Childs (AVD 1).
In 1938, the Navy perceived a need for fast tenders that could be deployed as mobile bases for squadrons of PBY patrol bombers. On 1 July, it reclassified two Clemson-class flush deckers, Childs and Williamson, and took them in hand for conversion, removing their two forward stacks and replacing their two forward boilers with fuel tanks which, together with voids, gave them a capacity approximately 50,000 gallons of fuel. Their torpedo tubes, waist guns and 3-inch anti-aircraft gun were also removed and the bridge superstructure was extended aft to where the forward stacks had been to provide quarters for the squadron. A light crane was stepped amidships and aircraft servicing boats were carried in davits.


USS Childs (AVD 1, ex-DD 241, ex-AVP 14).
USS Williamson (AVD 2, ex-DD 244, ex-AVP 15).
USS George E. Badger (AVD 3, ex-DD 196, ex-AVP 16, later APD 33).
USS Clemson (AVD 4, ex-DD 186, ex-AVP 17, later APD 31).
USS Goldsborough (AVD 5, ex-DD 188, ex-AVP 18, later APD 32).
USS Hulbert (AVD 6. ex-DD 342, ex-AVP 19).
USS William B Preston (AVD 7, ex-DD 344, ex-AVP 20).
USS Belknap (AVD 8, ex-DD 251, later APD 34).
USS Osmond Ingram (AVD 9, ex-DD 255, later APD 35).
USS Ballard (AVD 10. ex-DD 267).
USS Thornton (AVD 11, ex-DD 270).
USS Gillis (AVD 12, ex-DD 260).
USS Greene (AVD 13, ex-DD 266, later APD 36).
USS McFarland (AVD 14, ex-DD 237).

Their conversion was regarded as a success, leading to five more conversions authorized in 1939 and seven more in 1940.

Concurrently, on 26 October 1939, the name ship of the 1,766-ton Barnegat (AVP 10) class was laid down. Initially, the first seven flush-deckers were also designated AVP, with hull numbers 14–20 in sequence after the first four Barnegats. The designation was later changed to AVD, encompassing all fourteen ships.


One AVD and two ex-AVDs were lost during or immediately after World War II:


McFarland wsa awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for service in the Southwest Pacific, 20 June–16 October 1942.

Five other ships received ten Presidential Unit Citations while attached to the USS Bogue (CVE 9) hunter-killer task group in the Atlantic in 1943: Belknap, Clemson (two awards), George E. Badger (three awards), Greene and Osmond Ingram (three awards).


Six AVDs were converted again as high-speed transports (APDs): George E. Badger, Clemson, Goldsborough, Belknap, Osmond Ingram and Greene.