A stack of brand-new Farragut-class destroyers of Destroyer Squadron Twenty (DesRon20) executing a turn on a bright summer day. Leading the column is USS Farragut (DD-348), followed by USS Dewey (DD-349), USS Hull (DD-350), USS MacDonough (DD-351), USS Worden (DD-352), and USS Aylwin (DD-355) during an exhibition for Movietone News, off San Diego on 14 September 1936.
Courtesy of Commander Robert L. Ghormley Jr., Washington DC, 1969. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph. Catalog #: NH 67297
DesRon20 Steam through a smokescreen laid by planes of Patrol Squadrons Seven, Nine and Eleven, during an exhibition staged for Movietone News off San Diego, California, 14 September 1936. The ships are, from bottom to top: Farragut (DD-348), Dewey (DD-349), Hull (DD-350), Macdonough (DD-351), Worden (DD-352), Dale (DD-353), Monaghan (DD-354) and Aylwin (DD-355). Courtesy of Commander Robert L. Ghormley, Jr., USN, 1969. NH 67293
Patrol planes fly over DesRon20 destroyers, during an exhibition staged for Movietone News off San Diego, California, 14 September 1936. Planes include one PBY-1 of Patrol Squadron 11 (upper right), flying in formation with four P2Ys of Patrol Squadron 7. In the distance are four PM-1s of Patrol Squadron 9. Ships are steaming in line abreast, shortly after passing through a smokescreen. The three nearest the camera are (from right to left): Dewey (DD-349), Hull (DD-350) and Macdonough (DD-351). Courtesy of Commander Robert L. Ghormley, Jr., USN, 1969. NH 67286
Destroyers on Maneuvers with planes overhead. Ships from the left are USS Monaghan (DD-354), USS Dale (DD-353), USS Worden (DD-352), and USS Macdonough. Note signal flags repeated throughout the squadron. NH 60270.
Within three years, these ships would be clearing for war during tense neutrality, and within another two would be involved in some of the heaviest naval combat ever seen.
Commissioned within a 12-month period from June 1934 to June 1935, the eight new-fangled 1,365-ton Farraguts were twin pipers, ending the long Navy tradition of four-pipe tin cans the service had for about 20 years. Mounting five 5″/38s and eight torpedo tubes, they had all the offensive power of the later Fletcher-class in a much smaller hull. The class earned an impressive 93 battle stars– Farragut and Dale received 14 stars each– for their World War II service, an average of 11.625 per hull.
Remarkably, none were lost in combat although three– Hull, Monaghan, and Worden— were all lost to more traditional enemies: typhoons and uncharted rocks.