Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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USS Edsall (DD-219)

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS Edsall (DD-219)

USS Edsall (DD-219) was launched 29 July 1920 by William Cramp and Sons, Philadelphia, Pa.; sponsored by Mrs. Bessie Edsall Bracey, sister of Seaman Edsall; and commissioned 26 November 1920, Commander A. H. Rice in command.

USS Edsall (DD-219) sailed from Philadelphia 6 December 1920 for San Diego on shakedown. She arrived at San Diego 11 January 1921 and remained on the west coast until December, engaging in battle practice and gunnery drills with fleet units. Returning to Charleston, S.C., 28 December, USS Edsall (DD-219) was ordered to the Mediterranean and departed 26 May 1922. 

USS Edsall (DD-219) did much for international relations by helping nations to alleviate postwar famine in eastern Europe, evacuating refugees, furnishing a center of communications for the Near East, and all the while standing by for emergencies. When the Turks set fire to Smyrna (Izmir), USS Edsall (DD-219) was one of the American destroyers who evacuated thousands of Greeks. Edsall sailed for the Asiatic Station 3 January 1925, joining in battle practice and maneuvers at Guantanamo Bay, San Diego, and Pearl Harbor before arriving Shanghai, 22 June.

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor 7 December 1941 USS Edsall (DD-219) readied for action with DesDiv 57 at the southeast Borneo oil port of Balikpapan. Continuing to escort convoys in a race against time, Edsall was damaged when one of her own depth charges exploded prematurely during an antisubmarine attack 19 February 1942. More Japanese bombers forced USS Edsall (DD-219) to leave before transferring all Langley men, but she completed the job on 1 March, then headed back to Tjilatjap. She never arrived. The gallant old four-piper fought a hopeless action against Japanese battleships Hiei and Kirishima, who sank her on the afternoon of 1 March 1942.

For a complete history of USS Edsall (DD-219) please see its DANFS page.