Help us to save our museum ships! Learn More

Hull Number: DD-387

Launch Date: 05/27/1937

Commissioned Date: 08/14/1937



Data for USS Bagley (DD-386) as of 1945

Length Overall: 341' 4"

Beam: 35' 6"

Draft: 13' 1"

Standard Displacement: 1,500 tons

Full Load Displacement: 2,325 tons

Fuel capacity: 3,452 barrels


Four 5″/38 caliber guns
One 40mm twin anti-aircraft mounts
Four 21″ quadruple torpedo tubes


16 Officers
235 Enlisted


4 Boilers
2 General Electric Turbines: 49,000 horsepower

Highest speed on trials: 35.9 knots



Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (Published 1963)

Victor Blue was born in Richmond County, NC, 6 December 1865 and graduated from the Academy in 1887. Lieutenant Blue was advanced five numbers for intelligence missions in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. He served as Chief of the Bureau of Navigation (1913-16 and 1919) and commanded Texas (BB-35) during her service with the 6th Battle Squadron. Rear Admiral Blue retired in 1919 and died 22 January 1928.


Irreparably damaged by torpedo from Japanese DD Kamakaze, on 08/22/1942, Solomon Islands area at 09 deg 17 min S., 160 deg 02 min E. Scuttled on 08/23/1942 after attempts to salvage her failed.

A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History


The Tin Can Sailor, April 1997

USS BLUE was the second Navy-designed small single stack destroyer to be laid down in the new building programs of the 1930s. Her superficial resemblance to the four Bethlehem designed and built 1,500 tonners cause many sources to label her as a GRIDLEY, but her design, hull, building site, and power plant clearly establish her parentage as a BAGLEY sister ship.

DD-387 was named for RADM Victor Blue, whose service first as intelligence operative during the Spanish-American War then as Chief of the Bureau of Navigation and commander of the battleship TEXAS (BB-35) during World War I marked him as a leader in the emerging world-class United States Navy.

USS BLUE was launched at the Norfolk Navy Yard on May 27, 1937 and commissioned less than four months later. Her commissioning was followed by a year-long series of shakedown and training cruises in the Atlantic and Caribbean areas before her reassignment to the Pacific fleet. She arrived in San Diego in August, 1938 to become flagship of DESDIV 7, a part of the Pacific battle force.

The Japanese attack on December 7, 1941 found USS BLUE moored in the heart of the sprawling navy base. With four ensigns as senior officers aboard, USS BLUE’s firemen were able to raise steam and sortie from the harbor, making the destroyer among the first major naval vessels to become operational after the attack.

After patrol and convoy duties around the Hawaiian Islands at the beginning of the war, BLUE was transferred to the swirling battles around Guadalcanal. Japanese forces planned to use the large island as a stepping stone in the invasion of Australia. Control of Guadalcanal became critical to the entire Pacific war.

In the early morning hours of August 22, 1942, USS BLUE was patrolling the waters of Ironbottom Sound, escorting a convoy in the company of two of her sister ships. A Japanese destroyer, slipping into the Sound behind a group of attack transports (APDs), launched two torpedoes at the destroyer. Emergency maneuvers proved to be too late. Critically wounded on her starboard side, her after steering room devastated, both propeller shafts damaged, and electrical power lost, USS BLUE was in danger. But damage control aboard BLUE was superb. BLUE was kept afloat until USS HELM (DD-388) could pass a towing line to the stricken tin can and begin the slow trip to a safe anchorage. Unfortunately, the rescue was doomed to failure.

A large Japanese force was spotted steaming down “The Slot” northwest of the Sound. Given the likelihood that the enemy would capture BLUE, orders were given to take off her crew and scuttle the ship. All of the water lines were opened and the watertight doors undogged. On August 22, 1942, USS BLUE sank beneath the waves of Ironbottom Sound.

USS BLUE DD-387 Ship History

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (Published 1963)

The first Blue (DD-387) was launched 27 May 1937 by Norfolk Navy Yard; sponsored by Miss Kate Lilly Blue, sister of Admiral Blue; and commissioned 14 August 1937, Lieutenant Commander J. Wright in command.

After spending her first year in shakedown and training cruises along the east coast and in the Caribbean, Blue sailed for the Pacific in August 1938 to become flagship of Destroyer Division 7, Battle Force. She exercised with the Battle Fleet in west coast waters until April 1940 when she accompanied her division to Pearl Harbor. Except for an overhaul at Puget Sound Navy Yard (February-March 1941) and exercises out of San Diego during April, she remained based at Pearl Harbor until war broke out.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 7 December 1941 caught Blue in port but she safely made her way to sea with only four officers on board (all Ensigns). She served with the offshore patrol in the approaches to Pearl Harbor during December 1941-January 1942 and then joined Enterprise (CV-6) for the attacks on Wotje, Maloelap, Kwajalein Atolls, Marshall Islands (1 February 1942) and the Wake Island attack (24 February). During March-June 1942 Blue escorted convoys between Pearl Harbor and San Francisco and then proceeded to Wellington, New Zealand, where she arrived 18 July. She joined TG 62.2 for the invasion of Guadalcanal (7 August), providing fire-support and screening. Although present, she took no active part in the Battle of Savo Island (9 August). After patrolling off Noumea, New Caledonia, (13-17 August), Blue returned to Guadalcanal, arriving 21 August. At 0359, 22 August, while patrolling in Ironbottom Sound she was torpedoed by the Japanese destroyer Kawakaze. The explosion wrecked Blue‘s main engines, shafts, and steering gear, as well as killing nine men and wounding 21. Throughout the 22nd and 23rd unsuccessful attempts were made to tow Blue to Tulagi. She was scuttled at 2221 on 23 August 1942 after valiant attempts to save her failed.

Blue (DD-387) received five battle stars for her nine months service in World War II.