On 8 September 1923, 14 ships of Destroyer Squadron 11 raced southward along the California coast. The flush-deck, four-piper “greyhounds” were small by today’s warship standards, but they had weathered great tempests, endured skirmishes and a few battles with German U-boats in World War I, and had gotten used to making do with less. By the summer of 1923, they were 25 percent undermanned, suffering from reduced training opportunities made necessary by fuel constraints, and operating with increasingly junior personnel in critical billets. When notified of a pending high-speed training run, some of the skippers welcomed the opportunity, while others were concerned about the strain it would put on their debilitated engineering plants.
Chaos at the Devil’s Jaw
By Lieutenant Commander Thomas J. Cutler, U.S. Navy (Retired)