USS Preston (DD-19)

USS Preston (DD-19) was a Smith class destroyer that served off the Azores in 1917 and from Brest from October 1917 to the end of the First World War.

The Preston was named after Samuel w. Preston, a UN Navy officer who was killed during an attack on Fort Fisher on 13 January 1865 (American Civil War).

USS Preston (DD-19) on Builder's Trials, 1909
USS Preston (DD-19)
on Builder's Trials, 1909

The Preston was laid down by the New York Shipbuilding Co on 28 April 1908, launched on 14 July 1909 and commissioned on 21 December1909. She joined the Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet, and served with that unit before the First World War. On 1 January 1914 she was part of the First Division, U.S. Atlantic Fleet Torpedo Flotilla.

The Preston took part in the American intervention in Santo Domingo in 1916, and anyone serving on her between 20 May and 22 November 1916 was awarded the Dominican Campaign Medal.

As the war at sea came increasingly close to the United States the Preston joined the neutrality patrols, still operating off the US East Coast.

USS Preston (DD-19) at sea, 1912
USS Preston (DD-19) at sea, 1912

After the US entry into the First World War on 6 April she spent another month patrolling off the US East Coast. This lasted until 12 May when she joined the Destroyer Force, Atlantic. For the next two months she split her time between patrols and escorting coastal shipping.

In July she departed for the Azores, and between 1 August and 5 October she performed a similar mix of escort and patrol duties around those islands.

In October 1917 she moved to Brest, and she spent the rest of the war carrying out escort and patrol duties along the French coast.

On 11 December 1918 she joined a flotilla of American ships that left Brest to return home. She reached Charleston on 4 January 1919, and was decommissioned at Philadelphia on 17 July after the Navy decided to get rid of all of its coal powered destroyers. She was sold on 21 November 1919. 

Displacement (standard)

600t design

Displacement (normal load)

900t as built

Top Speed

28kts design
28.36kts at 9,946shp at 716t on trial (Smith)


3-shaft Parsons turbines
4 boilers


2,800nm at 10kts design
2,000nm at 18kts on trial


293ft 10in


26ft 0in


Five 3in guns
Two 0.30in guns
Three 18in torpedo tubes

Crew complement



14 July 1909


21 December 1909


Sold 1919

U.S. Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History, Norman Friedmann . The standard history of the development of American destroyers, from the earliest torpedo boat destroyers to the post-war fleet, and covering the massive classes of destroyers built for both World Wars. Gives the reader a good understanding of the debates that surrounded each class of destroyer and led to their individual features.
cover cover cover

Books on the First World War | Subject Index: First World War

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (26 January 2016), USS Preston (DD-19) ,

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