USS Pruitt (DD-347/ DM-22)

USS Pruitt (DD-347) was a Clemson class destroyer that served in the Aleutians and off Bougainville during 1943, but spent most of the rest of the war on training or escort duties.

The Pruitt was named after John H. Pruitt, a corporal in the Marine Corps who was killed in action on the Western Front on 4 October 1918 and awarded the Medal of Honor.

USS Pruitt (DD-347) in Dry Dock USS Pruitt (DD-347) in Dry Dock

The Pruitt was laid down by the Bath Iron Works on 25 June 1919, launched on 2 August 1920 when she was sponsored by Mrs. Belle Pruitt and commissioned on 2 September 1920.

At the start of April 1921 she was used to transport Secretary of theNavy Demby back to the US after a two week visit to the Atlantic Fleet at Guantanamo Bay.

Her commander from early 1921 to early 1922 was Oscar C. Badger, who then left to become gunnery officer for a destroyer squadron in the Atlantic Fleet. During the Second World War he served in a variety of roles, most famous as Commander, Battleship Division 7 for the last year of the war

The Pruitt spent most of the 1920s serving with the Asiatic Squadron, generally splitting her time between winter in the Philippines and summers operating along the coast of China. She was photographed at Hankow in April-May 1923 and Shanghai in October 1928.

Towards the end of the 1930s the Pruitt was one of a number of Clemson class destroyers that were converted into fast mine layers, becoming DM-22.

1941

The Pruitt was part of MinDiv 1 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, and like her sister ships was in the middle of an overhaul, with most of her guns and ammo removed. As a result many of her crew were sent to other ships to help man their anti-aircraft guns, tackle fires and supply ammo. Only one of her crew was lost during the attack, G.R. Keith who had been sent from the receiving barracks to USS Pennsylvania and was killed there.

1942

The Pruitt’s overhaul was completed by the end of January 1942. She then took up duties with the Hawaiian Sea Frontier, carrying patrols and laying defensive minefields.

On 19 June she left Hawaii heading for Bremerton, from where she moved north to Kodiak, to carry out a mix of minelaying and escort missions from there into the Aleutian Islands. This continued into the autumn of 1942, with a number of breaks for escort missions to Hawaii.

In the autumn of 1942 the Pruitt moved back south and began a spell of escort duties along the US West Coast.

1943

1943 would prove to be her most active year of the war, and saw her take part in the campaign to recapture the Aleutians and the fighting around Bougainville. However it started with her training with the 4th Marine Raider Battalion off the coast of Southern California, and more escort missions.

USS Pruitt (DD-347) in the Panama Canal USS Pruitt (DD-347) in the Panama Canal

On 24 April she left San Francisco as part of Task Force 51, to take part in the invasion of Attu. She arrived off the island on 11 May and was given the task of escorting landing craft into Massacre Bay then guiding their boats into shore. This was a difficult task due to thick fog, which made it almost impossible to keep the formations together and caused a great deal of confusion. Luckily the landing was unopposed and real fighting didn’t start until the following day. She was a rather unusual choice for this role, as she didn’t have radar of her own and thus had to be guided into the bay by USS Dewey. After the initial attack was over, she was used for anti-submarine and anti-aircraft duties, then spent the rest of the month escorting smaller ships from Amchitka and Adak.

On 6 June the Pruitt returned to San Francisco for another spell of escort duties along the coast, covering the full area from Southern California up to Alaska.

In September 1943 the Pruitt set off on her one trip into the warzone in the western Pacific. She reached Purvis Bay on Florida Island in late October, and then moved to Acre, in the New Hebrides to pick up mines. On 2nd, 8th and 24th November she took part in minelaying operations along the south coast of Bougainville, which were carried out to protect the troops fighting around Cape Torokina on Bougainville.

1944

In December 1943 the Pruitt began a period of escort duties, operating in the Solomon Islands, the New Hebrides, New Caledonia and the Society Islands. This lasted into the summer of 1944.

On 18 July 1944 the the Pruitt returned to San Francisco for an overhaul. This was over by October when she departed for Pearl Harbor. After her arrival she helped train submarines around the islands.

In late November the Pruitt was sent to Midway, and she patrolled around that island from 29 November to 15 January 1945.

1945

On 22 January the Pruitt began operations with the Training Command of the Submarine Force, operating to the south-west of Oahu. She carried out that role for the rest of the war, and was redesignated as AG-101 on 5 June 1945, to reflect the end of her active career as a destroyer. She was inactivated in September, departed for the US East Coast on 21 September, reached Philadelphia in October and was decommissioned on 16 November 1945. She was struck off on 5 December 1945 and scrapped at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

Pruitt earned 3 battle stars during World War II, for Pearl Harbor, the occupation of Attu, and the occupation of Cape Torokina.

Displacement (standard)

1,190t

Displacement (loaded)

1,308t

Top Speed

35kts
35.51kts at 24,890shp at 1,107t on trial (Preble)

Engine

2-shaft Westinghouse geared tubines
4 boilers
27,000shp (design)

Range

2,500nm at 20kts (design)

Armour - belt

 

 - deck

 

Length

314ft 4in

Width

30ft 10.5in

Armaments

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

114

Launched

2 August 1920

Commissioned

2 September 1920

Struck off

5 December 1945

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 (28 July 2021), USS Pruitt (DD-347/ DM-22) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_USS_Pruitt_DD347.html

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