USS Dobbin (AD-3)

USS Dobbin (AD-3) is the name of a United States Navy destroyer tender of World War II, named after James Cochrane Dobbin, the Secretary of the Navy from 1853 to 1857.

USS Dobbin (AD-3)
USS Dobbin (AD-3)
Builder: Philadelphia Navy Yard
Launched: 5 May 1921
Sponsored by: Mrs. H. H. James
Commissioned: 23 July 1924
Decommissioned: 27 September 1946
Honours and
1 × battle star
Fate: Transferred to the United States Maritime Commission for disposal
General characteristics
Type: Destroyer tender
Displacement: 12,450 long tons (12,650 t) full load
Length: 483 ft 10 in (147.47 m)
Beam: 61 ft (19 m)
Draft: 24 ft 1 in (7.34 m)
Propulsion: Parsons geared turbines
Speed: 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph)
Armament: 4 × single 5"/38 caliber guns

Dobbin was launched on 5 May 1921 by the Philadelphia Navy Yard. She was commissioned on 23 July 1924, and served for 22 years before being decommissioned on 27 September 1946, and transferred to the United States Maritime Commission for disposal.

Pre-World War IIEdit

Dobbin (AD-3) was launched on 5 May 1921 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, sponsored by Mrs. H. H. James, granddaughter of Secretary Dobbin. She was commissioned on 23 July 1924 with Commander D. C. Bingham in command.

On 3 January 1925 Dobbin sailed for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by way of Newport, Rhode Island, and Hampton Roads, Virginia, where she loaded equipment and supplies for her mission as tender to Destroyer Squadron 14 of the Scouting Fleet. She joined that squadron at Guantanamo Bay, and took part in gunnery practice with the destroyers. From this base, on 13 February 1925, Dobbin steamed to the Panama Canal and crossed to the Pacific Ocean. After maneuvers at sea with the Scouting Fleet she arrived at San Diego on 9 March 1925 for 4 months of tender service along the west coast and at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Dobbin returned to the east coast in July 1925 and operated in the Atlantic Ocean for the next 7 years. During this time she participated in radio experiments and continued her services to the destroyers of the Scouting Fleet. In 1932, Dobbin returned to San Diego, arriving 1 September, and operated out of that port until 5 October 1939. At that time she was transferred to Hawaii and based on Pearl Harbor.

Missing captainEdit

In July 1941 Commander Thomas C. Latimore, Dobbin's captain, disappeared while hiking the local Aiea Hills. His body was never found and was the subject of much local news coverage and rumor before being overshadowed by the Pearl Harbor attack. Commander Latimore was declared legally dead in July 1942. My father Lt Commander Jess Knight Dodge was serving aboard the Dobbin at this time. He told us that the ship sent crew members to look for Latimore as he like to hike around in the hills. He told us that the body was found with his throat cut wired to a fence with barbed wire, his face had been mutilated to make it appear as a huge ear to ear grin. He told us that the information was not released because of security concerns that it would alert spies that their presence was known. As he was serving aboard during the Pearl Harbor attack, he told us a lot about the events onboard the ship and the rescue efforts of the many terribly burned and wounded that they saved. His own ship mates gave underwear. toiletries and clothing to these rescued men because the American Relief Agency there at the time required payment for these items. Since many of the men had been rescued stark naked and had nothing with which to pay the crew members did the humane thing. He would never in the rest of his life give to that agency which still exits today because of this treatment of survivors. [1]

Attack on Pearl HarborEdit

USS Dobbin (AD-3) and destroyers at Pearl Harbor.

Dobbin was present during the attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. At the time of the attack she was moored northeast of Ford Island with five destroyers, USS Phelps (DD-360), USS Macdonough (DD-351), USS Worden (DD-352), USS Dewey (DD-349) and USS Hull (DD-350).[2]

Dobbin's crew watched as Japanese planes targeted Battleship Row, but as the battleships each took heavy damage the Japanese pilots looked for other targets. Seeing that the ship had admiral flags,[2] the aircraft tried to bomb Dobbin, but the ship only took shrapnel damage.

Dobbin's small craft spent the morning picking up survivors and taking the wounded to shore. The ship picked up hundreds of sailors from other ships, and when she left the harbor in search of the Japanese fleet, 200 men from USS Raleigh (CL-7) alone were aboard.[2]

World War IIEdit

After the attack, Dobbin served in the Hawaiian area until May 1942 and then she was sent to Sydney, Australia. Dobbin was one of several Allied vessels located in Sydney Harbor during the Japanese midget submarine attack of 31 May 1942.[3] On 25 June 1943 she was sent to Brisbane, Mackay, Townsville, and Cleveland Bay, Australia, before arriving at Milne Bay, New Guinea, 30 September 1943. She stayed near New Guinea until 14 February 1945, at which point she moved to Subic Bay in the Philippines. She served a Subic Bay from 24 February to 3 November 1945.


Dobbin returned to San Diego on 7 December 1945 and was decommissioned on 27 September 1946. She was transferred to the Maritime Commission for disposal on 24 December 1946.



  1. ^ Personal family History verbal communications. Anna V. (Dodge) Savelesky, born May 21, 1943 in Sydney, NSW, Australia
  2. ^ a b c La Forte, Robert S.; Marcello, Ronald E. (2001) [1992]. "Maps". Remembering Pearl Harbor: Eyewitness Accounts by U.S. Military Men and Women (Paperback). New York: Ballantine Books. p. 314. ISBN 978-0-345-37380-9.
  3. ^ Jenkins, David (1992). Battle Surface! Japan's Submarine War Against Australia 1942–44. Milsons Point: Random House Australia. pp. 193–194. ISBN 0-09-182638-1.

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.