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Photographic History of the United States Navy


Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign - NUKC

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 Mare Island Navy Yard August 12 1919.
Launched September 15 1920 and commissioned December 16 1921.
Decommissioned July 26 1922, Recommissioned March 11 1930.
Converted to High Speed Minesweeper DMS-15 November 19 1940.
Fate Foundered in storm and destroyed by own depth charges exploding
off the Aleutians December 29 1942.

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- Henry Wasmuth was born in Germany but later a naturalized American citizen, enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on 11 June 1861. Ultimately attached to the Marine detachment of the sidewheeler Powhatan, Wasmuth took part in the assault on Fort Fisher, N.C., on 21 January 1865. During the battle, Ensign Robley D. "Fighting Bob" Evans fell wounded from a Confederate sharpshooter's bullet. Private Wasmuth picked up the seriously wounded young officer and carried him to a place of comparative safety, a shell hole on the beach. The private stayed with the future admiral, ignoring the latter's urgings to take cover, until a sharpshooter's bullet pierced Wasmuth's neck, cutting the jugular vein. Within a few minutes, Wasmuth dropped in the edge of the surf and died. Evans later wrote: "He was an honor to his uniform."Robert M. Cieri
Wasmuth 37kUndated USS Long (DD-209) and USS Wasmuth (DD-338) ship recognition card.Tommy Trampp
Wasmuth 167kCalifornia Governor W. D. Stephens speaks at the keel laying of the USS Wasmuth on 12 August 1919 at Mare Island Naval Yard. Honorary keel layers were Miss E. V. Avison and Miss G. E. Bean (riveters), Miss M. G. Young (holder on), and Miss J. M. Kramer & Miss E. Barton (rivet passers). All the keel layers were draftsmen at Mare Island Navy Yard.Darryl L. Baker
Wasmuth 108kPhoto of California Governor W. D. Stephens at the keel laying of the USS Wasmuth at Mare Island Navy Yard 12 August 1919.Darryl L. Baker
Wasmuth 149kWorkmen are seen placing the keel of USS Wasmuth on 12 August 1919 at Mare Island Navy Yard immediately after the launching of USS Litchfield from the same building ways.Darryl L. Baker
Wasmuth 158kUSS Zane (DD 337) and USS Wasmuth (DD 338) are ready for launching at Mare Island on August 12 1919.Darryl Baker
Wasmuth 103kBow view of the USS Trever and USS Wasmuth on the building ways at Mare Island Navy Yard on 2 August 1920.Darryl L. Baker
Wasmuth 110kBow view of the USS Trever and USS Wasmuth on the building ways at Mare Island Navy Yard on 2 August 1920.Darryl L. Baker
Wasmuth 103kMiss Gertrude E. Bennet (Sponsor) is shown christening the USS Wasmuth on 16 Sept 1920 at Mare Island Navy Yard.Darryl L. Baker
Red Lead Row 195kRed Lead Row, San Diego Destroyer Base, California. Photographed at the end of 1922, with at least 65 destroyers tied up there. Ships present are identified as: (left to right, in the right diagonal row): Stansbury (DD-180); MacKenzie (DD-175); Renshaw (DD-176); Howard (DD-179); Gillis (DD-260); Tingey (DD-272); McLanahan (DD-264); Swasey (DD-273); Morris (DD-271); Bailey (DD-269); Tattnall (DD-125); Breese (DD-122); Radford (DD-120); Aaron Ward (DD-132) -- probably; Ramsey (DD-124); Montgomery (DD-121); and Lea (DD-118). (left to right, in the middle diagonal row): Wickes (DD-75); Thornton (DD-270); Meade (DD-274); Crane (DD-109); Evans (DD-78); McCawley (DD-276); Doyen (DD-280); Elliot (DD-146); Henshaw (DD-278); Moody (DD-277); Meyer (DD-279); Sinclair (DD-275); Turner (DD-259); Philip (DD-76); Hamilton (DD-141); Boggs (DD-136); Claxton (DD-140); Ward (DD-139); Hazelwood (DD-107) or Kilty (DD-137); Kennison (DD-138); Jacob Jones (DD-130); Aulick (DD-258); Babbitt (DD-128); Twiggs (DD-127); and Badger (DD-126). (left to right, in the left diagonal row): Shubrick (DD-268); Edwards (DD-265); Palmer (DD-161); Welles (DD-257); Mugford (DD-105); Upshur (DD-144); Greer (DD-145); Wasmuth (DD-338); Hogan (DD-178); O'Bannon (DD-177); and -- possibly -- Decatur (DD-341). (Nested alongside wharf in left center, left to right): Prairie (AD-5); Buffalo (AD-8); Trever (DD-339); and Perry (DD-340). Minesweepers just astern of this group are Partridge (AM-16) and Brant (AM-24). Nearest ship in the group of destroyers at far left is Dent (DD-116). The others with her are unidentified. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. : NH 42539 Robert Hurst
Wasmuth 202kAt sea circa 1930. Photo from the collection of the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum.Darryl L. Baker
Wasmuth 90kCirca the 1930s, location unknown.Jon Burdett/Robert Hurst
Wasmuth 301kBalboa Harbor, Panama Canal Zone. Aerial photograph taken 23 April 1934, with U.S. Fleet cruisers and destroyers moored together. Ships present include (left to right in lower left): USS Elliot (DD-146); USS Roper (DD-147); USS Hale (DD-133); USS Dorsey (DD-117); USS Lea (DD-118); USS Rathburne (DD-113); USS Talbot (DD-114); USS Waters (DD-115); USS Dent (DD-116); USS Aaron Ward (DD-132); USS Buchanan (DD-131); USS Crowninshield (DD-134); USS Preble (DD-345); and USS William B. Preston (DD-344). (left to right in center): USS Yarnall (DD-143); USS Sands (DD-243); USS Lawrence (DD-250); (unidentified destroyer); USS Detroit (CL-8), Flagship, Destroyers Battle Force; USS Fox (DD-234); USS Greer (DD-145); USS Barney (DD-149); USS Tarbell (DD-142); and USS Chicago (CA-29), Flagship, Cruisers Scouting Force. (left to right across the top): USS Southard (DD-207); USS Chandler (DD-206); USS Farenholt (DD-332); USS Perry (DD-340); USS Wasmuth (DD-338); USS Trever (DD-339); USS Melville (AD-2); USS Truxtun (DD-229); USS McCormick (DD-223); USS MacLeish (DD-220); USS Simpson (DD-221); USS Hovey (DD-208); USS Long (DD-209); USS Litchfield (DD-336); USS Tracy (DD-214); USS Dahlgren (DD-187); USS Medusa (AR-1); USS Raleigh (CL-7), Flagship, Destroyers Scouting Force; USS Pruitt (DD-347); and USS J. Fred Talbott (DD-156); USS Dallas (DD-199); (four unidentified destroyers); and USS Indianapolis (CA-35), Flagship, Cruisers Scouting Force. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.Fabio Peņa
Wasmuth 163kUSS Long (DD-209) and USS Wasmuth (DD-338) off San Diego in 1935.Darryl Baker
Wasmuth 70kUSS Long (DD-209) leading USS Wasmuth (DD-338) through Fitzhugh Sound, British Columbia, during the Alaskan cruise of 1937. Source: Naval History Heritage and Command, Photo No. NH 51847 Mike Green
Long 119kUSS Long (DD-209) leading USS Wasmuth (DD-338) during the Alaskan cruise of 1937. Source: Naval History Heritage and Command, Photo No. NH 51845.Mike Green

