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Hull Number: DD-159

Launch Date: 04/23/1919

Commissioned Date: 10/30/1919

Decommissioned Date: 05/17/1946

Other Designations: AG-82


Class: TATTNALL

TATTNALL Class

Data for USS Lamberton (DD-119) as of 1921


Length Overall: 314' 4 1/2"

Beam: 31' 8"

Draft: 9' 4"

Standard Displacement: 1,213 tons

Full Load Displacement: 1,306 tons

Armament:

Four 4″/50 caliber guns
One 3″/23 caliber anti-aircraft gun
Four 21″ triple torpedo tubes

Complement:

8 Officers
8 Chief Petty Officers
106 Enlisted

Propulsion:

4 Boilers
2 Parsons Geared Turbines: 25,425 horsepower

Highest speed on trials: 33.4 knots

Namesake: JAMES F. SCHENCK

JAMES F. SCHENCK

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, February 2016

James F. Schenck, born in 1807 in Franklin, Ohio, was appointed Midshipman in the United States Navy in 1825. During service in the Mexican War, he served under Commodore Stockton at Santa Barbara, San Pedro, Los Angeles, Guaymas, and Mazatlan. At Santa Barbara, in 1846, he raised with his own hands the first American flag to fly in California. He was highly commended for his service. Taking command of Saginaw in 1859, Schenck served on the China Station for two years, silencing a fort at Quinhon Bay, Cochin China, on 30 June 1861. Since Saginaw became unseaworthy early in the Civil War, Schenck decommissioned his ship on 3 January 1862, proceeded home without waiting for orders, and was at once given command of St. Lawrence in the West Gulf Blockading Squadron. Schenck commanded Powhatan and the 3d Division of Admiral Porter’s fleet in operations against Fort Fisher, and he was mentioned for gallantry in Admiral Porter’s action report. He was promoted to Rear Admiral on 21 September 1868 and retired on 11 June 1869. Rear Admiral Schenck died at Dayton, Ohio, on 21 December 1882.


Disposition:

Stricken 6/5/1946. Sold 11/25/1946


A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History

USS SCHENCK DD-159

The Tin Can Sailor, April 2004

The USS SCHENCK (DD‑159) was commissioned on 30 October 1919 and began her career as part of the Atlantic Fleet operating between New York and the Chesapeake Bay. From July to  September 1920 she patrolled off the east coast of Mexico and, in early 1921, participated in fleet exercises in the Caribbean. Preparations for her decommissioning began late in 1921 and she joined the mothball fleet at Philadelphia on 9 June 1922.

Recommissioned on 1 May 1930, the SCHENCK returned to active duty that summer as a reserve training ship. In 1931 and early 1932 she participated in fleet exercises in the Caribbean and off Hawaii. Japanese military action in Manchuria and Shanghai, China, increased tension in the Far East and kept the SCHENCK in the Pacific with the scouting fleet until June 1932.

The SCHENCK returned to the Pacific again in February 1933 for fleet exercises and remained there until April 1934 when she re-entered the Caribbean for more fleet exercises. Following routine operations at Norfolk, she trained naval reservists and Naval Academy midshipmen in cruises along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts from May 1935 until the outbreak of war in Europe.

On 9 September 1939, the SCHENCK began Neutrality Patrol duty off the East Coast, and, after an overhaul, patrolled out of Key West. During the summer of 1940, she made two midshipman cruises from Annapolis and then steamed south to the Caribbean for patrol duty. Patrols in the autumn of 1940, the early winter, and mid-summer of 1941 were separated by periods of training and repairs. On 15 September 1941, the SCHENCK arrived at Argentia, Newfoundland, for duty escorting convoys carrying vital war materiel to England. She left Argentia with her first convoy on 29 September, and by the time the United States had entered World War II, the destroyer had escorted two convoys to their guarded rendezvous with British escorts off Iceland and escorted a ship back to Argentia.

