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  USS Ward DD-139 / APD-16
USN
Wickes class destroyer

1,247 Tons
314' 4" x 30' 11" x 9' 10"
4 x 4" guns
2 x 3" guns
4 x 21" torpedo tubes
Click For Enlargement
Justin Taylan 2006

Ship History
Built by Mare Island Navy Yard at Mare Island in California. Laid down on May 15, 1918. Built in a record 17 1/2 days, a shipbuilding record that has never broken. Launched on June 1, 1918. Commissioned on July 24, 1918.

During late 1918, assigned to the Atlantic Ocean to support the trans Atlantic flight of the NC flying boats during May 1919. Afterwards, assigned to the Pacific. In July 1920 assigned hull number DD-139 until decommissioned in July 1921.

Wartime History
Decommissioned January 1941. Sent to Pearl Harbor and performed local patrol duties off Hawaii.

On December 7, 1941 Ward spotted HA-20 Japanese Type A Midget Submarine (Midget A) trying to enter Pearl Harbor behind a cargo ship and immediately opened fire with her 4" guns. The midget submarine was hit by a shell penetrating the conning tower and then depth charged by the destroyer. The crew of Ward saw the midget sub lifted out of the water by depth charges and and confirmed the sinking of the sinking the submarine at 6:55am. Ward fired the first shots at Pearl Harbor, an hour before the start of the aerial attack.

Sinking History
On December 7, 1944 sunk by Kamikaze attack during the Battle of Ormoc Bay.

Shipwreck
On December 1, 2017, the expedition crew of Paul Allen’s Research Vessel (R/V) Petrel sent its Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) to explore and document the remains of the USS Ward. Their dive footage was released on December 5, 2017.

Display
The gun site from the Ward is displayed at the National Museum of the Pacific War (Nimitz Museum).

References
Preludes to Victory: The Battle of Ormoc Bay by William Griggs
Paul Allen "R/V Petrel Explores Wreck of USS Ward; Fired First American Shot of WWII" December 5, 2017
YouTube "Paul G. Allen's R/V Petrel Explores USS Ward" December 5, 2017

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Last Updated
August 18, 2018

 

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