Destroyers were an important group of warships to the rearming American Navy prior to World War 1 (1914-1918) and several programs were well-underway (or very much mature) at the outbreak of war in mid-1914. The Paulding-class was set to number an impressive twenty-one ships when the design was drawn up and the group instantly doubled USN destroyer fleet strength when taken into service - such was its importance to American naval scope of operations moving forward.
USS Perkins (DD-26) became the fifth named ship of the class and she was constructed by the builders at Fore River Ship and Engine of Quincy, Massachusetts, seeing her keel laid down on March 22nd, 1909. The vessel was then launched from her holdings on April 9th, 1910 and formally commissioned on November 18th, 1910 - to begin a relatively short life of service that would take her into 1919.
The Paulding-class ships were based in the similar Smith-class detailed elsewhere on this site. The key consideration of the newer class was its increases torpedo loadout from three tubes to six, the installation of twin torpedo tube launchers making this possible. Oil-fired boilers also differentiated this new class as the earlier types still relied on coal-fired units.
As built, USS Perkins was given a length of 293.9 feet with a beam of 27 feet and a draught down to 8.3 feet. Displacement was 755 tons under normal load and up to 900 tons under war loads. Installed power constituted 4 x Boilers feeding 2 x Parsons direct-drive steam turbines developing 12,000 horsepower to 2 x Shafts under stern. Maximum speed in ideal conditions could reach nearly 30 knots.
Aboard was a crew of 91 including four officers. Installed armament centered on 5 x 3" (76mm) /50 caliber main guns backed by 6 x 18" (450mm) torpedo tubes in 3x2 arrangements.
Perkins' profile was consistent with warship design of the time, featuring a raised bow line, unbroken hull line (moving aft) and forward-and-aft mastworks (straddling the smoke funnels). The bridge superstructure was fitted well-forward of midships to offer the best view of the action ahead. The center of the vessel was taken up by the three inline, low-profile smoke funnels.
Perkins' early service career was quiet as she was assigned to take part in various exercises and journeys. She then formed part of USN destroyer strength in European waters from June to November of 1917 - the U.S. declared war on German in April of that year (World War 1 began back in mid-1914). USS Perkins was part of an at-rescue action and convoy support / escort operations during her time in the conflict. An overhaul then greeted her in Charleston, South Carolina for late-1917/early-1918. From March to December of 1918 she operated in the Atlantic near the American East Coast in service of enemy submarines while also supply protection for convoys. In November of 1918, the Armistice was signed to end the war in full.
With her services no longer needed, and a massive post-war drawdown to be had, USS Perkins was decommissioned on December 5th, 1919. She was assigned to the Reserve Fleet and remained at this station until formally given up for good on March 8th, 1935 - at which point she was sold off for scrapping as part of the London Naval Treaty requirements.