USS Trippe (DD-33)

USS Trippe (DD-33) was a Monaghan class destroyer that took part in the intervention in Mexico in 1914, then operated from Queenstown during 1917-18 before finishing her active career with the Coast Guard in the late 1920s.

The Trippe was named after John Trippe, a US Navy officer who served in the Quasi-War with France, the campaign against Tripoli and a standoff with HMS Moselle in 1910.

The Trippe was laid down at Bath on 12 April 1910, launched on 20 December 1910 and commissioned on 23 March 1911. She joined the Atlantic Torpedo Fleet and spent the next three years taking part in the normal mix of summers off the East Coast and winters in Cuban waters.

USS Trippe (DD-33) leaving Queenstown, December 1918
USS Trippe (DD-33)
leaving Queenstown,
December 1918

In 1914 she took part in the US intervention in Mexico. She arrived off Tampico on 22 April and spent a week blockading that port. On 1 May she moved to Veracruz, to support the US occupation of the city. She stayed there for most of March, operating alongside a powerful US fleet. 

Anyone who served on her between 22 April and 25 May 1914 was entitled to the Mexican Service Medal.

After the Mexican interlude the Trippe returned to her normal routine for another year and a half, but on 13 December 1915 she joined the 2nd Reserve Flotilla, on 5 January 1916 she was designated as a 'Destroyer operating with reduced complement' and on 27 January she was decommissioned into the reserve.

This didn't last for long. On 25 July 1916 she was recommissioned, and she spent the last months before the US entry into the war operating along the US East Coast. This continued for a month after the US entry into the war on 6 April 1917, before on 21 May 1917 she left for distance service. Her base for the rest of the war Queenstown, and her first wartime patrol began on 5 June 1917. At first she spent much of her time on anti-submarine patrols, but convoy escort became an increasingly important role.

On 29 July 1917 USS Wadsworth (DD-60) carried out two depth charge attacks on submarines. In the aftermath of the second attack the Trippe hit a metallic object that gave her a 10 degree list, suggesting that the Wadsworth's attacks had caused some damage.

USS Trippe (DD-33), Hudson River, October 1912
USS Trippe (DD-33), Hudson River, October 1912

Her only direct contact with a U-boat came on 18 September 1917, while operating alongside the Jacob Jones (DD-61). The two destroyers were 350 miles west of Brest when they spotted the wake from a submarine periscope. The Trippe dropped depth charges, but without any results. That night she was hit by a fierce storm that actually knocked her starboard wait gun platform overboard!

In 1917-18 she was commanded by Robert Carlisle Giffen, a future Admiral who took part in the Second World War neutrality patrol, Operation Torch and the last two years of the Pacific War.

Anyone who served on the Trippe between 1 June 1917 and 11 November 1918 qualified for the First World War Victory Medal.

The Trippe departed France in December 1918, and reached Boston on 3 January 1919. She spent the next six months operating along the East Coast, before moving to Philadelphia in July where she was decommissioned on 6 November 1919.

In 1924 the Trippe was reactivated for use with the Coast Guard's 'Rum Patrol'. She had her torpedo tubes, depth charges and one 3in gun removed, and was commissioned by the Coast Guard as Trippe (CG-20) on 24 June 1924. She spent four years operating from New London, before being placed into reduced commission on 5 January 1929. In early 1930 she was overhauled at the New York Navy Yard and a final period of coast guard operations followed in April-December 1930. She was decommissioned by the Coast Guard on 15 April 1931, returned to the Navy on 2 May and sold for scrap on 22 August 1934.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

29.5kt design
30.89kts at 14,978shp at 883 tons on trial (Trippe)
29.5kts at 13,472shp at 891 tons on trial (Henley)


3-shaft Parsons turbines
4 Thornycroft or Normand or Yarrow boilers


2,175nm at 15kts on trial
1,913nm at 20kts on trial

Armour - belt


 - deck



292ft 8in




Five 3in/50 guns
Six 18in torpedo tubes in twin tubes

Crew complement



20 December 1910


23 March 1911


Sold for scrap 1934

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 (14 April 2016), USS Trippe (DD-33) ,

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