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Navsource Online: Destroyer Escort Photo Archive

USS J. Richard Ward (DE 243)

Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign:
N - Z - M - L
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
American Campaign Medal w/ 1 star- WWII Victory Medal

Class: Edsall
Type: FMR (geared diesel, Fairbanks-Morse reverse gear drive, 3" guns)
Displacement: 1200 tons (light), 1590 tons (full)
Length: 300' (wl), 306' (oa)
Beam: 36' 10" (extreme)
Draft: 20' 6" (draft limit)
Propulsion: 4 Fairbanks-Morse Mod. 38d81/8 geared diesel engines, 4 diesel-generators, 6000 shp, 2 screws
Speed: 21 kts
Range: 9,100 nm @ 12 knots
Armament: 3 x 3"/50 Mk22 (1x3), 1 twin 40mm Mk1 AA, 8 x 20mm Mk 4 AA, 3 x 21" Mk15 TT (3x1), 1 Hedgehog Projector Mk10 (144 rounds), 8 Mk6 depth charge projectors, 2 Mk9 depth charge tracks
Complement: 8 / 201
J. Richard Ward (DE 243) Building and Operational Data:
  • 30 September 1942: Keel laid by the Brown Shipbuilding Co., Houston, Tex.
  • 06 January 1943: Launched and christened, sponsored by Miss Marjorie Ward, sister of Seaman First Class Ward
  • 05 July 1943: Commissioned at Brown SB Co., Yard A, by Captain DeWitt Redgrave, USN; Lt. T. S. Dunstan, USNR, in command
  • 13 June 1946: Decommissioned at Green Cove Springs, Fla. after 2 years and 11½ months of service
  • 02 January 1971: Struck from the NVR
  • 10 April 1972: Sold for scrapping
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    J. Richard Ward

    J. Richard Ward
    54k James Richard Ward was born to Howard Joseph and Nancy Ward in Springfield, Ohio on 10 September 1921. After growing up, along with younger sister Marjorie, he enlisted in the Navy on 25 November 1940, at Cincinnati, Ohio,. After basic training, he reported aboard the battleship USS Oklahoma (BB 37) at Pearl Harbor. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on 07 December 1941, Oklahoma took three torpedoes soon after the attack began. She listed dangerously, and it was soon apparent that she would capsize. The order was given to abandon ship. As the ship was capsizing, and had been ordered abandoned, S1c Ward remained in a turret holding a flashlight, thus sacrificing his own life to permit other members of the crew to escape. For his heroism at that time, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Seaman Ward's body was never recovered. He is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing Wall at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii. A cenotaph was also placed for him in Ferncliff Cemetery in his hometown of Springfield, Ohio.

    USS J. Richard Ward (DE 243) (1943-1946) was the first ship named in his honor.

    (U.S. Navy photo #NH 92309 from the Naval History and Heritage Command)
    Bill Gonyo
    Downey, Cal.

    Assoc. Researcher
    J. Richard Ward
    202k 06 January 1943: Houston, Tex. - Miss Marjorie Ward, ship's sponsor, at the launching ceremony for the future USS J. Richard Ward (DE 243) scheduled for 10AM this Wednesday morning at the Brown Shipbuilding Co.

    (U.S. Navy National Archives photo #19-N-47818 from the Naval History and Heritage Command)
    Mike Smolinski
    Clifton, N.J.

    Navsource Archive Manager
    DE / FF / LCS Archive
    J. Richard Ward
    243k 06 January 1943: Houston, Tex. - USS J. Richard Ward (DE 243) launching at the Brown Shipbuilding Co. in Houston, Texas.

    (U.S. Navy Photo #19-N-47821 from the United States National Archives)
    Mike Green
    Port Angeles, Wash.
    J. Richard Ward
    373k 14 May 1944: Brooklyn, N.Y. - Three views of the USS J. Richard Ward (DE 243) anchored off the New York Navy Yard on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

    (U.S. Navy National Archives photo #19-N-70847, #19-N-70846, and #19-N-70848 from the Naval History and Heritage Command)
    J. Richard Ward
    J. Richard Ward
    J. Richard Ward
    373k 12 June 1944: Argentia, Newfoundland - USS J. Richard Ward (DE 243) entering Argentia Harbor. After leaving Norfolk, Va. on Wednesday, 24 May 1944, as a unit of Task Group 22.4 comprised of Tripoli (CVE 64) and Escort Division Seven, with Moore (DE 240), Keith (DE 241), J. Richard Ward, Otterstetter (DE 244), and Sloat (DE 245), they headed east and rendevoused with Convoy UC-24 (Liverpool to New York) in mid-Atlantic on 31 May. It's not known where they were detached from UC-24, but they arrived at Placencia Bay, Newfoundland on the 12th and departed for Norfolk on the 15th.

    (U.S. Navy Photo #80-G-364889 from the United States National Archives)

    J. Richard Ward History
    View the USS J. Richard Ward (DE 243) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.
    View the official War History of USS J. Richard Ward as submitted by the ship at war's end.

    J. Richard Ward's Commanding Officers
    Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler
    Dates of Command Commanding Officers
    1.) 05 Jul. 1943 14 Sep. 1943Lcdr. Thomas Stephen Dunstan, USNR (Comm. CO)
    2.) 14 Sep. 1943 26 Feb. 1944Lt./Lcdr. David A. Smith, USNR
    3.) 26 Feb. 1944 22 Jun. 1944Cmdr. John Madison Cox Jr., USNR (USNA 22) (Waycross, Ga.)
    4.) 22 Jun. 1944 06 Nov. 1945Lt./Lcdr. Earle Buckingham Seeley Jr., USNR (New Haven, Conn.)
    5.) 06 Nov. 1945 - .. Dec. 1945Lt. Richard Charles Morrall, USNR (Youngstown, Oh.)
    6.) .. Dec. 1945 - .. Mar. 1946Lt. James M. Kirkpatrick, USNR
    7.) .. Mar. 1946 13 Jun. 1946Lt.(jg) David V. Collins, USNR

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information

    Note About Contacts

    Contact information is compiled from various sources over a period of time and may, or may not, be correct. Every effort has
    been made to list the newest contact. However, our entry is only as good as the latest information that's been sent to us. We list
    only a contact for the ship if one has been sent to us. We do NOT have crew lists, rosters, or deck logs available. Please see the
    Frequently Asked Questions section on NavSource's Main Page for that information.

    Additional Resources

    Tin Can Sailors
    The U.S. Navy Memorial
    Destroyer Escort Sailors Association
    The Destroyer Escort Historical Museum
    The Destroyer History Foundation
    Tin Can Sailors Shipmate Registry - USS J. Richard Ward
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    This Page Created And Maintained By Mike Smolinski
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    by Paul R. Yarnall, All Rights Reserved.
    Page Last Updated: 05 January 2021