USS Walke (DD-34)

USS Walke (DD-34) was a Monaghan class destroyer that served during the US interventions in Mexico and the Dominican Republic, from Queenstown during 1917 and off the US East Coast during 1918.

The Walke was named after Henry A. Walke, a US naval officer during the Mexican War and American Civil War, where he served on river duties and against blockade runners off South America.

The Walke was laid down at Quincy on 5 March 1910, launched on 3 November 1910 and commissioned on 22 July 1911. She joined the 9th Division, Atlantic Torpedo Fleet, and spent the next two years alternating between summers off the East Coast and winters in Cuba waters. On 29 December 1912 she was of three destroyers (including Sterett DD-27 and Perkins DD-26) that came to the aid of the Warrington (DD-30) after she was hit in the dark by a schooner that cut 30 feet off her stern. The Warrington was eventually taken under tow by a revenue cutter, and returned to the Norfolk Navy Yard for a year of repairs.

USS Warrington (DD-30), USS Walke (34), USS Porter (DD-59), Queenstown, 1918
USS Warrington (DD-30),
USS Walke (34),
USS Porter (DD-59),
Queenstown, 1918

This first period of operations ended on 1 November 1913 when she was placed into the reserve, although not decommissioned. She kept a commanding officer and partial crew, and put to sea at regular intervals to make sure her machinery remained in full working order. This involved some repairs, and in January 1914 one of her steam turbine rotors had to be replaced.

During this period the Walke suffered damage of her own, causing holes in the after starboard hull side. This required a series of repairs. On 3 March a diver went underwater to carry out early repairs. On 17 March underwater repairs were done from a platform balanced between two small boats, placed above the damaged part of the hull. This time a patch was installed over the hole. Finally she entered dry dock to have the hole repaired more permanently. Pictures from this date show the hole on the section of the hull just inside the starboard propeller shaft., with a small fairly round hole punched into the ship.

USS Walke (DD-34) undergoing repairs, March 1914
USS Walke (DD-34) undergoing repairs, March 1914

In March 1914 the Sterett was part of the Second Division, U.S. Atlantic Fleet Torpedo Flotilla, which then included Terry (DD-25), Sterett (DD-27), Monaghan (DD-32) and Walke (DD-34). Anyone serving on her between 26-28 April 1914 was entitled to the Mexican Service Medal.

In October-November 1914 the Walke was used for experiments with deep diving equipment in Long Island Sound. On 3 November 1914 Chief Gunner's Mate Stephen J. Drellishak reached a record depth of 274 ft, taking 1 hour and 20 minutes to reach the shore of Long Island Sound.  

The Walke left the reserve in July 1915. After a spell of official duties, she underwent an overhaul that lasted from 1 November 1915 until late February 1916. In May she joined the fleet supporting the US intervention in the Dominican Republic, and she spent the period between 6 May and 19 June operating along the coast of the Republic (with a few short breaks to resupply). On 3 June she provided 20 men to a landing party of 100 that was put ashore at Monti Cristi. Anyone who served on her between 11 May and 17 June 1916 qualified for the Dominican Campaign Medal.

Sailor on the bridge of USS Walke (DD-34)
Sailor on the bridge
of USS Walke (DD-34)

This spell of active service was followed by another eight month overhaul, which lasted until March 1917. She then entered the New York Navy Yard on the day that the US entered the First World War, for another 18 days of work. She spent a few days patrolling off New York, then moved to Charleston for sixteen days, before returning to New York to prepare for distance service.

On 23 May she left for European waters, but her endurance wasn't good enough for her to make the entire voyage under her own power, and so from 23-26 May she was towed by the collier Jupiter. She reached the Gironde on 5 June, and spent a short time operating there, before moving to Brest for an equally short spell. Finally she moved to Queenstown, which became her base until November. From Queenstown she performed the normal mix of anti-submarine patrols and convoy escort duties.

USS Walke (DD-18) firing 18in torpedo
USS Walke (DD-18) firing 18in torpedo

The Walke departed for the United States on 17 November 1917, once again making the first part of the trip under tow. She went into the Charleston Navy Yard for repairs between mid-December 1917 and March 1918, and then spent the rest of the war patrolling between Cape Cod and New York and escorting convoys entering or leaving New York.

In July 1918 she provided part of the escort for Troop Convoy Group 51, which left New York on 18 July 1918. At this stage the threat from U-boats was very real, and on day after the convoy sailed the cruiser San Diego was sunk by a mine laid by U-156 just off Long Island. The Western Escort Force took the convoy half way across the Atlantic, before handing over to the Eastern Escort on 28 July.

Anyone who served on her between 5 June 1917 and 4 October 1918 qualified for the First World War Victory Medal.

After the end of the war the Walke carried out more normal peacetime operations along the US East Coast, before being decommissioned on 12 December 1919. On 1 July 1933 she lost her name, and became simply DD-34, to allow DD-416 to became the new USS Walke. DD-34 was struck off the Navy List on 20 March 1935 and sold for scrap on 23 April 1935. 

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



3 November 1910


22 July 1911


Sold for scrap 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


Books on the First World War | Subject Index: First World War

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (14 April 2016), USS Walke (DD-34) ,

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