USS Walker (DD-163/ YW-57/ DCH-1/ IX-44)

USS Walker (DD-163/ YW-57/ DCH-1/ IX-44) was a Wickes class destroyer that had a very short career and was later considered for a variety of alternative roles, before being scrapped without performing any of them.

The Walker (DD-163) was named after John Grimes Walker, a US naval officer during the American Civil War who served in the river campaigns.

The Walker was laid down by the Fore River Shipbuilding Co on 19 June 1918, launched on 14 September 1918 and commissioned on 31 January 1919. Her first task was to escort the George Washington as it carried President Woodrow Wilson back from Paris. She then joined Division 18, Destroyer Force and joined the fleet in the Caribbean in March 1919.

In April the Walker returned to New York, ready to help support the first successful transatlantic flight, which was completed by the Navy Curtiss Flying Boat NC-4. She was posted at Trepassy Bay from 6-8 May, then from 10-17 May served as one of the picket ships that lined the route, taking up a position next to USS Crosby (DD-164)

In the summer of 1919 the Walker was transferred to the Pacific, passing through the Panama Canal on 24 July 1919. After visiting Acapulco she moved to her new base at San Diego. After a few months operating with the Pacific Fleet, she was placed into the Reserve Destroyer Flotilla late in 1920. She was used on a naval reservist cruiser on 27 October 1920, but otherwise spent her time in the rotating reserve, emerging for occasional exercises. She was decommissioned on 7 June 1922, and this ended her brief active career.

USS Walker (DD-163), USS Crosby (DD-164), USS Thatcher (DD-162), Cuyama, USS Gamble (DD-123) USS Walker (DD-163), USS Crosby (DD-164), USS Thatcher (DD-162), Cuyama, USS Gamble (DD-123)

The Walker was actually struck off the Navy List on 28 March 1938, and was going to be sold for scrap, but she was temporarily saved when the Navy decided to convert her into a water barge. She entered the Mare Island Navy Yard, where her engines were removed, and on 1 April 1939 she was redesignated as YW-57 (YW standing for Water Barge).

After the outbreak of war in Europe the Navy decided to use her as a damage control hulk instead. She saw some use in this role, and was used to help develop new damage control techniques from her new home at the Destroyer Base, San Diego. On 11 July 1940 she was redesignated as DCH-1.

On 17 February 1941 she was redesignated as IX-44 (IX standing for 'unclassified miscellaneous). Plans were put in place to tow her to Hawaii, the new fleet base, but she was still at San Diego when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. In the aftermath of the attack the Navy had more than enough damaged warships at Hawaii, and so the Walker was taken to sea and scuttled on 28 December 1941.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

35kts design
34.81kts at 27,350shp at 1,236t on trial (Kimberly)


2 shaft Parsons turbines
4 boilers
27,000shp design


2,500nm at 20kts (design)

Armour - belt


 - deck



314ft 4.5in


30ft 11.5in


Four 4in/ 50 guns
Twelve 21in torpedo tubes in four triple mountings
Two 1-pounder AA guns
Two depth charge tracks

Crew complement


Laid down

19 June 1918


14 September 1918


31 January 1919


28 December 1941

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (22 February 2018), USS Walker (DD-163/ YW-57/ DCH-1/ IX-44) ,

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