Following commissioning, Ammen was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet. She operated with the Torpedo Flotilla along the East Coast. Upon the outbreak of World War I in Europe in 1914, Ammen began neutrality patrols and escort duty along the East Coast. After the United States entered the conflict in April 1917, Ammen sailed for the Bahamas on a reconnaissance mission. When she returned to the United States, the destroyer entered the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 6 May to be fitted out for overseas service. Ammen was assigned to Division 9, Destroyer Force, and sailed on 18 June for St. Nazaire, France.
After the arrival of the convoy at St. Nazaire on 2 July, Ammen proceeded to Queenstown, Ireland and was attached to American naval forces based there. The ship carried out convoy escort duty between Ireland and France, patrolled off the Irish coast for enemy submarines, and went to the aid of vessels in distress. Ammen returned to the United States in January 1919. She made a cruise to the Gulf of Mexico before going out of commission at Philadelphia on 11 December 1919.
She remained at Philadelphia until 28 April 1924, when she was transferred to the Coast Guard, in whose hands she was redesignated CG 8. Ammen was one of 20 destroyers that formed the Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Force, established to help suppress bootlegging.
On 22 May 1931, Ammen was returned to the Navy, but she performed no further active service. Her name was dropped on 1 July 1933, and thereafter she was referred to as DD 35. She was struck from the Navy list on 5 July 1934 and sold to Michael Flynn, Inc., Brooklyn, New York.