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USS Terry, DD-25

WWI "Flivver Type" Destroyer


Displacement: 887 tons, length: 293'10", beam: 26'1"; draft: 10'11"; speed: 30.24 k, crew: 89 in peace time, 107 in war time, armament: 5 three-inch 50 cal. guns, 2 .30 cal. Machine guns, four 18-inch torpedo tubes in twin deck mountings, Machinery, 12,000 SHP; Parsons Turbines, 4 Thornycroft boilers, 2 screws, Fuel Oil Capacity: 186-190 tons Class: Roe


USS Terry DD-25 during 1918

The first Terry (Torpedo Boat Destroyer No. 25) was laid down on 8 February 1909 at Newport News, Va., by the Newport News Shipbuilding Co., launched on 21 August 1909; sponsored by Mrs. George Henry Rock; and commissioned on 18 October 1910, Lt. Comdr. Martin E. Trench in command.

Following trials off the east coast, Terry joined the Atlantic Fleet Torpedo Flotilla in winter operations in Cuban waters. She conducted both torpedo exercises with the flotilla and general maneuvers with the Fleet as a whole. In October, 1912, the bulk of the United States Navy gathered in the Hudson River off Manhattan Island. There, on October 14, the fleet was reviewed by President William Howard Taft, who apparently had decided against campaigning in his reelection struggle against Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. (Ironically, Roosevelt would be shot that same day while campaigning in Milwaukee.) Taft, accompanied by Secretary of the Navy George von Lengerke Meyer, was able to view what the New York Times called "the greatest assemblage of naval strength ever assembled." While this may have been hyperbolic exaggeration, the ships gathered at New York did represent a significant naval force. The vessels ranged from auxiliaries to the new "super-Dreadnought" battleships Arkansas and Wyoming, both recent additions to the fleet. The 24 Destroyers present at the review represented a cross-section of the US Navy's early efforts at ships of this class. Some were newly built, modern vessels, others had been languishing in the Reserve Fleet. During this Fleet Review the Terry was one of the 24 Destroyers and she was commanded at that time by Lt. John C. Fremont. The routine of winter maneuvers in the Caribbean alternated with spring and summer operations along the New England coast continued until November 1913, when the torpedo boat destroyer arrived at Charleston, S.C., for overhaul.

Soon after entering the navy yard there, Terry was placed in reserve. Though still in reserve after her overhaul was completed, Terry continued to be active. During 1914, she cruised the coast of Florida; and, by February 1915, she was back in Cuban waters for winter maneuvers. That summer, Terry steamed as far north as Newport, R.I., to conduct another round of torpedo exercises. Upon completion of the mission, she returned to her base at Charleston.

By 1 January 1916, the torpedo boat destroyer was operating with a reduced complement destroyer division. On the 31st, she cruised with units of the Atlantic Fleet to Key West, Fla. In May, she steamed from there to Santo Domingo. On 10 June 1916, while maneuvering in the inner harbor at Puerto Plata, she struck a reef and settled until the greater part of the main deck was submerged. On the 13th, under the supervision of the commanding officer of the Sacramento ( Gunboat No. 19), Terry's officers and men joined the staff of a wrecking company in salvage operations. The warship was refloated on 26 July, temporarily repaired by 7 July and returned to the Charleston Navy Yard on 15 July 1916.

Americas entry into World War I saw Terry undergoing extensive repairs at Charleston. Upon completion of the yard work, she was ready to join the first convoy of American troops to sail across the Atlantic. Commanded by Lt. Cmdr. J. F. Shafroth, Jr., Terry along with the Armored Cruiser USS Seattle, the Auxiliary Cruiser De Kalb, the converted yacht Corsair and the destroyer Wilkes and Roe acted as an escort in Convoy Group 1. The troopships in Group 1 were the Saratoga with 1,276 members of the 16th Infantry and 20 Casuals, the Havana with 1,372 members of the 16th Infantry, the Tenadores with 923 members of the 28th Infantry and 184 casual troops and the Pastores with 637 members of the 28th Infantry, 23 casuals, 276 Motor Truck troops, and 99 members of a detachment of the 26th Infantry. It was on the 22 of June at 10:15 P.M. when the first submarine attacked Group 1. Lookouts on the Seattle sighted extremely phosphorescent water, which was the wake of a submarine crossing her bow toward the convoy. At the same moment that the lookouts on the Seattle were calling in their report the De Kalb sighted two torpedo wakes in the water heading for her and opened fire. Captain Gherardi who was on the bridge of the De Kalb at the time took quick and decisive action and handling his ship to safety. Two more torpedoes also passed close by the Havana but missed.

In January 1918, Terry put to sea for operations with the destroyer force based at Queenstown, Ireland. There, she escorted convoys through the submarine-infested waters surrounding the British Isles. Her tour of duty at Queenstown was a relatively peaceful, though rigorous, one. While' she never sighted a German U-boat nor engaged in combat operations, on one voyage she escorted a convoy which lost one ship to a submarine. On another occasion, on 19 March 1918, she assisted Manley (Destroyer No. 74) with casualties after that destroyer was damaged by an accidental depth charge explosion.

Early in the morning of August 13, 1918 a field of seventeen transports under the escort of HMS Roxburgh, this convoy picked up its destroyer escort consisting of the USS Terry DD-25 and the USS Jenkins DD-42. Two of the ship in the convoy were the HMS Margha and the HMS Anselm, both carring the 71st Artillery CAC. On Thursday August 15, the convoy sailed into Liverpool, with flags flying and the band playing on the deck for the first time since leaving Halifax.

In December 1918, Terry returned to the United States; and, after 11 months of extremely limited service, she was decommissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 13 November 1919. She remained there until she was transferred to the Coast Guard on 7 June 1924. She served in the Coast Guard until 18 October 1930, when she was returned to the Navy and restored on the Navy list in a decommissioned status, listed as a "vessel to be disposed of by sale or salvage." On 2 May 1934, Terry was sold for scrapping. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 28 June 1934.


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This page was created on 12 March, 2004 and last modified on: Sun, Jun 24, 2007

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