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Ships of Destroyer Squadron 3 at San Diego in 1941, with the visibly larger flotilla leader USS Clark (DD-361) in front.

In the 1930s, the United States Navy built two classes of flotilla leaders, the Porter class, and the Somers class. Due to the regulations of the London Naval Treaty, these 13 ships had a displacement of 1,850 tons, compared to the 1,500 tons of a "standard" destroyer. When the treaty ended with the outbreak of World War II in Europe in 1939, the much larger Fletcher class was constructed, making the differentiation irrelevant.

Following the war, Destroyer leader (DL) was a hull classification symbol used by the U.S. Navy from the 1950s until 1975. These ships were more commonly called frigates, although they were much larger than frigates of other navies. They were intended to be larger and more capable than destroyers and to lead a destroyer task force. During the 1975 USN ship reclassification these ships were reclassified as guided missile destroyers (DDG) or guided missile cruisers (CG). The last one of these ships was decommissioned in 1999. A total of 41 ships bore this classification.

Ship Built As Reclassified As Class Commissioned–
NVR link
Norfolk DL-1 Norfolk 1953–1970 DL1
Mitscher DL-2 DDG-35 Mitscher 1953–1978 DDG35
John S. McCain DL-3 DDG-36 Mitscher 1953–1978 DDG36
Willis A. Lee DL-4 Mitscher 1954–1969 DL4
Wilkinson DL-5 Mitscher 1954–1969 DL5
Farragut DLG-6 DDG-37 Farragut 1960–1989 DDG37
Luce DLG-7 DDG-38 Farragut 1961–1991 DDG38
Macdonough DLG-8 DDG-39 Farragut 1961–1992 DDG39
Coontz DLG-9 DDG-40 Farragut 1960–1989 DDG40
King DLG-10 DDG-41 Farragut 1960–1991 DDG41
Mahan DLG-11 DDG-42 Farragut 1960–1993 DDG42
Dahlgren DLG-12 DDG-43 Farragut 1961–1992 DDG43
William V. Pratt DLG-13 DDG-44 Farragut 1961–1991 DDG44
Dewey DLG-14 DDG-45 Farragut 1959–1990 DDG45
Preble DLG-15 DDG-46 Farragut 1960–1991 DDG46
Leahy DLG-16 CG-16 Leahy 1962–1993 CG16
Harry E. Yarnell DLG-17 CG-17 Leahy 1963–1993 CG17
Worden DLG-18 CG-18 Leahy 1963–1993 CG18
Dale DLG-19 CG-19 Leahy 1963–1994 CG19
Richmond K. Turner DLG-20 CG-20 Leahy 1964–1995 CG20
Gridley DLG-21 CG-21 Leahy 1963–1994 CG21
England DLG-22 CG-22 Leahy 1963–1994 CG22
Halsey DLG-23 CG-23 Leahy 1963–1994 CG23
Reeves DLG-24 CG-24 Leahy 1964–1993 CG24
Bainbridge DLGN-25 CGN-25 Bainbridge 1962–1996 CGN25
Belknap DLG-26 CG-26 Belknap 1964–1995 CG26
Josephus Daniels DLG-27 CG-27 Belknap 1965–1994 CG27
Wainwright DLG-28 CG-28 Belknap 1966–1993 CG28
Jouett DLG-29 CG-29 Belknap 1966–1994 CG29
Horne DLG-30 CG-30 Belknap 1967–1994 CG30
Sterett DLG-31 CG-31 Belknap 1967–1994 CG31
William H. Standley DLG-32 CG-32 Belknap 1966–1994 CG32
Fox DLG-33 CG-33 Belknap 1966–1994 CG33
Biddle DLG-34 CG-34 Belknap 1967–1993 CG34
Truxtun DLGN-35 CGN-35 Truxtun 1967–1995 CGN35
California DLGN-36 CGN-36 California 1974–1999 CGN36
South Carolina* DLGN-37 CGN-37 California 1975–1999 CGN37
Virginia** DLGN-38 CGN-38 Virginia 1976–1994 CGN38
Texas** DLGN-39 CGN-39 Virginia 1977–1993 CGN39
Mississippi** DLGN-40 CGN-40 Virginia 1978–1997 CGN40
Arkansas** DLGN-41 CGN-41 Virginia 1980–1998 CGN41

*South Carolina was the last ship commissioned as a DL type.
**Ordered as DLGN, reclassified as CGN prior to commissioning.


  • This article includes information collected from the Naval Vessel Register, which, as a U.S. government publication, is in the public domain.

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