U.S.S. Wilkes (1916)

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U.S.S. Wilkes (1916)
Hull Number: DD-67
Builder: William Cramp & Sons[1]
Laid down: 11 Mar, 1915[2]
Launched: 18 May, 1916[3]
Commissioned: 10 Nov, 1916[4]
Decommissioned: 26 Jun, 1922[5]
Stricken: 5 Jul, 1934[6]
U.S.S. Wilkes was one of six Sampson class destroyers completed for the U.S. Navy.


This article includes text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

Wilkes was commissioned on 10 November, 1916 under Lieutenant Commander Julius F. Hellweg.

Wilkes spent the winter preceding America's entry into World War I outfitting — first in the Philadelphia Navy Yard and later in the Torpedo Station located at Newport, Rhode Island — and conducting fleet maneuvers in Cuban waters. She returned from those operations at the height of the crisis over the German declaration of unrestricted submarine warfare, arriving in Norfolk on 7 March 1917. Just one month later, on 6 April, the United States joined the war against the Central Powers. At the end of April, the destroyer escorted the French cruiser Template:FR-AmiralAuge from Norfolk to New York.

On 15 June, Wilkes departed New York in the screen of the first American troop convoy to voyage to Europe. She escorted her charges into Saint Nazaire on 26 June then headed for Portsmouth, England, where she celebrated Independence Day. From there, she continued on to her permanent European base, Queenstown, Ireland, where she arrived on July 6th.

Wilkes operated from the Queenstown base for the duration of World War I. For the most part, she conducted antisubmarine patrols and escorted convoys bound for England on the last leg of their voyage. Occasionally, however, she was called upon to shepherd convoys into port at Brest and Saint Nazaire, France. Although her duties appeared routine, they were strenuous. She spent many arduous days at sea in the stormy Atlantic with only hours or, at most, a day or two in port to provision. Though it appears that she never saw combat with German U-boats, she did witness the results of their depredations once when she rescued twenty-three survivors of the torpedoed British merchantman S.S. Purley on 25 July, 1917.

Wilkes continued her patrol and escort duties until after Christmas 1918, over a month after the cessation of hostilities. On 26 December, she departed Queenstown and headed for home. On 7 January 1919, she arrived in New York.


See Also


  1. Friedman. U.S. Destroyers. p. 430.
  2. Friedman. U.S. Destroyers. p. 430.
  3. Friedman. U.S. Destroyers. p. 430.
  4. Friedman. U.S. Destroyers. p. 430.
  5. Friedman. U.S. Destroyers. p. 430.
  6. Friedman. U.S. Destroyers. p. 430.
  7. Register of Officers, 1917. p. 20.
  8. Register of Officers, 1919. pp. 30-31.


Sampson Class Destroyer
  Sampson Rowan Davis  
  Allen Wilkes Shaw  
<– Tucker Class Destroyers (US) Caldwell Class –>