USS Worden (DD-352)

USS Worden (DD-352) was a Farragut class destroyer that fought at Pearl Harbor, Midway and Guadalcanal before sinking after she ran aground in the Aleutians early in 1943.

The Worden was named after John Lorimer Worden, the commander of the ironclad USS Monitor during her famous clash with the CSS Virginia in the first battle between ironclads.

The Worden was laid down at the Puget Sound Navy Yard on 29 December 1932 and launched on 27 October 1934 when she was sponsored by Mrs Katrina L. Halligan, the wife of Rear Admiral John Halligan, Commander, Aircraft in the Battle Force. She was commissioned on 15 January 1935.

USS Worden (DD-352), anchored late 1930s USS Worden (DD-352), anchored late 1930s

The Worden’s shakedown cruise took her to San Diego, Lower California and Mexico, Guatemala and Costa Rica. She then passed through the Panama Canal on 6 May 1935 and moved to Washington, where on 17 May she took Rear Admiral Joseph K. Taussig, Assistant Chief of Naval Operations and a party from Congress on a cruise to Mount Vernon on the Potomac. She then moved to the Washington Navy Yard where her guns were modified. On 21 May she moved to the Norfolk Navy Yard for voyage repairs and trials and tests off Maine. She left Norfolk on 1 July heading for her base on the West Coast. She arrived at Puget Sound on 3 August for a brief refit, then arrived at her new home of San Diego on 19 September 1935. She was allocated to the Destroyer Squadrons of the Scouting Force.

This would be her base for the next four years, when she took part in the usual mix of winter operations along the California coast, summer visits to Alaska and the north and wider fleet problems. She was also used as a training ship for the Fleet Sound School at San Diego.

In August 1936 tactical exercises with the Aylwin and Monaghan (DD-354) off San Diego were interrupted by searches for two overdue ships, the San Diego based tuna boat San Joaquin then the fully rigged ship Pacific Queen. The naval ships failed to find either ship, but both turned up safely and remained in use for years afterwards.

In September 1936 the Worden took part in in exhibition of naval maneuvers that was filmed by Movietone News off San Diego. The entire Farragut class was involved, forming Destroyer Squadron Twenty, with support from several naval air squadrons.

In May 1937 she took part in Fleet Problem XVIII, which was spread out over a vast area from Alaska to Hawaii and Midway.

In September 1939 she escorted the Ranger (CV-4) to Callao, Peru, to visit the Inter-American Technical Aviation Conference at Lima.

In September 1939 the Worden was allocated to the large detachment of two heavy cruiser divisions, a destroyer flotilla flagship, two destroyer squadrons, one destroyer tender, an aircraft carrier and the required support units to Pearl Harbor. The Worden left for her new base on 5 October 1939 and spent the rest of the next two years on a mix of exercises around Hawaii and trips back to the West Coast for upkeep. She took part in Fleet Problem XXI in the spring of 1940, at the end of the which the entire Pacific Fleet moved to Pearl Harbor.

1941

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 the Worden was in nest of destroyers alongside the destroyer tender Dobbin (AD-3) receiving upkeep. During the attack Quartermaster 3rd Class Raymont H. Brubaker claimed one Japanese aircraft. The Worden was undamaged and within two hours of the attack was underway. At 1240 she thought she had detected a Japanese submarine and dropped seven depth charges without success. Later in the day she joined a taskforce built around the light cruiser Detroit (CL-8), operating south-west of Oahu. She then met up with the fleet oiler Neosho (AO-23) and escorted her to Task Force 11, built around the carrier Lexington (CV-2). The Worden formed part of the screen of the Lexington while she was being refuelled on 11 December. On the night of 11-12 December the Dewey (DD-349) believed she had detected another submarine, so the Worden was detached to escort the Neosho to safety at Pearl Harbor.

On 14 December the Worden joined the fleet that was attempting to rescue the garrison of Wake Island, but this expedition failed and the island fell on 23 December.
 
1942

In January 1942 the Worden formed part of the Lexington task force, dropping depth charges on suspected submarines on 16 January and 22 January.

She was detached from TF 11 on the last day of January. On 5 February she left Pearl Harbor as part of the escort of the seaplane tender Curtiss (AV-4) and the fleet oiler Platte (AO-24) as they headed to Noumea in New Caledonia via Samoa and Fiji. They reached their destination on 21 February. On 24 February the Worden towed the sinking merchantman SS Snark, which had just hit a mine, out of the channel entrance at Noumea, picked up her crew and returned them to port.

