The first USS Worden (Torpedo Boat Destroyer No. 16) was laid down at Sparrows Point, Maryland on 13 November 1899 by the Maryland Steel Co.; launched on 15 August 1901; sponsored by Mrs. Daniel F. Worden, the daughter-in-law of Rear Admiral Worden; and commissioned on St. Patrick’s Day 1903, Lt. Benjamin B. McCormick in command.

Worden passed her final acceptance test on 18 July and began duty with the 2d Torpedo Flotilla, based at Norfolk, Virginia. For more than four years, she remained a unit of the 2d Torpedo Flotilla and conducted operations along the eastern seaboard from Maine south to the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. Annually, she participated in the Fleet maneuvers held in the warm waters of the Caribbean.

On 18 November 1907, the warship was placed in reserve at the Norfolk Navy Yard. As a unit of the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla, she was berthed first at Norfolk and, later, at Charleston, South Carolina. Save for a six-month interlude from May to November of 1909 when she was returned to full commission, Worden remained inactive until 1912. Then, although still in reserve, she was loaned to the Pennsylvania Naval Militia for training purposes and was stationed at Philadelphia until returned to Charleston and the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla the following year.

In 1914, Worden became a tender to the Atlantic Fleet Submarine Force and continued to operate in support of submarines until March 1917, when she was sent to New York on special duty in connection with a recruiting campaign necessitated by the probability that the United States would enter World War I. In June, she was reassigned back to her own type command as a unit of Division B, Destroyer Force while continuing her recruiting duty at New York through the end of the year.

On 16 January 1918, Worden got under way for Europe in company with Hopkins (Coast Torpedo Vessel No. 6), Macdonough (Coast Torpedo Vessel No. 9), Paul Jones (Coast Torpedo Vessel No. 10), and Stewart (Coast Torpedo Vessel No. 13). She steamed with them via Bermuda to Ponta Delgada in the Azores, where she arrived on 29 January. There, Worden and Stewart parted company with the other three warships and put to sea again on 4 February to continue on to the French coast. They reached Brest on the 9th and soon thereafter began escorting coastal convoys and hunting for enemy U-boats. During the remaining nine months of World War I, Worden maintained a grueling schedule escorting convoys between ports on the French coast.

On 18 December, about five weeks after the 11 November Armistice, Worden stood out of Brest in company with Flusser (Torpedo Boat Destroyer No. 20), Stewart, and Whipple (Coast Torpedo Vessel No. 15) to return home. Following refueling and provisioning stops in the Azores and at Bermuda, she and her traveling companions arrived at Philadelphia on 3 January 1919.

Worden remained in commission for a little over six months, probably at Philadelphia, until placed out of commission there on 13 July 1919, Her name was struck from the Navy list on 15 September 1919. In 1920, on the first anniversary of her return home, 3 January, she was sold to Joseph G. Hitner of Philadelphia for conversion to mercantile service.

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