USS O'Brien (DD-51)

O'Brien on trials, early 1915. Photo hosted at Navsource.

Ship Class
Ship Type
Laid Down

Lead ship of her class, USS O'Brien (DD-51) was laid down 8 September, 1913. Commissioned 22 May, 1915, she had a bad start, colliding with the destroyer Drayton in the November fleet exercises. O'Brien was dispatched 8 October, 1916, to the Nantucket Lightship, where reports of a German U-boat sinking ships had been reported. She, and other destroyers, rescued 226 people from five ships; the U-boat's captain had ordered them all to abandon ship, before sinking them. The following February, her gunners hit a 5,000 yard target eight out of eight times in gunnery drills, an impressive display of marksmanship, especially for the time. After the US entered World War I, O'Brien was deployed to Ireland, and participated in escort missions locally. On 16 June, 1917, she dropped a depth charge on U-16, but failed to do any major damage. She transferred to the French coast in the summer of 1918, and finished out the War there. O'Brien was used as one of the picket ships when the US Navy made it's first aerial crossing of the Atlantic, using three NC-type flying boats. She decommissioned 5 June, 1922, and remained in reserve until 1935, when she was sold for scrap. Her bell is in the memorial chapel on the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base.