Set Phasers on Stun Case
Case 14: That Newfangled Technology
On the morning of September 8, 1923, Lieutenant Commander Donald T. Hunter was assigned to responsible for leading fourteen destroyers of Destroyer Squadron 11 to depart from San Francisco to San Diego. They were returning home after an escorting Battle Division 4 from Puget Sound to San Francisco. At that time, the Destroyer Squadron comprised with leading flagship that commanded by Captain Hunter, USS Delphy (DD-261) and followed by; the four ships of Destroyer Division 33, USS S.P. Lee (DD-310), USS Young (DD-312), USS Woodbury (DD-309), and USS Nicholas (DD-311); the five ships from Destroyer Division 31, USS Farragut (DD-300), USS Fuller (DD-297), USS Percival (DD-298), USS Somers (DD-301), and USS Chauncey (DD-296); and four ships from Destroyer Division 32, USS Kennedy (DD-306), USS Paul Hamilton (DD-307), USS Stoddert (DD-302), and USS Thomson (DD-305). The warships conducted tactical gears and weaponry exercises en route, including a competitive speed run of 20 knots. Later in the day, as weather worsened, the ships formed up a column on the squadron leader “Delphy”. That evening, around 2000 hours (8:00 p.m.), the leading flagship broadcast an erroneous report, based on an improperly interpreted radio compass bearing, showing the squadrons position about nine miles off Point Arguello. About an hour later, the destroyers turned east to enter what was thought to be the Santa Barbara Channel, though it could not be seen owing to the thick fog. Unfortunately, due to a combination of abnormally strong currents and navigational complacency, it led the squadron onto the rocks offshore point and rugged area of San Miguel Island, near Honda Point. Just after turning, Delphy struck the rocks at 2105 (9:05 p.m.), plowing ashore at 20 knots. More than worse, Delphy was followed by S.P. Lee, which hit and swung broadside against the bluffs. Young piled up adjacent to Delphy and capsized,...
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