Skip to main content
Related Content
Document Type
  • Themed Collection
Wars & Conflicts
File Formats
  • Image (gif, jpg, tiff)
Location of Archival Materials
  • NHHC

USS Isabel (SP-521, later PY-10)

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS Isabel (SP-521, later PY-10)

USS Isabel-- a yacht, built in 1917 by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, was acquired by the Navy before completion, from her owner, automobile manufacturer John North Willys of Toledo, Ohio; converted to Navy use as a “destroyer leader” and given the identification number S. P. 521; commissioned at the Boston [Mass.] Navy Yard on 28 December 1917, Lt. Cmdr. Harry E. Shoemaker in command.

USS Isabel (SP-521) cleared the Boston Navy Yard on 6 January 1918 and steamed to Newport, R.I. (Base No. 12) arriving that same day. She then got underway on 8 January and arrived the next day at Tompkinsville (Staten Island), N.Y. (Base No. 21). On 10 January, she shifted to the New York Navy Yard to prepare for distant service. USS Isabel (SP-521)  sortied with USS Reid, USS Smith (Destroyer No. 17), USS Flusser (Destroyer No. 20), and USS Warrington (Destroyer No. 30) escorting troop transports Covington (Id. No. 1409) and USS George Washington (Id. No. 3018) on 10 March. The next day the yacht parted from the convoy in heavy weather and maneuvered to rendezvous with an eastbound 18-ship convoy bound for England. USS Isabel (SP-521)  escorted the inbound convoy a short distance and then returned to Brest.

USS Isabel (SP-521)  spent the remainder of the war in her convoy escort and antisubmarine role. Two incidents of note occurred on 21-22 October 1918. USS Isabel (SP-521)  was tasked with testing the Walzer Listening Device in conjunction with a French submarine in Douaruenez Bay on 21 October. She steamed out of Plymouth the next morning and on 30 October received orders transferring her to Division One, Flotilla One, with USS Prometheus as her mother ship. She departed on 2 November from Quiberon Bay escorting Convoy OP-30 to Milford Haven, Wales. She left the convoy at 3:00 a.m. on 3 November and headed for Brest.

Re-designated PY-10 as part of a Navy-wide administrative change on 17 July 1920, USS Isabel (PY-10) was placed back into commission at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 18 July 1921, Lt. Cmdr. Frank Loftin in command. Ordered to service in the Far East, USS Isabel (PY-10)  cleared Philadelphia on 21 August 1921, en route to join the Yangtze Patrol. Isabel, as flagship, and the other gunboats of the Navy’s Yangtze Patrol Force (YangPat) in China were charged with protecting American commerce from pirates and American nationals from the dangers of almost constant war between rival warlord factions. USS Isabel (PY-10)  shifted from the British Crown colony to Shanghai, her primary base, on 12 November 1921. USS Isabel (PY-10)  spent the early part of 1928 on the lower Yangtze. On 1 May, she raised steam and headed upriver back to Hankow, arriving on 6 May. Remaining at Hankow until 27 May, she headed back downriver to Shanghai via Kiukiang (27-29 May) and stood into Shanghai on the 31st.

USS Isabel (PY-10) decommissioned on 11 February 1946 and was stricken from the Navy list on 26 February. 

For a complete history of USS Isabel (SP-521, later PY-10) please see its DANFS page.