USS Sinclair (DD-275)

USS Sinclair (DD-275) was a Clemson class destroyer that had a fairly active career with the Pacific Fleet during the 1920s, before faulty boilers prevented her conversion into a target ship

The Sinclair was named after Arthur Sinclair, who served in the US Navy during the war with Tripoli and the War of 1812.

The Sinclair was laid down by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corps at Squantum Mass on 15 October 1918. She was launched on 2 June 1919 when she was sponsored by Sinclair’s granddaughter Mrs George Barnett, and commissioned on 8 October 1919.

USS Sinclair (DD-275) with her rails manned
USS Sinclair (DD-275)
with her rails manned

After her shakedown cruiser the Sinclair was almost immediately put to use. She was sent to the Caribbean and from 7-25 February 1920 patrolled off the coasts of Honduras and Guatemala, during a period of unrest in both countries. From 13-18 March she took part in efforts to salvage the submarine USS H-1, which had run aground off Santa Mararita Island, California. On 24 March the submarine was finally pulled off the rocks, only to sink in deeper water.

After that early drama she joined the Pacific Fleet at San Diego. The excitement wasn’t over just yet. On 9 July 1920 she picked up the Secretary of the Navy and the Commander in Chief of the United States Pacific Fleet (Josephus Daniels and Admiral Hugh Rodman) to take them on a tour of the ports of Alaska and British Columbia. Daniels transferred to the Idaho (BB-42) on 18 July, but Rodman remained onboard until 12 August when he moved to the New Mexico (BB-40) at Puget Sound. The Sinclair didn’t remain in service for much longer. The Dictionary of American Fighting Ships reports that she was decommissioned on 25 May 1920, but this must be an error for 1921.

On 8 September 1923 seven destroyers were wrecked off Honda Point, in the greatest peacetime loss of ships in US naval history. The Sinclair was recommissioned to replace one of the lost destroyers, and allocated to the Battle Fleet. She joined her new fleet in January 1924 in time to move east to take part in a fleet concentration in the Caribbean between 25 January and 5 April. After her return to the West Coast she underwent a refit at Puget Sound from 3 May-13 June. She took part in the fleet’s summer exercises, before spending the period from 1 October 1924-3 April 1925 at San Diego.

From 12 April-19 June 1925 she underwent another overhaul at Puget Sound, after which she joined the fleet at Pearl Harbor, arriving on 27 June. On 1 July she left Pearl Harbour to take part in a Battle Fleet visit to the South-West Pacific that included visits to Melbourne, Australia, Auckland and Wellington in New Zealand and American Samoa. The Sinclair returned to San Diego on 26 September 1925.

1926 began with fleet exercises off the Panama Canal Zone, which occupied the Sinclair from 1 February to 6 March. From 15 March-30 April she was under repair at Bremerton, and from 21 June to 1 September she was engaged in Battle Fleet exercises off Puget Sound.

Engine Room Crew of USS Sinclair (DD-275) Engine Room Crew of USS Sinclair (DD-275)

1927 followed a similar pattern. This time the fleet exercises were in the Caribbean. The Sinclair left San Diego on 17 February, passed through the Panama Canal on 4 March and the exercises lasted until 13 April. She was back at San Diego on 24 April, and once again moved to Bremerton for repairs from 4 May-28 June. The rest of the summer was spent training naval reservists in the Puget Sound area, before she returned to San Diego once again on 9 September.

1928 started with an overhaul at Puget Sound, which lasted from 26 March to 9 May. She then moved to Pearl Harbor to take part in the fleet exercises, before returning to San Diego on 23 June. On 5 July she departed for northern waters to take part in exercises that lasted until 18 August. She then returned to San Diego, and operated in that are from 1 September to 15 January 1929.

At the start of 1929 she took part in Fleet Problem IX, off Panama, from 27 January to 21 February. Once again she moved to Puget Sound for an overhaul, which began on 17 March. but this was never completed, and instead it was decided to decommission her. She returned to San Diego on 8 April and was decommissioned on 1 June 1929.

In 1930 it was decided to convert her into a target ship. On 22 November 1930 she was renamed as USS Light Target #3 (IX-37), but perhaps unsurprisingly given the amount of time she had spent being repaired or overhauled, her boilers proved to be faulty. The conversion was cancelled, and she was replaced by the Kilty (DD-137). The Sinclair reverted to her original name on 24 April 1931 and to her DD-275 designation on 11 August 1931, but remained out of commission. She was finally struck off on 5 June 1935 and sold for scrap on 30 August 1935.

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)


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



2 June 1919


8 October 1919

Sold for scrap

30 August 1935

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 (6 April 2020), USS Sinclair (DD-275) ,

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