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Photographic History of the United States Navy


Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign - NUJJ

Basic repeat Wickes Class, with 35% more fuel capacity to improve endurance problems,
designed radius was 4900 nautical miles, at 15 knots.
Displacement 1,215 Tons, Dimensions, 314' 5" (oa) x 31' 8" x 9' 10" (Max)
Armament 4 x 4"/50, 1 x 3"/23AA, 12 x 21" tt..
Machinery, 26,500 SHP; Geared Turbines, 2 screws
Speed, 35 Knots, Crew 114
Operational and Building Data
Laid down by Cramp, Philadelphia on March 24 1919.
Launched July 14 1919 and Commissioned December 10 1919.
Smith Thompson was damaged beyond repair in a collision with
DD- 217 Whipple April 14 1936.
Decommissioned May 15 1936.
Stricken May 19 1936.
Fate Scuttled off Subic Bay July 25 1936.

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Size Image Description Contributed
Smith Thompson 87kSmith Thompson was born in Stanford, N.Y., in 1768. He was graduated from Princeton College in 1788 and served as Associate Justice of the New York Supreme Court from 1802 to 1814 and as Chief Justice from 1814 to 1818. He was appointed Secretary of the Navy by President Monroe in 1818 and was one of the first men to suggest and work for a naval academy. He was appointed Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court in 1823 and retained that position until his death in 1843. Photo #: NH 66596. Smith Thompson (1768-1843) engraved portrait after a sketch by Albert Rosenthal, Philadelphia, 1889, reproduced with a facsimile of Thompson's signature. Smith Thompson served as Secretary of the Navy in 1819-1823 and as a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1823 until his death.U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.Bill Gonyo
Smith Thompson 155kUndated, location unknown. Photo from the collection of the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum.Darryl Baker
Smith Thompson 295kUndated, location unknown. In drydock, the guns were replaced with new ones and the bottom was being scraped at time of picture. Photo taken by Tom McLaughlin.Wayne McLaughlin
Smith Thompson 251kUndated, in drydock in Bremerton, USS California in background. Photo taken by Tom McLaughlin.Wayne McLaughlin
Smith Thompson 105kUndated, USS Borie (DD-215), USS Barker (DD-213) and USS Smith Thompson (DD-212) in Shanghai. Notice windows broken on bridge from heavy seas on our way up from Manila. Photo taken by Tom McLaughlin.Wayne McLaughlin
Smith Thompson 194kUndated, the USS Smith Thompson (DD-212), bow number barely visible in the lead ship’s wake, and a T4M torpedo bomber launching torpedoes during fleet exercises. US Navy and Marine Corps Museum/Naval Aviation Museum, Photo No. 2003.001.340Mike Green
John D. Edwards 54kSmith Thompson (DD-212) and John D. Edwards (DD-216) moored together, probably off Constantinople in 1921.Dave Wright
Smith Thompson 159kUSS Smith Thompson (DD-212) off Tsingtao, China in the Summer of 1935. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph. Photo #: NH 50091.Robert Hurst
Smith Thompson 74kPhoto #: 80-G-1025121, USS Black Hawk (AD-9) at Manila, Philippine Islands, 15 November 1935, with four destroyers and USS Heron (AM-10) nested alongside. The four destroyers are (from left to right): USS Whipple (DD-217); USS John D. Edwards (DD-216); USS Smith Thompson (DD-212); and USS Barker (DD-213). All ships are "full dressed" with flags in honor of the inauguration of Philippine President Manuel Quezon. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.Tony Cowart
Smith Thompson 33kOn 14 April 1936, Smith Thompson, while enroute from Manila to Shanghai, was rammed amidships by Whipple (DD-217). There was no loss of life, but Smith Thompson was seriously damaged and had to be towed back to the Philippines by Barker (DD-213) arriving in Subic Bay on 17 April. Inspection showed the ship not worth repair, and Smith Thompson was decommissioned at Olongapo on 15 May, struck from the Navy list on 19 May, and sunk at sea off Subic Bay on 25 July 1936.Donald Nicholson
Smith Thompson   Smith Thompson   Smith Thompson
USS Smith-Thompson (DD-212)

