Greyhounds of the Sea. The destroyer evolved from the need of navies to counter a new ship which made a devastating debut in the Chilean Civil War of 1891 and in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894. This was the swift, small torpedo boat that could dash in close to the larger ships, loose their torpedoes and dash away. The world's navies recognized the need for a counter weapon and so the torpedo boat destroyer - later just "destroyer" - was born. From the first U.S. destroyer commissioned in 1902 to the famous ships of World War II to the Spruance-class to the Arleigh Burke-class, the U.S. Navy's destroyers have been evolving. And that evolution continues into the 21st century with the coming of the DD(X).