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Hull Number: DD-278

Launch Date: 06/28/1919

Commissioned Date: 12/10/1919

Decommissioned Date: 03/11/1930

Call Sign: NUJQ





Wikipedia (as of 2024)

David Henshaw (April 2, 1791 – November 11, 1852), son of Captain David Henshaw and Mary Sargent, was the 14th United States Secretary of the Navy.

Henshaw was born in Leicester, Massachusetts in 1791 and educated at Leicester Academy. Trained as a druggist, he achieved notable success in that field, then expanded his energies into banking, transportation and politics. Before he was 33 he had acquired means to become a banker and to establish an insurance company.  The panic of 1837 forced his “Commonwealth Bank’ into bankruptcy. He was elected to the Massachusetts Senate in 1826 and served as Collector of the Port of Boston from the late 1820s until 1838. Though he suffered business reverses during the later 1830s, Henshaw regained his political position as a leader of the Massachusetts Democratic Party within a few years.

In July 1843, President John Tyler selected Henshaw as Secretary of the Navy to follow Abel P. Upshur. During his brief term in office, he addressed shipbuilding problems, selected senior officers for important seagoing commands, revised supply arrangements in the Navy Yards and attempted to establish a school for Midshipmen. Another accomplishment during his tenure was saving the USS Constitution from the scrap heap. His recess appointment as Secretary failed to receive Congressional confirmation, requiring that he leave office when his successor, Thomas W. Gilmer, was confirmed. (Gilmer was killed, after only nine days in office, by a canon explosion while firing a salute to a ship passing in review) Henshaw then returned to Massachusetts politics. After he left this post he dominated Democratic affairs in Massachusetts until the slavery issue began to disrupt parties. He died in 1852, buried Pine Grove Cemetery, Leicester, Massachusetts.

David was conservative, he was a capitalist, a Mason, an opponent of prohibition and a friend of slaveholders.  He read much and possessed a keen knowledge of men.  Although he never married, he dispensed a generous hospitality at his country home in Leicester.

USS Henshaw (DD-278) was named in his honor.


Struck 7/22/1930; sold 11/14/1930; sunk as breakwater at Alameda, CA

USS HENSHAW DD-278 Ship History

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, February 2016

Built by the Bethlehem Ship Building Co. of Squantam, Mass., Henshaw was launched 28 June 1919, Miss Ethel H. Dempsey sponsor. She commissioned at Boston on 10 December 1919, Lt. Comdr. Martin J. Peterson in command.

The new destroyer sailed to Newport, R.I., for torpedoes and ammunition and from there left for the Caribbean, arriving at Guantanamo 9 February 1920. From 24 February until 4 March Henshaw was part of the Navy fleet standing off Port Cortes, Honduras, to protect American lives and interests should revolution erupt in Guatemala, which it didn’t. She then sailed for the West Coast, joining the destroyer squadron, Pacific Fleet, at San Diego on 1 April. Her first duty was to escort HRH the Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII, in HMS Renown into and out of San Diego on 7-8 April.

After exercises with the fleet off the California coast, Henshaw sailed to Seattle, where on 10 July she joined the cruise of Josephus Daniels, Secretary of the Navy, Admiral Hugh Rodman, Commander of the Pacific Fleet, and John B. Payne, Secretary of the Interior. While inspecting Alaskan coal and oil fields, and looking for possible fleet anchorages, the cruise touched at nine northern ports, including Ketchikan, Sitka, Dundas Bay, and Juneau, before Henshaw returned to San Diego on 17 August. During the cruise she had been visited by all the dignitaries involved, and had transported Thomas Briggs, Governor of the territory of Alaska, and his party, from Sitka to Juneau. Training and battle exercises along the California coast and an occasional run to Puget Sound with passengers occupied Henshaw until 15 June 1922, when she decommissioned at San Diego.

Recommissioning there on 27 September 1923, Lt. E. G. Herzinger commanding, Henshaw again served with the destroyer squadron, Pacific Fleet. Her itinerary for 1924 typifies her activities for the next 6 years; departing San Diego on 2 January, she transited the Panama Canal and engaged in tactical maneuvers with the combined fleets in the Caribbean, returning to San Diego on 24 April. After overhaul at Bremerton, she returned to California for further exercises and training. In 1925 this routine was slightly varied, as the fleet exercises took place off Pearl Harbor and Lahaina Roads, Hawaii.

Henshaw decommissioned at San Diego on 11 March 1930. Her name was stricken 22 July 1930 and she was scrapped and sold 14 November 1930.