USS HULL (DD-330) History

DD-330 page compliments of Dave Vrooman EM3 '60 - '62



     The second destroyer Hull (DD- 330) was laid down by Bethlehem Steel, San Francisco September 13 1920; launched 18 February 1921, sponsored by Miss Elizabeth Hull; and commissioned 26 April 1921, with Lieutenant T. J. Doyle commanding.

      Following shakedown along the California coast, Hull engaged in operations and tactical exercises out of San Diego for the remainder of the year. During 1922 she took part in charting and sounding operations along the coast of southern California. At that time Hull and Corry (DD 334) were equipped with Hayes Sonic Depth Finders. They pioneered echo sounding off the West Coast and produced the first bathymetric map based solely on echo sounding. These ships collected sonic soundings incidental to their normal operations (random tracks) that were collected at the Hydrographic Office for early deep ocean charts. Their charts covered the area of what is now known as the Southern California Continental Borderland.

     Upon completion of winter maneuvers off Panama and training exercises out of San Diego, Hull Joined by Corry sailed 28 June 1923 to serve as escort for President W G Harding embarked in Henderson (AP-1) for a cruise to Alaskan and Canadian waters. It was on this voyage that the President was taken ill, and he died in San Francisco 2 August. The destroyer returned to San Diego 8 September and resumed operations and exercises in that area.

     Hull sailed 2 January 1924 for operations in the Caribbean, which included a visit to Vera Cruz, Mexico, to protect American lives and property during the recurring Mexican revolution. In April the ship steamed to Seattle and operated between that city and Seward, Alaska, taking soundings for the new Alaskan cable. It was during this deployment that the below related incident occured.

Rescue - by Major F.L. Martin Commanding

     15-16 April 1924 - Sergeant Harvey and I remained aboard "Seattle" (our plane) during the night, although we had considered attempting to get ashore and build a fire. This was considered dangerous on account of the necessity of having to wade in icy waters, then dry our clothes before a fire made from drift wood which could be obtained in small quantities at this point. We were so sure that assistance would come that although we considered walking along the beach until we found help, we abandoned this. Due to the precipitous rise of the mountains bordering the shore line, it was not known whether this was possible and at best the circuitous route and distance to be traveled would prevent our obtaining help until the next morning, 16 April.

     At the suggestion of Sergeant Harvey, I tried the self starter and much to our surprise it would not engage, no doubt the spline was broken. This left us helpless in case I started to drift. We ate the few malted milk tablets which we had in the plane, divided the night into watches of four hours each in order that we might get some rest and I took the first watch, from 0830 to 1230. At 1045, Sergeant Harvey informed me that he could not sleep on account of the cold, although we were clothed in fur lined flying suits, winter gauntlets and fleece lined moccasins. He offered to take over from me, so from 1045 until 1410 I slept. At this time I awakened on account of the cold and neither of us slept again during the night. Fortunately for us, it was a calm, clear night with the moon shining. The waters of the bay and the mountains covered with snow were a beautiful sight. At 0400 with the cockpit cover fastened securely over his cockpit, Sergeant Harvey fell to sleep. At 0455, a thin wisp of smoke was observed on the horizon in the southeast in the direction of Kodiak Island. This smoke drew near rapidly and was observed to come from two ships which were soon near enough so that with field glasses they could be recognized as destroyers. Having no knowledge of American destroyers in these waters, it caused much conjecture as to how they happened to be there. They arrived off the entrance to Portage Bay at 0530, traveling at full speed.

     At this time three rockets were fired at minute intervals from the Very pistol. The leading ship stopped, which procedure was followed by the second ship. After waiting about two minutes, the leading ship started to move on, gaining speed rapidly. Three red rockets were then fired to attract their attention. They were about 3 or 4 miles distant. The leading ship did not hesitate but the second ship at this time moved in very slowly along the eastern shore of the bay until they were at the furthermost point, where they dropped anchor. The action of the destroyers had convinced us that we had been observed. The destroyer which had stopped remained until 0900, when weighing anchor, then moved out slowly. It was not understood during the time they had been in the bay why they had not dispatched a launch or a small boat to our assistance. The fact that they were leaving caused much concern, but when directly opposite our position, the course was changed, heading straight for us. When about a mile distant, it was observed that they had a small launch swung out on its davits and they dropped anchor.

    When the launch approached us, the officer in charge said that he was the Executive Officer from the destroyer U.S.S. Hull. Upon inquiry, it was learned that our signals had not been observed and the airplane had not been seen until shortly before the Hull dropped anchor. This was due, no doubt, to the fact that we were anchored so near the shore line and that they were from 4 to 6 miles distant. We were towed by the launch to the Hull where we made the "Seattle" fast by a line astern. Sergeant Harvey and I were taken aboard, welcomed by all on board and given a hearty breakfast. Radio messages were sent announcing that we had been found. We learned that the other destroyer was the U.S.S. Corey. These two destroyers had been on a special mission taking soundings for the new Army Signal Corps cable to be laid this summer and having completed the work, were returning to Seattle, when they received the broadcast asking for help to locate our plane which had been forced down. They immediately changed their course and ran full speed from 1945, 15 April, until they arrived at Portage Bay, 0530, 16 April, a distance of 312 miles which was more than 31 knots. As these vessels were not specially prepared for such a high rate of speed, their performance was very remarkable. As there are very few boats in these waters, it is not known when we might have been found if it had not been for the quick action of these destroyers. Sergeant Harvey and I have the greatest possible appreciation for the effort put forth by these two destroyers in finding us and are especially appreciative of the service rendered by the personnel of the Hull, commanded by Lieutenant Commander J.C. Hillaird. After breakfast, we were towed by the launch to the little village of Kanatak at the head of the bay. We were greeted by the entire population of the village, about 40 people in all. The Hull then returned to Seattle.

     Upon her return in early May Hull resumed operations along the coast. The destroyer continued to operate out of San Diego with occasional voyages to Panama until 1927. She then sailed in company with the Battle Fleet 17 November for tactical maneuvers in the Caribbean. Hull visited New York before returning to San Diego 26 June to resume her training operations. The ship arrived Mare Island 11 June 1929 for overhaul.

     Hull returned to San Diego in October, where she decommissioned 31 March 1930, and stricken 22 July 1930.

U.S.S. Hull DD - 330 (Clemson class)

As Built

Displacement: 1,215 Tons; Length: 314' 5" (oa); Beam: 31' 8"; Draft: 9'10" (Max.)

Armament: 4 - 4"/50; 1 - 3"/23AA; 12 - 21" Torpedo Tubes

Machinery: 26,500 SHP; Geared Turbines; Twin Screws

Speed: 35 Knots

Complement: 114


Hull was sold for scrap 10 June 1931 in accordance with the London Treaty of 1930.