USS Spence and Hunters Point

USS Spence in San Francisco Bay, with Bay Bridge in background. Spence appears to be sailing north off the coast of South Beach/Potrero Hill, from Hunters Point. Photo: Naval History and Heritage Command, via Naval Warfare blog.

The U.S. naval history blog Naval Warfare has an new entry up on USS Spence, a Fletcher-class destroyer. Spence participated in the several noted battles and campaigns, including the Solomon Islands campaign and the Battle of the Philippine Sea, as well as several minor surface actions and naval bombardments.

Built on the East Coast by Bath Iron Works, Spence passed through San Francisco twice: once ¬†on its first deployment to the Pacific, and again in August 1944. She spent the month of September in drydock at Hunter’s Point Naval Shipyard before leaving for the Pacific again. She sunk in December 1944, rolled over at sea by Typhoon Cobra. Only 24 of her 336 crew survived.


The pictures are a reminder of how frequently the U.S. Navy used to pass through San Francisco Bay, and how active Hunters Point Naval Shipyard used to be. Most ships participating in the Pacific campaign probably passed through San Francisco at least once in their service lives.

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