USS Selfridge (DD-320)

USS Selfridge (DD-320) was a Clemson class destroyer that served with the Pacific Fleet in the 1920s before being scrapped because of her badly worn boilers.

The Selfridge was named after Thomas O. Selfridge, who served in the US Navy from 1818 to 1866, serving the Mexican War and briefly returing to sea early in the Civil War before wounds suffered in Mexico forced him bad on shore.

The Selfridge was laid down by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corps at San Francisco on 28 April 1919, launched on 25 July 1919when she was sponsored by Mrs. Catherine Kellond, granddaughter of Rear Admiral Selfridge and commissioned on 17 February 1921.

USS Selfridge (DD-320) at Sea USS Selfridge (DD-320) at Sea

The Selfridge reached her home port at San Diego on 16 March 1921, and remained there until June 1922. The Selfridge spent most of July and August 1922 operating with the Battle Fleet in the waters around Puget Sound, before returning to San Diego late in August.

On 6 February 1923 she left San Diego heading for the Canal Zone where between 26 February and 31 March she took part in Fleet Problem I, a mock attack on the Panama canal by aircraft carriers. She returned to San Diego on 11 April, then moved to the Mare Island Navy Yard for an overhaul that lasted from 30 May to 16 July. She then returned to the fleet to take part in summer exercises off Washington State.

At the start of September 1923 Destroyer Division 35 (Marcus, Mervine, Selfridge, Mullany and Chase) visited Humboldt Bay in Northern California, to take part in the convention of the American Legion, which was taking part in Eureka, the largest community on the bay.  During her return voyage she rescued the survivors from SS Cuba, which had been wrecked on San Miguel Island on 8 September.

On 2 January 1924 the Selfridge left San Diego with the Battle Fleet to take part in Fleet Problems II, III and IV in the Caribbean. She remained with the fleet until 6 April. After these exercises the Pacific Fleet paid a series of visits to ports around the Caribbean and US east coasts. The Selfridge and the Marcus were  allocated to Beaumont and Port Arthur, Texas.. She returned to San Diego on 22 April and left again on 25 June for exercises off Puget Sound. They were followed by an overhaul at Mare Island that lasted from 5 August to 1 October. On Navy Day, 27 October 1924, the Marcus and the Selfridge visited Port San Luis

On 1 April 1925 the Selfridge departed from San Diego heading for Pearl Harbor, where she arrived on 27 April. This was probably too late for that year's Fleet Problem, but she did take part in joint Army- Navy exercises in Hawaiian waters. She left Pearl Harbor on 25 June, underwent an overhaul at Bremerton from 9 August-3 August and was back at her base at San Diego on 6 October. 

On 1 February 1926 she left San Diego to take part in Fleet Problem VI, which was held off the west coast of Central America. She was back at San Diego on 1 April, underwent repairs at Mare Island from 9 August-22 September and was back at her base on 24 September.

USS Selfridge (DD-320) and USS S-25 (SS-313) at power-boat race USS Selfridge (DD-320) and USS S-25 (SS-313) at power-boat race

In February 1927 she left San Diego heading for the Canal Zone. She passed through the canal on 4 March, and took part in Fleet Problem VII, a mock attack on the Panama Canal from the Caribbean. After the exercises she visited New York, then took part in joint Army-Navy exercises in Narragansett Bay. She reached Hampton Roads on 29 May where she took part in a Presidential Review.

This was followed by her one spell of active service, when she was allocated to the Special Service Squadron that took part in the American intervention in Nicaragua. She carried out two patrols off Nicaragua, from 18 June-2 July and 16-26 July. She then returned to Mare Island for an overhaul, before reaching San Diego once again on 30 September.

She left San Diego once again on 9 April 1928, to take part in Fleet Problem VIII. This was held on the way from California to Pearl Harbor and was a clash between the battle force and a cruiser force. She reached Pearl Harbor on 28 April. She was back at San Diego on 23 June, but then took part in a two week training cruiser to Honolulu. On her return she underwent an overhaul at Mare Island from 26 July-19 October.

In the summer of 1928 she was part of Destroyer Division 35 (Marcus, Mervine, Mullany, Selfridge, Chase and Robert Smith). This division was used to take naval reservists from southern California on a training cruise to Honolulu and back, then in late July departed from Puget Sound to join the battle fleet which was carrying out maneuvers in northern waters. However the Selfridge remained behind for an overhaul at Mare Island that lasted from 26 July to 19 September.

Between 27 January and 11 March 1929 she took part in Fleet Problem IX, an attack on the Panama Canal using aircraft carriers on both sides.

By now it was clear that the Selfridge’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 Selfridge was decommissioned at San Diego on 8 February 1930, scrapped at Mare Island and her materials sold on 2 September 1931, helping to fulfil the terms of the London Naval Treaty.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

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


2-shaft Westinghouse geared tubines
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



25 July 1919


17 February 1921

Sold for scrap

2 September 1931

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 (13 January 2021), USS Selfridge (DD-320) ,

Help - F.A.Q. - Contact Us - Search - Recent - About Us - Privacy