USS Sterett (DD-27)

USS Sterett (DD-27) was a Paulding class destroyer that took part in the US intervention in Mexico in 1914 and in Dominica in 1916, then operated from Queenstown in 1917-18.

The Sterett was named after Andrew Sterett, a US Navy officer during the Quasi-War with France and the clashes with Tripoli. She was laid down at Quincy on 22 March 1909, launched on 12 May 1910 and commissioned on 15 December 1910. Between then and 1913 she alternated between winters based at Guantanamo Bay on Cuba and summers operating from Boston.

Curtiss Model E 'AH-12' on USS Sterett (DD-27)
Curtiss Model E 'AH-12'
on USS Sterett (DD-27)

On 28 December 1911 she was at sea with Destroyer Divisions 8 and 9 when the destroyer Warrington was hit by a schooner that cut 30 feet off her stern. This left the Warrington without power, and in need of aid. The Sterett arrived first, soon followed by the Walke (DD-34) and the Perkins (DD-27), but it took the revenue cutter Conondaga to get a tow line onto the damaged destroyer.

She was officially placed in reserve on 5 November 1913, but remained active. In January-March 1914 she moved from Charleston to New Orleans, where she joined the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla, based at Galveston and operating in the Gulf of Mexico.

In March 1914 the Sterett was part of the Second Divsiion, U.S. Atlantic Fleet Torpedo Flotilla, which then included Terry (DD-25), Sterett (DD-27), Monaghan (DD-32) and Walke (DD-34).

While based at Galveston the Sterett took part in the US intervention in Mexico in 1914 and anyone who served on her on 29-30 April 1914 qualified for the Mexican Service Medal. In June she returned to the Atlantic, and was based at Norfolk.

On 5 January 1916 she was given a reduced complement, but she continued to remain operational. On 1 June she took part in the US intervention in the Dominican Republic, supporting the ships that landed troops at Monte Cristi. Anyone who served on her between 8 May and 18 June 1916 was awarded the Dominican Campaign Medal.

USS Sterett (DD-27) in rough sea off Ireland, 1918
USS Sterett (DD-27) in
rough seas off Ireland, 1918

After the Dominican campaign the Sterett returned to the east coast. In January 1917 she travelled up the Mississippi, reaching Vicksburg, before returning to the Texas coast. In March she moved to Key West.

After the US entry into the First World War the Sterett was prepared for distant service, and in June 1917 she moved to Queenston, Ireland, where she was based for the rest of the war. Her main role was to escort incoming convoys to Berehaven or Devonport.

On 27 December 1917 the American 'Q' ship Santee was hit by a torpedo. The ship followed the normal plan for 'Q' ships, which was to send a 'panic party' of crewmen over the side in lifeboats in an attempt to lure the attacking submarine to the surface. On this occasion the trick failed, and the Santee herself needed towing back to base. The Sterret and Cummings (DD-44) had to rescue part of the 'panic party'.

On 31 May 1918 the Sterett encountered a surfaced U-boat. She dropped depth charges as the submarine submerged, and was rewarded with a trail of oil and air bubbles. During the night of 31 May-1 June the Sterett followed this trail, before early in the morning the U-boat was sighted 1,000 yards ahead of the destroyers. The Sterett attempted to ram the submarine, but the U-boat managed to avoid a collision, and managed to submerge again before she could be hit by gunfire. Although the submarine escaped, the crew of the Sterett were commended for their efforts.

During 1918 the Sterett spent an increasing amount of time at sea, often a week at sea followed by only a day or two in port. She also took part in early attempts to coordinate surface and air anti-submarine operations.

On 5 November 1918 the Sterett and the Balch (DD-50) rescued 29 survivors from the merchant ship Dipton.

Anyone who served on the Sterett between 5 June 1917 and 11 November 1918 qualified for the First World War Victory Medal.

The Sterett had returned to the United States by 3 January 1919, and after limited operations during 1919 she was decommissioned at Philadelphia on 9 December 1919. She remained out of commission until she was struck off on 9 March 1935. On 28 June 1935 she was sold for scrap.

Displacement (design)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

29.5kts design
32kts at 17,393shp at 887 tons on trial


3-shaft Parson turbines
4 Normand boilers
12,000shp normal
17,393shp trial


3,000nm at 16kts design
3,343nm at 15kts on trial
2,642nm at 20kts on trial




26ft 3in


Five 3in/50 guns
Six 18in torpedo tubes in three twin mounts

Crew complement



12 May 1910


15 December 1910


Sold for scrap 1935

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 (7 March 2016), USS Sterett (DD-27) ,

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