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Dale III (Destroyer No. 290)

(Destroyer No. 290: displacement 1,190; length 314'5"; beam 31'8"; draft 9'3"; speed 35 knots; complement 120; armament 4 4-inch, 1 3-inch, 12 21-inch torpedo tubes; class Clemson)

Richard Dale, born 6 November 1756 in Norfolk, Va., was appointed a midshipman in the Continental Navy in 1776. Captured by the enemy in 1777 while serving in the Continental brig Lexington, he was imprisoned in Mill Prison, England, but escaped to France to join John Paul Jones. He was First Lieutenant in Bonhomme Richard when she captured Serapis in the celebrated engagement of 23 September 1779. During 1781 and 1782 he commanded Queen of France and made several captures. Commissioned a Captain in the United States Navy 4 June 1794, he commanded Ganges during the Quasi-War with France, 1798-1801, then commanded the Mediterranean Squadron in the operations against Tripoli in 1801. He resigned from the Navy 17 December 1802, and died at Philadelphia 26 February 1826.


The third Dale (Destroyer No. 290) was laid down on 28 July 1919 at Squantum, Mass., by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp.; launched on 19 November 1919; sponsored by Mrs. A. J. Peters; and commissioned on 16 February 1920, Comdr. Frank H. Roberts in command.

From 3 March to 3 April 1920, Dale operated in New England waters aiding in the recalibration of radio compass stations in the 1st Naval District. Assigned to Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet, she operated with destroyer squadrons along the Atlantic coast, in the Gulf of Mexico, and in the Caribbean. Her activities included tactical exercises and battle practice; fleet maneuvers, war exercises, and fleet search problems; training naval reservists; and service from Norfolk in the calibration of radio compass stations in the 5th Naval District.

On 17 June 1924, Dale sailed from Newport to make courtesy visits to ports in Germany, Denmark, Norway, Scotland, England, France, Spain, and Portugal. Arriving at Gibraltar 21 September, she cruised in the Mediterranean until June, engaging in battle practice, intelligence work, and international goodwill calls. She departed Gibraltar on 2 July 1925 for New York, arriving on 16 July.

Dale then operated with Destroyer Squadrons, Scouting Fleet, on the Atlantic coast, in the Caribbean, and in the Canal Zone until her arrival at Philadelphia on 21 September 1929. She was decommissioned there on 1 May 1930.

Sold, along with 18 of her sister ships, to the Boston Iron and Metal Co., of Baltimore, Md., on 17 January 1931, which reduced the ship to a hulk, she was acquired by the Standard Fruit and Steamship Co., of New Orleans, La., who sought "to utilize the fine lines for which [she was] notable and thus secure the maximum possible economic speed with a minimum amount of horsepower." Towed to New Orleans, the ship, acquired sans "propelling machinery, war gear, shafting, propellers and struts," underwent a metamorphosis in the hands of the Todd Shipyards Corporation. Renamed Masaya, she operated in the banana-carrying trade from 1933 until acquired by the War Department under a bareboat charter in 1942.

On 27 May 1943, Japanese medium bombers, estimated at about 25 in number, accompanied by about 15 dive bombers and escorted by fighters, swept in over Oro Bay, New Guinea. In the raid that ensued, the enemy planes damaged a wharf and sank Masaya and the 3,322-ton Dutch freighter Bantam.

Published: Mon Jul 06 11:55:37 EDT 2015