USS WASMUTH DD-338 / DMS-15 History
View This Vessels DANFS History Entry
(Located On The hazegray Web Site, This Is The Main Archive For The DANFS Online Project.)

Commanding Officers
Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves

LCDR William Peace Gaddis    Dec 16 1921 - Jul 26 1922
(Decommissioned Jul 26 1922 - Mar 11 1930)
LCDR Ingram Cecil Sowell    Mar 11 1930 - Jun 5 1931 (Later RADM)
LCDR Roy Dudley    Jun 5 1931 - Jun 23 1933
LCDR Otto Nimitz    Jun 23 1933 - Mar 29 1935
LCDR Albert Tilden Sprague Jr.    Mar 29 1935 - May 18 1938
LCDR Valentine Murchy Davis    May 18 1938 - Apr 20 1939
As the DMS-15
LCDR Church Allen Chappell    Apr 20 1939 - Jul 19 1941
LCDR John Lester WilfongLCDR John Lester Wilfong    Jul 19 1941 - 0755 Dec 7 1941
LTJG Robert James Grey    0755 Dec 7 1941 - 0937 Dec 7 1941
LT Joseph Wilson Leverton Jr.    0937 Dec 7 1941 - 1330 Dec 7 1941
LCDR John Lester Wilfong    1330 Dec 7 1941 - Jun 29 1942
LCDR Joseph Wilson Leverton Jr.    Jun 29 1942 - Dec 27 1942 (Later RADM)

Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
NavSource Minesweeper Pages, USS Wasmuth (DMS-15)
Tin Can Sailors Website
Destroyer History Foundation
Destroyers Online Website
Official U.S.Navy Destroyer Website

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