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Dent (Destroyer No. 116)


John H. Dent, born in Maryland in 1782, was appointed midshipman on 16 March 1798. He served in Constellation when she captured the French frigate Insurgente on 1 February 1799, and after serving in Constitution in the Mediterranean, commanded the schooners Nautilus and Scourge during the Tripolitan War, taking part in the attacks on Tripoli in 1805. He was in command of Hornet from 1806 to 1808. Captain Dent died in St. Bartholomew's Parish, South Carolina, on 31 July 1823.

(Destroyer No. 116: displacement 1,090; length 314'5"; beam 31'8"; draft 8'8"; speed 35 knots; complement 100; armament 4 4-inch, 2 3-inch, 12 21-inch torpedo tubes; class Wickes)

Dent (Destroyer No. 116) was laid down on 30 August 1917 at Philadelphia, Pa., by William Cramp & Sons; launched on 23 March 1918; sponsored by Miss Amy Whipple Collins, great-granddaughter of Captain Dent; and commissioned on 9 September 1918, Cmdr. Burrell C. Allen in command.

Dent escorted a convoy to Ireland between 19 September and 8 November 1918, then carried out training at Guantanamo Bay. On 1 May 1919 she got underway from New York to serve on station off Trepassey Harbor, Newfoundland, during the historic first aerial crossing of the Atlantic, a feat accomplished by the Navy flying boat NC-4. She returned to Newport, R.I., on 24 May, and on 20 June joined the escort for the troop transport Imperator, carrying President Delfim Moreira of Brazil from New York to Newport.

Dent arrived at San Pedro, Calif., 6 August 1919 to join the Pacific Fleet. She cruised to Hawaii as escort for the battleship New York (BB-34) with Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels embarked in August, then steamed to Seattle for a Fleet Review in September. She returned to San Diego on 22 September 1919 and went into reserve, during which time, on 17 July 1920, she was redesignated as DD-116.

She was placed in active commission again on 14 December 1920, Lt. Lawrence Harvey in command, and operated with 50 percent of her complement on gunnery and torpedo practice, and in fleet maneuvers. She made a cruise to South America from 7 January to 11 March 1921, visiting Valparaiso, Chile; Costa Rica; and various ports in Mexico. Dent was placed out of commission in reserve on 7 June 1922.

Recommissioned on 15 May 1930, Lt. Cmdr. Elliott M. Senn in command, Dent acted as plane guard for carrier operations, trained naval reservists, and sailed for a fleet problem in the Caribbean and a visit to the east coast from April to November 1934. On 18 December, she entered the Rotating Reserve at San Diego and tested ordnance until returning to active commission on 10 June 1935. Dent operated along the West Coast and in the Hawaiian Islands until the United States entered World War II. At San Diego on 7 December 1941, she got underway the next day to screen the carrier Saratoga (CV-3) in her high speed run to Pearl Harbor.

Returning to San Francisco on 29 December 1941 Dent had duty with the Sound School at San Diego and operated along the west coast on convoy duty until 27 April 1942 when she sailed for Alaskan waters. From 8 May she operated out of Dutch Harbor on convoy and patrol duty, escorting transports for the invasion of Adak on 1 September. She returned to Seattle on 30 January 1943 for repairs and conversion to a high-speed transport. She was reclassified as APD-9, on 7 March 1943.

Dent arrived at Nouméa, New Caledonia, on 20 April 1943. She operated from this base and Espíritu Santo landing troops in the assaults on New Georgia, Rendova, Vella Lavella, and Cape Torokina, Bougainville. After overhaul at Sydney, Australia, in November, she returned to Milne Bay, New Guinea on 17 December. While training at Cape Sudest five days later, she grounded on an uncharted shoal. Serious structural damage necessitated her return to Australia for repairs through January 1944.

Dent arrived at Nouméa on 7 February 1944 and landed men of the Fourth Marines on Emirau Island on 20 March. From Milne Bay, New Guinea, she carried soldiers to the Aitape landings on 22 April. Sailing from New Guinea on 9 May, she returned to the Solomons to train an underwater demolition team for the invasion of the Marianas. She carried her team to Roi where they were transferred for transportation to Guam, then escorted the ammunition ship Mazama (AE-9) to Saipan to carry emergency supplies of ammunition to the bombardment ships. Dent patrolled off Saipan and Tinian until early July when she escorted transports to Eniwetok and sailed for overhaul at San Diego, arriving on 3 August.

From 8 November 1944 until the end of the war Dent served with the Amphibious Training Force, Pacific Fleet, at San Diego. She sailed on 20 October 1945 for the east coast, proceeding via Manzanillo, Mexico, Balboa, C.Z., and Port Everglades, Fla., arriving at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 6 November. Dent was decommissioned there on 4 December 1945.

Stricken from the Navy Register on 3 January 1946, ex-Dent was sold on 13 June 1946 to be broken up for scrap.

Dent received five battle stars for her World War II service.

Updated, Robert J. Cressman

24 May 2022

Published: Tue May 24 10:22:25 EDT 2022