Drayton arrived at Key West, Florida on 21 December 1910, to cruise in Cuban waters and on the East Coast in exercises and development problems. She sailed from Key West on 9 April 1914 to serve on blockade duty off Mexico and take refugees out of the troubled areas, returning to New York 1 on June and to Newport on 1 August.
Drayton served on neutrality patrol and conducted torpedo and gunnery exercises out of Newport and in the Caribbean. Calling at Jacksonville, Florida, 5–11 April 1917, she took over the German steamer Frieda Leonhardt and interned her crew in accordance with a presidential proclamation issued upon American entry into World War I. Drayton arrived at Norfolk on 12 April and the next day reported for duty with the Patrol Force off the East Coast serving until 4 May 1917 when she entered Boston Navy Yard to fit out for distant service.
Drayton departed Boston 21 May 1917 and sailed by way of St. Johns, Newfoundland to Queenstown, Ireland, arriving 1 June. She patrolled along the coast of Ireland, escorting both inbound and outbound ships. On 20 June she searched for the submarine which had torpedoed SS Bengore Head then rescued 42 survivors who were landed at Bantry, Ireland. Between 26 June and 4 July she escorted a transport convoy to St. Nazaire and took part in a submarine hunt with two French cruisers. On 15 December with Benham (Destroyer No. 49) she picked up the survivors of the mined SS Foylemore, 39 in all.
Transferred to Brest and U.S. Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, Drayton left Queenstown 15 February 1918. She continued her escort and antisubmarine operations out of this port until 16 December when she sailed for the United States, arriving at Boston 2 January 1919 for overhaul. Drayton cruised along the East Coast on various exercises and maneuvers until 18 July when she reported to Philadelphia Navy Yard in company with seven other destroyers destined for decommissioning.
Drayton was decommissioned 17 November 1919. On 1 July 1933 her name was dropped in favor of new construction and she was known as DD 23 until sold 28 June 1935.