (Farquhar, J F Burns, Stoddart, Thompson, Kennedy and Paul Hamilton).

By now it was clear that the Paul Hamilton’s Yarrow boilers were badly worn. The US Navy decided to swap thirty four of the badly worn destroyers for almost fresh sister-ships that had been in the reserves for most of the 1920s. The Paul Hamilton was decommissioned at San Diego on 20 January 1930 and scrapped in 1931.

Paul Hamilton was decommissioned on 20 January 1930 and was scrapped in 1931.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

35.51kts at 24,890shp at 1,107t on trial (Preble)


2-shaft Westinghouse geared turbines
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



21 February 1919


24 September 1920

Sold for Scrap


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
How to cite this article: Rickard, J (14 October 2020), USS Paul Hamilton (DD-307) ,

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