Whipple   Whipple
USS Whipple (DD-217)

Views of the aftermath of the collision, April 14 1936.
Don Kehn, Jr.
Smith Thompson 98kThe Smith Thompson afloat with her sunken bow shored up ready for the Whipple to move over and set down on the blocks.Donald Nicholson
Smith Thompson 69kView of the damage outside the engine room.Donald Nicholson
Smith Thompson 77kCutting away the bow.Donald Nicholson
Smith Thompson 32kThe bow is removed. Michael Donegan reports that this photo is actually the bow of the Whipple being removed.Donald Nicholson
Smith Thompson 145kNational Archives photo 19-N-16498. USS Whipple (DD 217) with USS Smith Thompson (DD 212) along side at Subic Bay in April 1936.Darryl Baker
Smith Thompson 146kUSS Whipple (DD 217) and USS Smith Thompson (DD-212) at Subic Bay in April 1936. From the collection of LCDR Rayborn M. Hall USN who served aboard the USS Bulmer (DD-222) during this incident.Nancy Hall Anderson
Smith Thompson 187kAs aboveNancy Hall Anderson
Smith Thompson 146kAs aboveNancy Hall Anderson
Smith Thompson 241kAs aboveNancy Hall Anderson
Smith Thompson 202kAs aboveNancy Hall Anderson
Smith Thompson & Whipple   Smith Thompson & Whipple   Smith Thompson & Whipple   Smith Thompson & Whipple
More scenes of the aftermath of the collision
Navy Memorial via Richard Lillie & Don Kehn, Jr.
Smith Thompson 97kSmith Thompson, sans bow at Olongapo, June or July 1936. Note hulk of old cruiser Rochester (CA-2) in background.Dave Wright
Smith Thompson 113kSmith Thompson being scuttled, 25 July 1936.Dave Wright
Smith Thompson 98kPhoto #: NH 105788. USS Smith Thompson (DD-212) ship's stern disappears beneath the surface as she is scuttled off Subic Bay, Philippines, on 25 July 1936. Smith Thompson had been badly damaged amidships in a collision with USS Whipple (DD-217) on 14 April 1936. She was scuttled after her bow had been removed for use in repairing Whipple. Donation of Charles R. Haberlein Jr., 2008. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.Original: Mike Mohl
Replacement: Mike Green

View This Vessels DANFS History entry at the Naval History & Heritage Command website

Commanding Officers
Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves

CDR Benjamin Grady Barthalow    Dec 10 1919 - Jan 15 1920

LCDR John Harrison Semmes Dessez    Jan 15 1920 - Jun 20 1920

LCDR Frederick Louis (Fritz) Riefkohl    Jun 22 1920 - Jul 15 1920

LCDR John Harrison Semmes Dessez    Jul 15 1920 - Jan 18 1922

LCDR Van Leer Kirkman Jr.    Jan 18 1922 - Oct 10 1923

LCDR Frederick Louis (Fritz) Riefkohl    Oct 10 1923 - Jul 20 1925

LCDR Lewis Wells Comstock    Jul 20 1925 - Sep 19 1926

LCDR William Faulkner Amsden    Sep 19 1926 - Jun 23 1928

LCDR Edward Benjamin Lapham    Jun 23 1928 - May 24 1929

LCDR Campbell Dallas Edgar    May 24 1929 - Aug 8 1931 (Later COMO)

CDR Scott Douglas McCaughey    Aug 8 1931 - Jul 15 1934

LCDR Russell Stanley Berkey    Jul 15 1934 - Feb 9 1936 (Later ADM)

LCDR Earle Hill Kincaid    Feb 9 1936 - May 15 1936

Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
Tin Can Sailors Website
Destroyer History Foundation
Official U.S.Navy Destroyer Website

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This page was created by Fred Willishaw (ex ARG-4, AS-11 & DD-692) and is maintained by David L. Wright
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Last Updated 27 October 2017