The first USS Shaw (Torpedo Boat Destroyer No. 68) was laid down on 7 February 1916 by the Mare Island Navy Yard; launched on 9 December 1916; sponsored by Mrs. Virginia Kemper Lynch Millard; and commissioned on 9 April 1917, LCdr. Milton S. Davis in command.

Shaw sailed from Mare Island on 25 May 1917 and arrived at New York on 10 June 1917, ready for distant service. She sailed a week later as one of the escort of Group 4 of the Expeditionary Force from the United States to France. On 26 June, she fueled at sea from a tanker, and the convoy arrived at Quiberon Bay, France on 1 July. On the 4th, she sailed from St. Nazaire and arrived at Queenstown, Ireland the next day. On 10 July, she began patrol and convoy escort duty based on Queenstown, convoying eastbound and westbound ships through the submarine danger zone around the British Isles, for the most part without incident.

On 1 July 1918, Shaw received an SOS from the torpedoed American transport, USS Covington, and rushed to her aid. On arrival, she found that Covington’s survivors bad been removed and the ship had been taken under tow. The crippled transport sank later in the day, however.

On 25 September, a ship in Shaw’s convoy was attacked by a submarine but not damaged.

Shaw’s own ordeal came on 9 October 1918. While escorting the giant British transport RMS Aquitania, Shaw’s rudder jammed just as she was completing the right leg of a zigzag, leaving her headed directly towards the transport. A moment later, Aquitania struck Shaw, cutting off 90 feet of the destroyer’s bow, mangling her bridge and setting her on fire. Shaw’s crew heroically brought her damage under control, and a skeleton crew of 21 men took the wreck 40 miles into port under her own power.

Shaw remained under repair at Portsmouth, England until 29 May 1919 when she sailed for the United States. She arrived at New York on 17 June and moved to the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 2 October where she joined the reserve destroyer group and was decommissioned on 21 June 1922.

Shaw was struck from the Navy list on 25 March 1926 and transferred to the Coast Guard the same day. She was returned to the Navy by the Coast Guard and reinstated on the Navy list effective 30 June 1933. Her name was canceled on 1 November 1933 for assignment to a new destroyer, and the ship was struck again on 5 July 1934 and sold for scrapping on 22 August to Michael Plynn, Inc., Brooklyn, New York.

Source: Naval History & Heritage Command including the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.