She remained on the convoy route between Argentia and Iceland, fighting heavy weather and German submarines. She was based in Iceland from 19 February to 9 May 1942. In August 1942, the SCHENCK began escorting convoys in and out of Icelandic ports. Between 6 and 8 February 1943, the aged destroyer suffered minor damage as she steamed through rough weather, and on 13 March 1943, she was moored in an Icelandic port when gale force winds drove her into the SS EXTERMINATOR. The damage was extensive and sent the SCHENCK to Boston for repairs. Reassigned to convoy escort duties in the South Atlantic on 28 April 1943, she guarded convoys between East Coast ports, the Caribbean, and North Africa. She returned to the Chesapeake Bay with a convoy on 26 October 1943, and, after overhaul and training, joined a hunter‑killer group built around escort carrier Card (CVE‑11). The group conducted patrols against enemy submarines near the Azores beginning on 24 November 1943.

On the night of 23-24 December 1943, she was with Task Group 21.14 screening the  CARD and scouring the North Atlantic for a major wolfpack of some thirty U-boats. At 0216 on 24 December, the SCHENCK was screening off the CARD’s port bow when her radar led her to a submarine running on the surface. She rapidly closed the distance, catching up with the U-boat as it started to dive. The U-645, as the sub was later identified, offered a stern view to the pursuing destroyer, which quickly maneuvered to avoid a possible torpedo and began a sonar search for the submerged boat. The SCHENCK’s sonar located the submarine at 800 yards, and at 0250 the destroyer began releasing her depth charges. Destroyer and submarine continued their game of cat and mouse until 0327 when the SCHENCK dropped a second pattern of depth charges. Two minutes later an explosion from the depths of the sea rocked the destroyer, and a widening oil slick on the water marked the spot of the U-645’s last resting place.

While the SCHENCK was dispatching the U-645, prowling subs had struck, torpedoeing the LEARY (DD-158). Two, and possibly three, torpedoes ruptured the destroyer’s hull. Her captain gave the order to abandon ship, but had no time to escape himself before his ship went down. The SCHENCK took up the search for survivors from the LEARY, which left only her squadron mate, the DECATUR (DD-341), to screen the CARD, which began a zigzag course to offer an illusive target in the U-boat infested waters. The SCHENCK continued her ASW operations and was later commended by the task group commander for her role in preventing a wolf pack attack on the CARD; for her continued aggressive action after the sinking of the LEARY, despite having only fourteen depth charges left; and for her skillful rescue of the LEARY’s survivors.

In February and March 1944, the SCHENCK made one more round‑trip convoy voyage from  the East Coast to Casablanca; and, between 17 April and 10 June, she escorted ANTAEUS (AG‑67) on troop‑carrying voyages along the East Coast. Between 10 July and 29 August she provided training services for submarines at Bermuda and then entered the Brooklyn Navy Yard. There she was stripped of her armament in preparation for duty as a torpedo target ship for torpedo planes assigned to the Air Force Atlantic Fleet. The SCHENCK was reclassified as AG‑82 on 25 September 1944, and provided target services for student pilots off Quonset Point, R.I., until the end of the war. The ship was twice holed by exercise torpedoes that failed to run at set depth and was struck once by a low‑flying aircraft.

The SCHENCK ended her career at the Boston Navy Yard where she was inactivated in January 1946, was decommissioned on 17 May of that year, was struck from the navy’s list on 5 June; and was sold for scrap on 25 November 1946 to the Boston Metals Co., Baltimore, Md.

USS SCHENCK DD-159 Ship History

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, February 2016

Schenck (Destroyer No. 159) was laid down on 26 March 1918 by New York Shipbuilding Co., Camden, N.J.; launched on 23 April 1919; sponsored by Miss Mary Janet Earle; and commissioned on 30 October 1919, Comdr. N. H. Goss in command.

Schenck was attached to the Atlantic Fleet and, after shakedown, operated between New York and Chesapeake Bay. Between July and September 1920, she patrolled off the east coast of Mexico; and, in early 1921, she participated in fleet exercises in the Caribbean. Her crew was reduced to 50% of her authorized complement at Charleston, S.C., on 7 November 1921; and she was decommissioned at Philadelphia on 9 June 1922.

