Robert Smith (Destroyer No. 324)
(DD-324: displacement 1,215; length 314-5-; beam 31-8-; draft 9-4- (mean); speed 35 knots; complement 136; armament 4 4-, 1 3-, 12 21- torpedo tubes; cl. Clemson)
Secretary of the Navy from 1801 to 1809, Robert Smith, born at Lancaster, Pa., on 3 November 1757, served in the Continental Army and fought in the Battle of Brandywine. He graduated from Princeton in 1781. While practicing law in Maryland, Smith was a member of the Electoral College in 1789, a state senator from 1793 to 1795, and a member of the House of Delegates from 1796 to 1800 while also sitting in the upper branch of the Baltimore City Council. On 27 July 1801, he became Secretary of the Navy and served in that post under President Thomas Jefferson until he was appointed Secretary of State in July 1809. Smith resigned from that position on 1 April 1811 to devote his time to civic affairs in Maryland. President of a branch of the American Bible Society in 1813 and of the Maryland Agriculture Society in 1818, Smith served as provost of the University of Maryland from 1818. Robert Smith died in Baltimore 26 November 1842.
Robert Smith, a steel, flush-deck destroyer, was launched 19 September 1919 at Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., San Francisco, Calif.; sponsored by Miss Jane Cooper; and commissioned 17 March 1921, Lt. Comdr. Paul M. Bates in command.
Departing San Francisco 5 April 1921, Robert Smith headed for her homeport, San Diego, to commence operations as flagship, Division 45, 2d Destroyer Flotilla, U.S. Pacific Fleet. The destroyer cruised along the west coast of the United States and Mexico with the Battle Force, Pacific Fleet, into 1925, assigned to Destroyer Division 35 from September 1922. She conducted extensive gunnery, torpedo, and practice exercises, undergoing periodic annual overhauls at Mare Island Navy Yard. The ship departed Mare Island 19 May 1925 for a cruise with units of the Battle Force. After taking part in maneuvers off Lahaina Roads, Robert Smith departed Pearl Harbor 1 July for Pago Pago, Samoa; Melbourne, Australia; Lyttleton and Wellington, New Zealand; and Tutuila, Samoa, returning to Pearl Harbor on 18 September.
Back at San Diego 26 September 1925, Robert Smith resumed her schedule of duties as a unit assigned to the Destroyer Force, Pacific Fleet. She transited the Panama Canal in April 1927, steaming north to Tompkinsville, N.Y., before returning south to operate in Panamanian waters during July. Robert Smith cruised along the southern California coast subsequently into 1928, deploying to the Hawaiian Islands in May 1928 and again in July. Operating into 1929 in Mexican and Californian waters, Robert Smith returned to San Diego 28 August 1929 for inactivation.
Decommissioned 1 March 1930 at San Diego, Robert Smith was towed to Mare Island Navy Yard 4 April 1930. Struck from the Navy list 12 July 1930 and dismantled, Robert Smith's materials were sold 10 June 1931 for scrapping in accordance with the provisions of the London Treaty for the limitation and reduction of naval armament.
14 October 2005