Born 25 March 1827 in New York, N.Y., Rear Adm. Stephen B. Luce was one of the Navy’s outstanding officers in many fields, including strategy, seamanship, education, and professional development. Entering the naval service 19 October 1841 as a midshipman, he served with the Atlantic coast blockaders during the Civil War, and commanded the monitor Nantucket at the siege of Charleston, S.C. In 1862, while serving as head of the Department of Seamanship at the Naval Academy, he prepared one of the first seamanship textbooks used by the Academy.
After the war Luce organized the Navy’s apprentice training program to prepare seamen and petty officers for fleet duty. From 1878 to 1881 Captain Luce was inspector of training ships and, as commodore, he commanded the U.S. Training Squadron from 1881 to 1884.
Based on Luce’s urgings and exhaustive reports, the Naval War College at Newport, R.I., was established 6 October 1884 with Rear Admiral Luce as its first superintendent. He was also instrumental in starting the Naval Institute and its Proceedings. He again served at sea before retiring 25 March 1889. He returned to the War College in 1901 and died 28 July 1917.
(DD‑99; dp. 1,191; l. 314'5"; b. 31'9"; dr. 9'2"; s. 35 k.; cpl. 133; a. 4 4", 2 1‑pdr., 12 21" tt.; cl. Wickes)
The first Luce (DD‑99) was laid down by Fore River Shipbuilding Corp., Quincy, Mass., 9 February 1918; launched 29 June 1918; sponsored by Mrs. Boutelle Noyes, daughter of Rear Admiral Luce; and commissioned 11 September 1918, Lt. Comdr. R. C. Parker in command.
Luce departed Boston 19 September 1918 and reported to Commander Cruiser Force, Atlantic Fleet, in New York 2 days later. She sailed with Troop Convoy 67 for France 23 September. Upon arrival at the Azores 1 October, she was detached and proceeded to Gibraltar 19 October. Me ship performed escort and patrol duty in the Mediterranean for the duration of the war.
On 26 November she departed for the Adriatic and for 5 months patrolled the area in cooperation with the Food Commission. After voyaging to the eastern Mediterranean, Aegean, and Black Seas in May and June 1919, she returned to Gibraltar 27 June en route to the United States. She arrived New York 10 July and proceeded to Boston for overhaul.
On 29 October she was transferred to Reserve Squadron 1, Atlantic Fleet, and 18 March 1920 was reclassified Light Mine Layer (DM‑4). In April she departed Boston for Newport where she operated with the destroyer force until July. On 5 July 1921 she joined Mine Squadron 1, Gloucester, Mass., and participated in tactical exercises until October. After a cruise to the Caribbean in January 1922, Luce arrived Philadelphia where she decommissioned 30 June 1922.
Luce recommissioned 19 March 1930 and sailed to Panama 18 April where she operated with submarines of the Canal Zone Control Force until May. She returned to the east coast 4 June and trained with Mine Squadron 1 until steaming to Boston where she decommissioned 31 January 1931. Luce was sold to Schiavone‑Bonomo Corp., New York, 29 September 1936 and scrapped 13 November 1936.