Schenck was recommissioned on 1 May 1930 and trained reservists during the summer. In January 1931, she joined the fleet in the Caribbean for Fleet Problem XII and, the following year, also participated in Fleet Problem XIII off Hawaii. Due to the increased tension in the Far East resulting from Japanese military action in Manchuria and at Shanghai, China, she remained in the Pacific with the Scouting Fleet until June 1932. Schenck again returned to the Pacific in February 1933 for Fleet Problem XIV and remained there until April 1934, when she reentered the Caribbean for more fleet exercises. Then, with intervening periods of overhaul and rotating reserve at Norfolk, Schenck trained naval reservists and Naval Academy midshipmen in cruises along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts from May 1935 until the outbreak of war in Europe.

On 9 September 1939, Schenck commenced Neutrality Patrol duty off the east coast; and, after overhaul, moved to Key West for further patrols. During the summer of 1940, she made two midshipman cruises from Annapolis. She then carried out more patrols in the Caribbean, between 22 August and 8 December 1940, between 15 January and 18 March 1941, and between 27 June and 14 July 1941. Training and repairs filled intervals between her patrols.

On 15 September 1941, Schenck arrived at Argentia, Newfoundland, for duty escorting convoys carrying vital war materiel to England. She left Argentia with her first convoy on 29 September; and when the United States entered World War II, the destroyer had escorted two convoys to a guarded rendezvous with British escorts off Iceland and escorted a ship back to Argentia. She remained on the convoy route between Argentia and Iceland until April 1943, fighting heavy weather and German submarines. During two long periods, 19 February to 9 May 1942 and 18 August 1942 to 23 March 1943, she was based in Iceland escorting convoys in and out of Icelandic ports. Twice her convoy was attacked; on 15 August 1942, and from 6 to 8 February 1943. The weather also took its toll, frequently causing minor structural damage to the old ship; and, on 13 March 1943, a gale caused her to drag anchor and collide with SS Exterminator in an Icelandic port. Schenck was then sent to Boston for repairs.

Reassigned to more southerly routes, Schenck resumed convoy escort duties on 28 April 1943; and, during the summer, escorted convoys between east coast ports, the Caribbean, and North Africa. She returned to Chesapeake Bay with a convoy on 26 October 1943; and, after overhaul and training, joined a hunter-killer group built around escort carrier, Card (CVE-11). The group conducted patrols against enemy submarines near the Azores between 24 November 1943 and 2 January 1944. The high point of Schenck’s war service came on Christmas Eve, 1943, when the group located a concentration of U-boats. After stalking radar and sound contacts for most of the night and making six attacks, Schenck heard an underwater explosion and saw an oil slick which marked the end of U-645. Almost immediately, another submarine sank Schenck’s squadronmate, Leary (DD-158). Schenck continued her ASW operations and was later commended by the task group commander for her role in preventing a concentrated wolf pack attack on Card; for her continued aggressive action after the sinking of Leary, despite having only fourteen depth charges left; and for her skillful rescue of Leary’s survivors.

In February and March 1944, Schenck made one more round-trip convoy voyage from the east coast to Casablanca; and, between 17 April and 10 June, she escorted Antaeus (AG-67) on troop-carrying voyages along the east coast. Between 10 July and 29 August, she provided training services for submarines at Bermuda and then entered the Brooklyn Navy Yard where she was stripped of her armament. Subsequently, she was assigned for duty under Commander, Air Force, Atlantic Fleet, as a torpedo target ship for aircraft. Reclassified AG-82 effective 25 September 1944, she provided target services for student pilots off Quonset Point, R.I., until the end of the war. This service is not without its dangers. The ship was twice holed by exercise torpedoes which failed to run at set depth and once struck by a low-flying aircraft. Schenck arrived at the Boston Navy Yard in January 1946 for inactivation; was decommissioned on 17 May; struck from the Navy list on 5 June; and sold on 25 November 1946 for scrapping to Boston Metals Co., Baltimore, Md.

Schenck received one battle star for her World War II service.