The first Bell (Destroyer No. 95) was laid down on 16 November 1917 at Quincy, Mass., by the Fore River Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 20 April 1918; sponsored by Mrs. Adelaide Daniels; and commissioned at the Boston Navy Yard on 31 July 1918, Lt. Comdr. Douglas L. Howard in command.
Following shakedown training during the summer of 1918, the destroyer operated out of New York escorting portions of convoys to sea and returning to port after they joined their consorts for the crossing. That employment lasted until 1 October 1918 when she got underway for Europe herself. Bell and her convoy stopped at Ponta Delgada in the Azores from 9 to 11 October and arrived in Brest, France, on 15 October. A week later, she began escorting troop convoys into Brest on the last leg of their transatlantic voyages. During this assignment the armistice ending World War I was signed. On 29 November, the ship stood out of Brest, bound again for the Azores, and she arrived at Ponta Delgada on 3 December. Seven days later, she stood out of that port to rendezvous with the convoy that included George Washington, then bringing President Woodrow Wilson to Europe for the peace conference. They reached Brest on 13 December.
Two weeks later, Bell departed Brest to return to the United States. After stops at Ponta Delgada and Bermuda, she arrived at Boston on 6 January 1919. The destroyer operated with the Atlantic Fleet along the east coast and in the West Indies until placed out of commission at the Portsmouth (N.H.) Navy Yard on 21 June 1922. She remained in reserve until 25 January 1937 when her name was struck from the Navy list. On 18 April 1939, Bell was sold to the Union Shipbuilding Co., of Baltimore, for scrapping.
See also Bell-II.