The USS Perry (DD-11) was a Bainbridge-class destroyer in the U.S. Navy before and during World War I. She was the second ship named in honor of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry (1785-1819). These were the first destroyers of the U.S. Navy and were originally designated Torpedo Boat Destroyers. Over time the name was simply shortened to “destroyer”.
In April 1899, Perry was laid down at San Francisco, California, by the Union Iron Works. The completed vessel was launched in October 1900. She was commissioned in September 1902 under the command of Lieutenant Theodore C. Fenton.
Initially, Perry sailed with the Pacific Torpedo Flotilla and worked out of Mare Island, California. She patrolled the waters from Mexico to Alaska until in the fall of 1908, when Hawaii was added to the fleet’s agenda.
An interesting highlight in Perry’s career occurred during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the resulting fire that consumed the city. For four days, the crew worked non-stop fighting fires, guarding businesses and homes that were threatened by looters. In addition, the crew provided medical aid to the injured people.
In June 1914, during the Mexican Revolution, Perry was present in the Gulf of California and witnessed the Fourth Battle of Topolobampo when a Huerista gunboat sank a Constitutionalist gunboat in the final naval battle of the war.
In 1917, when the United States entered World War I, Perry was removed from her duties off the California coast and dispatched to Panama were she kept a vigil watch over the entrance to the strategic Panama Canal. She patrolled Panama waters from July 1917, until May 1918, at which time she steamed to Key West and cruised the Florida Keys.
In January 1919, following the Armistice, Perry sailed to the Philadelphia Navy Yard where she remained until decommissioned in July of the same year. In September, Perry was struck from the Naval Vessel Register. Several months later, in January 1920, she was sold for scrap.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Perry (DD-11)
The Navy ships of World War I often used asbestos to protect vital engine and boiler systems from the extreme heat they generated while underway. Perry’s chief asbestos threat was in her engineering areas. Other areas of the ship were also likely to be contaminated, either via the presence of asbestos-containing pumps and machinery, or secondhand, by asbestos dust carried throughout the ship on sailors’ uniforms. Since no amount of asbestos exposure is safe, any veteran of Perry may have become ill as a result of the asbestos on board. If your loved one served on this vessel and later suffered mesothelioma, you may have a legal right to some compensation for their illness.Sources
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.