The USS Biddle (DD-151) served in the US Navy for about two-and-a-half decades in the early 20th century, and received one battle star for her service with Convoy UGS-37 during World War II. She was named for Captain Nicholas Biddle who served in the Continental Navy during the American Revolutionary War. Biddle was built as a Wickes-class ship.
Biddle was laid down in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by the William Cramp & Sons Ship & Engine Building Company in April 1918, launched in October, and commissioned in April 1919 with Commander C.T. Blackburn in command. Carrying a crew of 103, Biddle had a cruising speed of 35 knots and was armed with four 4-inch rapid-fire guns, two anti-aircraft guns, and twelve 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Biddle sailed to the Mediterranean upon commissioning and arrived in New York in July 1920, and was then assigned to Division 48, Atlantic Fleet until being put out of commission at Philadelphia Navy Yard in June 1922. Re-commissioned in October 1939, Biddle operated with Destroyer Division 66, Atlantic Squadron and conducted patrol duty. She also conducted training duty with the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps. From November 1940 to May 1941, Biddle was deployed to patrol the Caribbean, under Commandant, 15th Naval District, and then operated out of Key West, Florida with Destroyer Division 66.
Biddle continued convoy operations in the Caribbean from March 1942 to February 1945. In between, Biddle was assigned to the anti-submarine group TG 2 from January to February 1944, and served as an escort for a convoy to North Africa from March to May 1944. During the escort mission, Biddle was attacked by German planes which wounded seven men onboard. Biddle returned to the east coast of the United States and participated in training exercises with motor torpedo boats from March to July 1945.
In June 1945, Biddle was reclassified as miscellaneous auxiliary ship AG-114 and converted at Boston Navy Yard in July, but was decommissioned in October following the war's end. Biddle was stricken from the Navy list in October 1945 and sold for scrap in December 1946.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Biddle (DD-151)
Using asbestos insulation in the construction of all vessels was mandated by law in the United States in the early 1930s, after a fire at sea on a luxury liner killed 137 passengers and crew. Biddle used asbestos in large amounts in ship's boilers and engine compartments, as well as in fireproofing in all sections of the vessel.
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Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-151 (http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd151txt.htm) Retrieved 23 December 2010.
NavSource Naval History, USS Biddle (DD-151).
(http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/151.htm) Retrieved 23 December 2010.