USS Schenck (DD-159/ AG-82)

USS Schenck (DD-159/ AG-82) was a Wickes class destroyer that served on convoy escort duties in the Atlantic and in a hunter-killer group, taking part in the sinking of U-645

The Schenck was named after an officer in the US Navy who served in the Mexican War and the American Civil War, retiring with the rank of rear admiral.

Awnings on USS Schenck (DD-159)
Awnings on
USS Schenck

The Schenck was laid down by the New York Shipbuilding Co. on 26 March 1918, launched on 23 April 1919 and commissioned on 30 October 1919. She joined the Atlantic Fleet, and spent most of her time operating along the east coast. In July-September 1920 she patrolled off the east coast of Mexico, and in 1921 she took part in fleet exercises in the Caribbean. She was reduced to half complement on 7 November 1921 and decommissioned on 9 June 1922.

During 1920 her executive office, and briefly commander (from 29 September to 5 October) was John L. Hall, who later went on to hold senior posts during the D-Day invasions and the invasion of Okinawa. In March 1920 she helped tow the British merchanship Crostafels off Ceiba Bank, where she had run aground.

The Schenck was recomissisioned on 1 May 1930. She took part in a reservist training during the summer of 1930. In January 1931 she took part in Fleet Problem XII in the Caribbean. In 1932 she took part in Fleet Problem XIII off Hawaii. She then remained in the Pacific as part of the Scouting Fleet until June 1932. In February 1933 she returned to the Pacific for Fleet Problem XIV, and remained there until April 1934. She then returned to the Caribbean for more exercises. Between May 1935 and the outbreak of the Second World War she alternated between the rotating reserve and periods training naval reservists and midshipmen.

On 9 September 1939 the Schenck joined the Neutrality Patrol, at first off the east coast and later from Key West. In the summer of 1940 she took part in two midshipmen cruises from the Naval Acadamy at Annapolis. She then returned to patrol duties in the Caribbean, operating there from 22 August-8 December 1940, 15 January-18 March 1941 and 27 June-14 July 1941. In April 1941 she trained off Nantucket with Cruiser Division 7.

In mid September she moved to Argentia, Newfoundland, where she began to escort convoys to the mid ocean meeting point, where the Royal Navy took over. Her first convoy left Argentia on 29 September, and she spent most of her time between then and April 1943 operatingf on the Argentia to Iceland route. Between 19 February and 8 May 1942 and 18 August 1942-23 March 1943 she was based on Iceland. Only two of her convoys were attacked, the first on 15 August 1942, the second on 6-8 February 1943.

USS Schenck (DD-159) moored USS Schenck (DD-159) moored

During the summer of 1943 she escorted convoys between the east coast, the Caribbean and North Africa. Late in 1943 she joined a hunter-killer group based around the escort carrier USS Card (CVE-11). On 24 December 1943 this group found a wolf pack, beginning a short but costly battle. The Card's group sank U-645, but soon afterwards the U-boats sank the destroyer USS Leary (DD-158). The Schenck helped pick the few survivors from the Leary, while the Decatur (DD-341) screened the carrier against any further attacks.

Between February and March 1944 the Schenck escorted a convoy to Casablanca and another one back to the US. Between 17 April and 10 June she escorted the Antaeus (AG-67) as she carried troops along the US east coast. From 10 July-29 August she was used to help train submarines at Bermuda.

She then entered the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where her armament was removed. She then became a torpedo target ship, serving under the Commander, Air Force, Atlantic Fleet, becoming AG-82 on 25 September 1944. During this period she was twice hit by practise torpedoes that were running too shallow and one by an aircraft flying too low.

The Schenck was decommissioned on 17 May 1946, struck off on 5 June 1946 and sold for scrap on 25 November 1946.

The Schenk earned two battle stars during the Second World War, both for the same period. One was for her role in Task Group 21.14 between 2 December 1943 and 2 January 1944, the second was for her part in an attack on a wolf pack on 24 December 1943 that resulting in the sinking of U-645.

Displacement (standard)

1,160t (design)

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

35kts (design)
35.34kts at 24,610shp at 1,149t on trial (Wickes)


2 shaft Parsons turbines
4 boilers
24,200shp (design)


3,800nm at 15kts on trial (Wickes)
2,850nm at 20kts on trial (Wickes)

Armour - belt


 - deck



314ft 4in


30ft 11in

Armaments (as built)

Four 4in/50 guns
Twelve 21in torpedoes in four triple tubes
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


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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (2 February 2018), USS Schenck (DD-159/ AG-82) ,

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