From: Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
A sea bird whose body is smaller than the gull which it resembles. It possesses a slender body, a narrow beak, and a deeply-forked tail. The tern inhabits coastal waters on both sides of the Atlantic.
(SP-871:t. 18; l. 53'; b. 10'; dr. 2'9"; a. 1 1-pdr.,1 mg.)
The first Tern (SP-871) a motorboat built in 1907 at South Boston, Mass., by Murray and Tregurtha was acquired by the United States Navy on 28 May 1917 from E. F. Nall of Atlantic City, N.J.; and was commissioned the same day. Tern operated in the 4th Naval District as a scout patrol boat through the end of World War I. She was returned to her owner on 21 November 1918.