Wednesday, September 16, 2015

America's New Deal Navy: Destroyers USS Porter and USS Selfridge

Above: The PWA provided funding for 20 destroyers in the early-mid 1930s, one of which was the U.S.S. Porter (DD-356), shown here at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, California, 1942. The Porter earned one battle star but, unfortunately, was destroyed by a Japanese torpedo in late 1942. Photo courtesy of the Naval History and Heritage Command.

Above: Another PWA-funded destroyer was the U.S.S. Selfridge (DD-357), also shown here at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, 1944. The Selfridge survived Pearl Harbor (and engaged enemy aircraft that day) and went on to earn four battle stars in various engagements in the Pacific theater. Photo courtesy of the Naval History and Heritage Command.    

The Porter and Selfridge could travel at around 35 knots, had crews of about 210 men each, and were armed with eight 5-inch guns, four 1.57-inch anti-aircraft batteries, and eight 21-inch torpedo tubes.

Sources of information: (1) Federal Works Agency, Millions for Defense, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1940. (2) "Executive Order 6174 on Public Works Administration, June 16, 1933," American Presidency Project, University of California - Santa Barbara. (3) Naval History and Heritage Command ( (4) "Brooklyn Navy Yard History: The New Deal Yard, 1933-1937, Part 2," Columbia University. This article lists all 32 PWA-funded ships, citing: "'Ships Under NIRA,' in Letter, Inspector of Naval Material (H.I. Thompson), to Commandants (of navy yards), (and others), 20 September 1933; RG181; National Archives - New York." 

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