Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Charles Ausburn(e) I (DD-294)

(DD-294: dp. 1,215; l. 314'4"; b. 31'8"; dr. 9'10"; s. 35 k.; cpl. 122; a. 4 4", 1 3", 12 21" tt.; cl. Clemson)

Charles Lawrence Ausburne was born in New Orleans, La., 26 July 1889, and enlisted in the Navy 25 February 1908. As an Electrician First Class, Ausburne manned the emergency wireless station in the Army transport Antilles, and following the ship's fatal torpedoing 17 October 1917, stood to his duty until the ship sank beneath him. His gallantry was recognized in the posthumous award of the Navy Cross.

Since other family members spelled their name as Ausburn, the first ship to bear his name followed that spelling. It was later found that he himself signed as Ausburne, and the second ship's name was so spelled.


Charles Ausburn (DD-294) was launched 18 December 1919 by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., Squantum, Mass.; sponsored by Mrs. D. K. Ausburn; and commissioned 23 March 1920, Lieutenant M. W. Hutchinson, Jr., in command.

Assigned to the Atlantic Fleet, Charles Ausburn operated from Charleston, Norfolk, and Newport along the Atlantic coast and in the Caribbean through 1924, serving with a reduced complement from October 1920 to May 1922. During those years, as she participated in fleet exercises and training maneuvers, she aided in the development and application of new ideas in naval warfare. In the fall of 1923, Charles Ausburn was equipped to carry a seaplane, with which she performed experiments in the rapidly developing field of naval aviation. It was service such as this in peace time which prepared the Navy for its tremendous expansion and swift use of new techniques in World War II.

In late summer of 1924, Charles Ausburn cruised to northern latitudes to provide plane guard service in the round-the-world flight of Army aircraft, maintaining stations off Greenland and Newfoundland for the historic event. On 18 June 1925, she sailed from Boston for a year of duty off Europe and in the Mediterranean, visiting at a large number of ports before her return to New York 11 July 1926. She continued her operations with the fleet, often providing facilities for the training of reservists, until 1 May 1930, when she was decommissioned at Philadelphia. There she was sold 17 January 1931.

Published: Tue Jun 30 09:52:52 EDT 2015