CountryUnited States
Ship ClassSims-class Destroyer
BuilderBoston Navy Yard
Laid Down31 May 1938
Launched20 Feb 1939
Commissioned2 Mar 1940
Sunk19 Oct 1942
Displacement1,570 tons standard; 2,211 tons full
Length349 feet
Beam36 feet
Draft13 feet
MachineryHigh-pressure super-heated boilers, geared turbines with two screws
Power Output50,000 shaft horsepower
Speed35 knots
Range3,660nm at 20 knots
Armament4x5in, 4x0.50 cal, 8x21in torpedo tubes, 2x depth charge racks with 10 depth charges


ww2dbaseNamed after American Revolutionary War hero Jeremiah O'Brien and his five brothers, the destroyer O'Brien had her sea trials and served her early missions along the east coast of the United States. After some time in the dry dock in Norfolk, Virginia, United States, in the fall of 1941, she was sent to the Pacific on 15 Jan 1942 alongside of battleship Idaho. She passed through the Panama Canal on 20 Jan and reached San Francisco on 31 Jan. After a collision mishap with destroyer Case, O'Brien remained in Mare Island Navy Yard until 20 Feb. On 5 Mar, after reaching Pearl Harbor, she became the flagship of Destroyer Division 4. She engaged in several escort duties off the Hawaiian Islands and elsewhere in the Pacific. On 17 Aug 1942 she sailed as a part of Task Force 17 to the South Pacific.

ww2dbaseDuring the Guadalcanal Campaign on 15 Sep 1942, O'Brien, sailing with carrier Wasp and battleship North Carolina, escorted a group of transports delivery 7th Marine Regiment to Guadalcanal. En route, the group was discovered by two Japanese submarines, I-19 and I-15, and was attacked. The torpedoes launched by the submarines sank Wasp and damaged North Carolina and O'Brien. O'Brien was struck at 1452 that day, but the damage to port was minor and was quickly deemed to be repaired. At Espiritu Santo and Noumea she received further temporary repairs (added temporary longitudinal strengthening members) before heading for San Francisco for proper repairs. On 18 Oct, two days out of port, the temporary strengthening members began to break part, causing serious structural issues, but the ship sailed on at a slower pace. At 0600 next day, the flooding got out of control, and she broke into two. Within 30 minutes the captain ordered his men, with the exception of the damage control and salvage crews, to abandon her. She sank at 0800 without any loss of life.

ww2dbaseSources: the Struggle for Guadalcanal, Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Mar 2006

Destroyer O'Brien Interactive Map


USS OOLaunching of submarine Snook, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine, 15 Aug 1942, photo 2 of 2Destroyer O

O'Brien Operational Timeline

2 Mar 1940 O'Brien was commissioned into service.
10 Jun 1940 Destroyer USS O'Brien arrived at Bahia, Brazil during her shakedown cruise.
14 Jun 1940 Destroyer USS O'Brien departed Bahia, Brazil.
20 Jun 1940 Destroyer USS O'Brien reached Buenos Aires, Argentina.
25 Jun 1940 Destroyer USS O'Brien departed Buenos Aires, Argentina for Rio Grande du Sol, Brazil.
27 Jun 1940 Destroyer USS O'Brien arrived at Rio Grande du Sol, Brazil.
29 Jun 1940 Destroyer USS O'Brien departed Rio Grande du Sol, Brazil for Santos, Brazil.
1 Jul 1940 Destroyer USS O'Brien arrived at Santos, Brazil.
3 Jul 1940 USS O'Brien departed Santos, Brazil, for ParĂ¡, Brazil.
9 Jul 1940 USS O'Brien arrived at ParĂ¡, Brazil.
12 Jul 1940 USS O'Brien departed ParĂ¡, Brazil for La Guaira, Venezuela.
15 Sep 1942 Japanese submarine I-19 sank USS Wasp (3 Type 95 torpedo hits; 194 were killed, 1,969 survived) in the Coral Sea at 1444 hours; USS North Carolina and USS O'Brien were also damaged in the attack.

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