Help us to save our museum ships! Learn More

Hull Number: DD-242

Launch Date: 10/14/2020

Commissioned Date: 12/16/2020

Decommissioned Date: 10/23/1945





Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (Published 1980)

The first King was named after Frank Ragan King, born 15 October 1884 in Montevallo, Ala. He was appointed midshipman at the Naval Academy 6 May 1903 and graduated 11 February 1907. After serving as passed midshipman, he was commissioned Ensign 12 February 1909. He served in Arkansas, Hartford, Milwaukee, Pennsylvania, and Illinois before attaining the rank of Commander 21 September 1918. He assumed command of trawler Richard Buckley 7 July 1919 during minesweeping operations in the North Sea. On 12 July 1919 his ship struck a mine and went down in only 7 minutes.

During the crisis King exerted himself to see that all of his crew might be saved. King’s feeling for his men was evidenced by the fact that his final act before going down with his ship was to strap his own life preserver to a stunned sailor and help him over the side. Comdr. King received the Distinguished Service Medal for his valor.


Stricken 11/16/1945. Sold 9/29/1946

USS KING DD-242 Ship History

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (Published 1968)

The first King (DD-242) was laid down 28 April 1919 by the New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, N.J.; launched 14 October 1920; sponsored by Mrs. Allene A. King, widow of Comdr. King and commissioned 16 December 1920, Lt. Comdr. R. C. Smith, in command.

After shakedown and training operations along the Atlantic Coast, King cleared Hampton Roads 2 October 1921 for her first Mediterranean cruise. Arriving Smyrna, Turkey, 8 November, the destroyer received 300 Greek refugees for transport to Mitylene, Greece. The destroyer served as station ship during the Crimean Crisis, remaining in Turkish waters until June 1923.

Upon return to the United State during the summer, King joined the Atlantic Scouting Fleet and from 1923 to 1930 engaged in feet exercises and reserve training cruises along the coast and in the Caribbean. She sailed for the Pacific 16 April 1925 for maneuvers in Hawaiian waters. During the spring of 1927, she patrolled waters off Nicaragua to protect American citizens and interests during civil war in that country. King decommissioned at Philadelphia 10 March 1931.

She recommissioned 13 June 1932 and departed Hampton Roads 18 August to join the Pacific Scouting Force. King operated out of California for the next 6 years, engaging in central Pacific exercises, reserve cruises and training maneuvers to strengthen America’s powerful sea force. The destroyer decommissioned at San Diego 21 September 1938.

Soon after Nazi aggression plunged Europe into war, King recommissioned 26 September 1939, Lt. Comdr. E. E. Berthold in command. The veteran destroyer cleared San Diego 13 November to join the Caribbean Neutrality Patrol. Following arrival at Norfolk 22 February 1940, the destroyer operated along the East Coast on Neutrality Patrol out of Boston and Key West, before returning to the West Coast during the fall. She continued patrol and maneuvers out of San Francisco, operating in that area at the outbreak of hostilities with Japan.

During the first 5 months of the war, King operated on patrol and escort duty along the West Coast. Departing Mare Island 22 May 1942, she joined Task Force 8 escorting troop transport President Fillmore to the Aleutians. Arriving Dutch Harbor 3 June, King operated on ASW and screening patrols in the Aleutians throughout the summer, and fought with Task Group 8.6 during the bombardment of Kiska in August. She remained in the frigid Aleutians until she sailed for San Francisco 22 December 1943.

After overhaul, King operated off the West Coast for the rest of the war, as patrol vessel and an ASW screen. She departed Treasure Island 28 August 1945 arriving Philadelphia 20 September. King decommissioned there 23 October 1945, and was sold to Boston Metals for scrapping on 29 September 1946.

King received one battle star for World War II service.