USS Young (DD-312)

USS Young (DD-312) was a Clemson class destroyer that served with the Pacific Fleet, before being lost during the Honda Point disaster of 8 September 1923.

The Young was laid down by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corps at San Francisco on 28 January 1919 and launched on 8 May 1919 when she was sponsored by Mrs John R Nolan. She was commissioned on 29 November 1920.

The Young was allocated to Division 34, Squadron 2 of the Pacific Fleet Destroyer Force, and spent most of 1921 inactive at San Diego, as part of the rotating reserve.

Despite her a year of inactivity the Young was sent to Bremerton, Washington, for an overhaul from 18 January-3 April 1922, before returning to San Diego for another year in the rotating reserve. During her brief active periods she took part in short range battle practice, visited the Coronados Islands off Mexico and was used to recover practise torpedoes fired by the Idaho (BB-42).

Four Destroyers lost at Honda Point Four Destroyers lost at Honda Point

In 1923 the Young finally joined the active fleet, as part of Destroyer Division 11. On 6 February 1923 she departed for Panama to take part in Fleet Problem I, a simulated attack on the Panama Canal. The Young was used as part of the anti-submarine screen for the Battle Fleet, as well as making simulated attacks on the battleships allocated to the Scouting Fleet. After the exercises were over the Young departed for home, returning to San Diego on 11 April.

On 25 June the Young and her division moved north to operate off Washington State. On 4 July some of her crew took part in the Independence Day parade at Tacoma. She was present on 23 July when President Warren G. Harding reviewed the fleet during his cruise in northern waters. He had planned to carry out an extensive cruise around the American coast, but by now was seriously ill, and died a few days later. The Young had a brief overhaul at the Puget Sound Navy Yard, then escorted Battle Division 4 to San Francisco at the end of August.

On 8 September the Young and her division left San Francisco heading south towards Santa Barbara, the first stage of their return voyage to San Diego. In poor visibility the division leader USS Delphy misjudged her position and turned east at 21.00 to head into the Santa Barbara channel. However the force was further north than they realised, and only five minutes later the Delphy ran aground off Padernales Point (better known as Honda Point). Six more destroyers followed her ashore, but the ships further back were able to take evasive action.

The Young ran onto a jagged pinnacle of rock, and capsized almost immediately. She ended up lying on her starboard side, with many of her below decks crew trapped. Her angle meant that her boats and rafts weren’t useable, and the survivors ended up trapped on the port side of the hill, being battered by the surf. The nearest safety was a rocky outcrop, Bridge Rock, about 100 yards away, and Chief Boatswain’s Mate Arthur Peterson volunteered to try and swim to the rock with a line. Luckily for the Young’s crew the Chauncey then ran aground in the gap between the Young and the rock, but stayed upright. Peterson was thus able to swim the shorter distance to the Chauncey, whose crew pulled him onboard. The line was secured, and was used to help a life raft make eleven trips between the two ships, rescuing the seventy survivors from the Young. Her captain Lt. Commander Calhoun was on the last raft. However twenty men were still lost on the Young, by far the highest number lost on any of the ships lost in the Honda Point disaster.

In the inquiry that followed, Commander Calhoun was praised for his leadership and personality, which was credited with helping to save three quarters of her crew. Peterson was also praised for his courage, as was Fireman First Class J. T. Scott, who had attempted to go below to turn off the master oil valve to prevent a possible explosion.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

35.51kts at 24,890shp at 1,107t on trial (Preble)


2-shaft Westinghouse geared turbines
4 boilers
27,000shp (design)


2,500nm at 20kts (design)


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



8 May 1919


29 November 1920

Lost at Honda Point

8 September 1923

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
How to cite this article: Rickard, J (18 November 2020), USS Young (DD-312) ,

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