USS Worden (DD-352) run aground, 1942 USS Worden (DD-352) run aground, 1942

On 7 March the Worden and Curtiss departed for Pearl Harbor, arriving on 19 March. The Worden entered the Navy Yard for repairs.

On 15 April the Worden left Pearl Harbor with the Lexington task force. On 1 May they joined Admiral Fletcher’s TF 17 (Yorktown), forming the fleet that would fight at the battle of the Coral Sea. However on 2 May the Worden was detached to escort the fleet oiler Tippecanoe (AO-21) to Noumea, so missed the battle.

On 12 May the Lexington’s task force (without the carrier, which had sunk during the battle) arrived at Noumea. The Worden rejoined the group, and on 14 May it joined up with Admiral Halsey’s Task Force 16 (Enterprise (CV-6) and Hornet (CV-8)), off Efate. The Task Force returned to Pearl Harbor on 26 May but only to prepare for a move towards Midway Island, which was now known to be the next Japanese target.

The Worden formed part of the screen for the Enterprise and Hornet during the battle of Midway (4-6 June 1942).

After the battle the Worden returned to Pearl Harbor, and rejoined the newly repaired Saratoga in Task Force 11. Her first role was to escort the Saratoga to Midway as she ferried replacement aircraft to the island.

On 9 July the Worden departed for the South Pacific with the Saratoga group. On 21 July she was detached to escort the Platte to Noumea, arriving on 25 July. After filling her tanks the Worden and Platte left Noumea on 28 July to rejoin the Saratoga. That night she rescued thirty-six survivors from the Army transport Tjinegara which had been sunk by I-169 on 25 July. She rejoined the Saratoga group south of Fiji on 26 July, but was then detached to escort the oiler Cimarron to Noumea.

The Worden was back with the fleet in time to form part of the screen of the Saratoga during the invasion of Guadalcanal on 7 August. For the next two weeks she operated with the Saratoga to the south of the Solomons, and once again screened the carrier during the battle of the Eastern Solomons. However on 31 August the Saratoga was hit by a torpedo from I-26, and had to return to the US west coast for repairs. The Worden screened her on the way to Pearl Harbor, arriving on 23 September. On 28 September she formed part of the escort for the battleships Idaho (BB-42) and Pennsylvania (BB-38) as they returned to the West Coast for repairs, arriving on 4 October. A week later she and the Gansevoort (DD-608) escorted the Idaho to Puget Sound. She was then used to screen the Nevada on her post-repair trials in the San Pedro and San Diego areas.

The Worden was then allocated to the forces campaigning in the Aleutians, and on 27 December 1942 left San Francisco to join the forces that were to occupy Amchitka Island in the Aleutians.

1943

The Worden reached Dutch Harbor, Alaska, on 1 January 1943. On 12 January she escorted the transport Arthur Middleton (AP-55) as she landed the first Army security unit in Constantine Harbor on Amchitka. Once the men were ashore the Worden attempted to leave the dangerous harbour, but a current swept her onto a rock pinnacle that hit her below her engine room. All power was lost. An attempt by the Dewey to tow her to safety failed when the tow rope failed. The Worden then began to drift towards the rocky shore. She then broached and began to break up on rocks just off the shore. Her captain, Commander William G. Pogue, issued the order to abandon ship just before being swept overboard himself. He was rescued, but 14 of the crew drowned. The ship broke in two and capsized and was a total loss.

Worden (DD-352) earned four battle stars for her World War II service, for Pearl Harbor, Midway, the Guadalcanal landings and the battle of the Eastern Solomons.

Displacement (standard)

1,500t

Displacement (loaded)

2,064t

Top Speed

36.5kts
36.6kts at 40,353shp at 1,513t on trial (Farragut)

Engine

2-shaft Parsons turbines
4 boilers
42,800shp (design)

Range

6,500nm at 12kts
8,968nm at 12kts on trial (Farragut)
5,980nm at 12kts at 2,150tons (wartime)
3,710nm at 12kts at 2,150tons (wartime)

Length

341ft 3in

Width

34ft 3in

Armaments

Five 5in/38 DP guns
Four 0.5in AA guns
Eight 21in torpedoes in two quad mounts
Two depth charge tracks added later

Crew complement

160 (much higher in wartime)

Laid down

29 December 1932

Launched

27 October 1934

Commissioned

15 January 1935

Ran aground and wrecked

12 January 1943

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

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (1 September 2021), USS Worden (DD-352) was a Farragut class destroyer that fought at Pearl Harbor, Midway and Guadalcanal before sinking after she ran aground in the Aleutians early in 1943., http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_USS_Worden_DD352.html

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