Attached to Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet, Preston conducted peacetime patrols and participated in various individual, squadron, and fleet exercises until assigned to neutrality duties prior to the entry of the United States into World War I.
At New York on 6 April 1917, she sailed within the week for Boston, where she continued patrol duties until 12 May. Then, reassigned to Destroyer Force, Atlantic, she performed coastal escort and patrol duties for two months.
In July, Preston sailed east and between 1 August and 5 October she patrolled and performed escort work, off the strategically-located Azores. Next, ordered to Brest, she conducted similar missions along the French coast until the Armistice.
On 11 December 1918, Preston, sailed for the United States and arrived at Charleston on 4 January 1919. Later shifted to Philadelphia, she decommissioned 17 July and her name was struck from the Navy List 15 September. On 21 November, she was sold to the T. A. Scott Co. of New London, Connecticut.