USS Wood (DD-317)

USS Wood (DD-317) was a Clemson class destroyer that served with the Pacific Fleet in the 1920s before being scrapped because of her badly worn boilers.

The Wood was named after William Maxwell Wood, the first Navy Surgeon-General (1809–1880)

The Wood was laid down by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp at San Francisco on 23 January 1919 and launched on 28 May 1919 when she was sponsored by Wood’s grand-daughter, Mrs George Kirkland Smith. She was commissioned on 28 January 1921.

USS Wood (DD-317) aground on Angel Island USS Wood (DD-317) aground on Angel Island

The Wood spent the first half of 1921 in the rotating reserve at San Diego. She then spent the next few months carrying out training exercises off the coast of southern Califonia, San Pedro and the Coronado islands. She then moved north, reaching Seattle, Washington on 1 July 1922. She took part in fleet exercises in the north-west in the late summer of 1922, before returing to San Diego in September to have her machinery repaired.

From 1923 the Wood was part of the active fleet. She took part in each of the Fleet Problems from Fleet Problem I of 1923 to Fleet Problem IX of 1929

In 1925 she took part in a large goodwill cruise to the South-west Pacific, visiting Australia with Destroyer Division 34. On the way back to Hawaii she took part in the hunt for PN-9, a flying boat that had been forced down while attempting to fly from the west coast to Hawaii. The naval hunt failed to find the aircraft, but her crew had managed to rig sails, and she was eventually found close to Oahu.

In March 1927 the Wood took part in a hunt for the lost German steamship Albatros, which had disappeared near the Galapagos Islands.

From 27 June-16 July 1927 the Wood took part in the American intervention in Nicaragua.

By now it was clear that the Wood’s Yarrow boilers were badly worn. The US Navy decided to swap thirty four of the badly worn destroyers for almost fresh sister-ships that had been in the reserves for most of the 1920s. The Wood was decommissioned at San Diego on 31 March 1930 and sold for scrap on 14 November 1930, helping to fulfil the terms of the London Naval Treaty.

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)

Armour - belt


 - deck



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



28 May 1919


28 January 1921

Sold for scrap

14 November 1930

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.
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (23 December 2020), USS Wood (DD-317) ,

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