USS Whipple (DD-15)

USS Whipple (DD-15) was a Truxtun class destroyer that served off the Panama Canal and from the Azores in 1917, then carried out convoy escort duties and anti-submarine patrols from Brest during 1918.

The Whipple was named after Abraham Whipple, a successful captain in the Continental Navy during the American War of Independence.

6-pounder gun and crew, USS Whipple (DD-15)
6-pounder gun and
crew, USS Whipple

The Whipple was laid down by the Maryland Steel Co on 15 August 1901, launched on 15 August 1901 and commissioned on 17 February 1903. She then joined the 2nd Torpedo Flotilla, Atlantic Fleet, serving with that unit until December 1907 (apart fro a short spell in the reserve from 5 September 1905 to 16 July 1906). She then joined the 'Great White Fleet', the force of US battleships that circumnavigated the globe, on the first stage of their voyage. This took her to the US West Coast, where in 1908 she joined the Pacific Torpedo Flotilla, based at San Diego. For the next six years she was based on the west coast, with one trip to Alaska.

In 1914 she was part of the naval force sent to protect US interests on the Pacific coast of Mexico during the same period of tensions that saw US troops occupy Veracruz on the Gulf of Mexico. She retuned to Mexico again in 1916 during the period that saw Pancho Villa raid New Mexico. Anyone who served on her between 25 April and 13 July 1914 or 17 March to 25 April, 26 June to 31 July or 14-21 August 1916 qualified for the Mexican Service Medal.

Depth Bombs on USS Whipple (DD-15)
Depth Bombs on USS Whipple (DD-15)

Postcard of USS Whipple (DD-15)
Postcard of USS Whipple (DD-15)

USS Whipple (DD-15) at Norfolk Navy Yard, 1907
USS Whipple (DD-15)
at Norfolk Navy Yard,

USS Hull, Lawrence, Hopkins, Whipple & Truxtun, 1907
USS Hull, Lawrence, Hopkins, Whipple & Truxtun, 1907

After the US entry into the First World War on 6 April 1917 the Whipple was used to patrol the approaches to the Panama Canal. This lasted until 5 July when she departed for a brief refit to prepare for distant service. She was based on the Azores for three months from 17 September, carrying out convoy escort duties alongside her sister ship Truxtun.

Early in 1918 she moved to Brest, from where she carried out a mix of convoy escort duties and anti-submarine patrols until the end of the war. On 17 April she helped rescue some of the 32 survivors from the Florence H., after that munitions ship blew up in Quiberon Bay.

The Whipple left France on 9 December and reached the United States in January 1919. She was decommissioned on 7 July 1919, as the US Navy scrapped its coal powered destroyers, and sold for scrap in January 1920.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed



4 Thornycroft boilers
2 Vertical Triple Expansion engines


259ft 6in


23ft 3in


Two 3in/50 guns
Six 6 pounder guns
Two 18in torpedo tubes

Crew complement



15 August 1901


31 December 1902


Sold 1920

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 (21 December 2015), USS Whipple (DD-15) ,

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