USS Reid (DD-21)

USS Reid (DD-21) was a Smith class destroyer that served from the Azores in 1917 and then from Brest from October 1917 until the end of the First World War.

The Reid was named after Samuel Chester Reid, an officer in the US Navy who fought in the War of 1812 and took part in the defence of New Orleans. The Reid was laid down by the Bath Iron Works at Maine on 3 August 1908, launched on 17 August 1909 and commissioned on 3 December 1909.

USS Reid (DD-21) in Louisiana Intercoastal Canal
USS Reid (DD-21) in
s Intercoastal Canal

After undergoing trials off Rockland, Maine, she joined the Atlantic Torpedo Flotilla. She spent most of her time before the US entry into the First World War operating off the US East Coast. On 1 January 1914 she was part of the First Division, U.S. Atlantic Fleet Torpedo Flotilla.

The Reid took part in the 1914 intervention in Mexico and anyone who served on her between 28 and 30 April 1914 qualified for the Mexican Service Medal.

The Reid took part in the American intervention in Santo Domingo in 1916, and anyone serving on her between 9 May and 17 June 1916 was awarded the Dominican Campaign Medal.

She then returned to Mexican waters and anyone who served on her between 26 and 28 June 1916 qualified for the Mexican Service Medal.

On 6 April 1917, as the United States entered the First World War, the Reid joined the Southern Patrol Force at Key West. This was a short-lived assignment, and on 14 April she left to join Squadron 1, Patrol Force, at Boston, to patrol off the north-east coast. In early May she moved to Squadron 2, Patrol Force, but this was another short term assignment, and on 15 May she joined the Destroyer Force. From 17 May until 5 July she protected the approaches to New York,

On 21 July she departed for the Azores, and between 1 August and 30 September she operated from those islands, carrying out a mix of escort duties and anti-submarine patrols.

In October she was moved to the main US naval base in France, at Brest, from where she continued to perform a mix of patrol and escort duties. On 23 October she was damaged after she was rammed by the minesweeper W. T. James (SP-429), but the damage was light and she was repaired at Brest.

In June-July she was one of seven destroyers escorting a convoy of eight transport ships west across the Atlantic after carrying US troops to France (Little DD-79, Conner DD-72, Cummings DD-44, Porter DD-59, Jarvis DD-38, Smith DD-17 and Reid DD-21). On 1 July 1918 U-86 sank the transport ship Covington (ID # 1409), previously the SS Cincinnati of the Hamburg-American Line. According to the Dictionary of American Fighting Ships six crewmen were killed and 770 rescued. The Reid attempted to attack U-86 but without success.

Anyone who served on her between 31 July 1917 and 13 November 1918 qualified for the First World War Victory Medal.

The Reid was part of the large American flotilla that left Brest on 11 December 1918. She returned to Charleston, then moved to Philadephia, where she was decommissioned on 31 July 1919. She was sold on 21 November 1919.

Displacement (standard)

600t design

Displacement (normal load)

900t as built

Top Speed

28kts design
28.36kts at 9,946shp at 716t on trial (Smith)


3-shaft Parsons turbines
4 boilers


2,800nm at 10kts design
2,000nm at 18kts on trial


293ft 10in


26ft 0in


Five 3in guns
Two 0.30in guns
Three 18in torpedo tubes

Crew complement



17 August 1909


3 December 1909


Sold 1919

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 February 2016), USS Reid (DD-21) ,

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