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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive

Lost to enemy action, 7 December 1944

USS Ward (APD-16)
USS Ward (DD-139) (1920 - 1943)
USS Ward (Destroyer #139) (1918 - 1920)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Hotel - Oscar - Yankee
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Combat Action Ribbon (retroactive) - Navy Unit Commendation
Second Row - American Defense Service Medal (with bronze star in lieu of Fleet clasp) - American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (9)
Third Row - World War II Victory Medal - Philippines Presidential Unit Citation - Philippines Liberation Medal (1)

Wickes Class Destroyer:
  • Laid Down, 15 May 1918, at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA.
  • Launched, 1 June 1918
  • Commissioned USS Ward (Destroyer#139), 24 July 1918, CDR. Milton S. Davis in command
  • Designated (DD-139) 1 July 1920
  • Decommissioned, 21 July 1926, at San Diego
  • Laid up in the Reserve Fleet at San Diego
  • Recommissioned, 15 January 1941, at Navy Destroyer Base, San Diego, CA., LCDR. Hunter Wood, Jr., USN in command
  • Converted to a High-speed Transport at Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, WA.
  • Designated (APD-16), 6 February 1943
  • During World War II USS Ward (APD-16) was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater, Commander South Pacific Force and South Pacific Area TransDiv Twenty-Two and participated in the following campaigns:

    Asiatic-Pacific Campaigns
    Campaign and Dates Campaign and Dates
    Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941 Eastern New Guinea operation
    Saidor occupation, 2 January 1944
    Consolidation of Solomon Islands
    Consolidation of southern Solomon Islands, 7 April and 16 June 1943
    Hollandia operation, 21 to 26 April and 2 to 9 May 1944
    New Georgia Group operation
    Vella Lavella occupation, 15 August 1943
    Western New Guinea operation
    Biak Island operation, 27 May 1944
    Cape Sansapor operation, 30 to 31 July 1944
    Morotai landings, 15 September 1944
    Treasury - Bougainville operation
    Treasury Island landing, 27 to 28 October 1943
    Choiseul Island diversion, 28 October 1943
    Occupation and defense of Cape Torokina, 6, 11 and 17 November 1943
    Leyte operation
    Leyte landings, 5 to 18 November 1944
    Ormoc Bay landings, 7 to 8 December 1944
    Bismarck Archipelago operation
    Cape Gloucester, New Britain, 26, 28 and 29 December 1943
    Green Island landing, 15 to 19 February 1944

  • Final Disposition, lost to enemy action, 7 December 1944, at Ormoc Bay Philippines
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 20 January 1945
  • USS Ward earned nine battles star for World War II service
    Displacement 1,060 t.
    Length 314' 5"
    Beam 31' 8"
    Draft 8' 6"
    Speed 36 kts.
    Complement 100
    Boats 4 LCP(L) landing craft
    three single 4"/50 gun mounts
    two single 40mm AA gun mounts
    five single 20mm AA gun mounts
    one depth charge track
    four depth charge projectors
    two geared turbines
    two boilers, 250psi Sat°
    single Main Reduction Gears
    two turbo-drive 60Kw 120V D.C. Ship's Service Generators
    two propellers, 24,200shp

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    Ward 197k

    James Harmon Ward was born at Hartford, Connecticut, on 25 September 1806. He became a Midshipman in the U.S. Navy in March 1823 and served during the following years on board ships in the Mediterranean, off Africa and in the West Indies. He also took a leave of absence to pursue scientific studies, was an instructor in ordnance and gunnery at the Naval School at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and authored a book on that important subject. In 1845 Lieutenant Ward became executive officer at the newly opened U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, also teaching gunnery and steam engineering there. His later scholarly endeavors including writing a textbook on naval tactics and a popular work on steam engineering.
    During the last part of the war with Mexico, Ward commanded the frigate Cumberland, and, in 1848-1850, the steam gunboat Vixen. During the next decade he had shore duty at the Washington and Philadelphia Navy Yards, was promoted to the rank of Commander, and commanded the sailing sloop of war Jamestown off Africa. At the beginning of the Civil War Commander Ward planned an expedition to relieve Fort Sumter and then was placed in charge of a small squadron operating on the Potomac River. With USS Thomas Freeborn as his flagship, Ward's force engaged the Confederates at Aquia Creek, Virginia, in late May and early June 1861. In another engagement, at Mathias Point on 27 June, Commander James H. Ward was mortally wounded while aiming Thomas Freeborn's bow gun. He was the first U.S. Navy officer killed in action during the Civil War.
    US Navy photo # NH 66717
    Bill Gonyo
    Ward 34k USS Ward (APD-16) underway, circa 1943, location unknown.
    US Navy photo
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.
    Ward 31k USS Ward (APD-16) underway, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo
    CWO3 Curt Clark, USN Ret.
    Secretary/Treasurer American APD Corporation
    Ward 100k USS Ward (APD-16) crewmen pose with their ship's battle & scoreboard soon after the Biak Invasion, circa June 1944. Nearly all of these men had served in Ward since the beginning of the war, and were present when she sank a Japanese midget submarine just outside Pearl Harbor on the morning of 7 December 1941.
    The original caption, released by Commander Seventh Fleet on 4 August 1944, reads: "Sansapor, Dutch New Guinea, falls to the Allied Forces, July 30, 1944. One might almost say - Sansapor falls to the boys from St. Paul, Minn. - as all but two of these men come from that city and the entire group has shipped together since Pearl Harbor, with the actions and results shown on their banner. As a matter of fact, they are believed to have fired the first offensive shot of the war in the Pacific, while on patrol against Japanese subs. They are L/R: (bottom row) J.L. Spratt, MM2/c; A.J. Fink, CM2/c; O.S. Ethier, MM1/c; C.W. Fenton, BM1/c; D.R. Pepin, SM1/c; J.G. LeClair; SOM2/c; F.V. Huges, SOM2/c. (Top Row) R.B. Nolde, SF1c; W.G. Grip, BM2c; H.F. Germarin, S1c; H.J. Harris, MM1c; H.K. Paynter, CMoMM; J.K. Lovsted, CMMM; W.H. Duval, CCS, (of San Diego); I.E. Holley, CSK (of Los Angeles); W.S. Lehner, SC1c; F.J. Bukrey, CM1c; and F.L. Fratta, MM1c."
    US Navy photo NH 95582, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Ward 127k USS Ward (APD-16) boarding Army troops at Maffin Bay, New Guinea, en route to the Cape Sansapor landings, 30 July 1944. Boats are Ward's LCP(R)s. Note Davits for storing landing craft.
    US National Archives photo # 80-G-255436, and US National Archives photo # 80-G-255401 US Navy photos, now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    Mike Green
    Ward 284k
    Ward 111k Army troops eating on deck aboard USS Ward (APD-16) while en route to the Cape Sansapor landings, 30 July 1944. Note compartmented metal meal trays, and rivets in deck plates.
    US National Archives photo 80-G-255440, a US Navy photo, now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    US Naval Historical Center
    Ward 271k USS Ward (APD-16) afire in Ormoc Bay, Leyte Philippine Islands, after being hit by a kamikaze, 7 December 1944.
    US National Archives photo 80-G-321975, a US Navy photo, now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    Mike Green
    Ward 77k USS Ward (APD-16) on fire after she was hit by a "Kamikaze" in Ormoc Bay, Leyte, 7 December 1944. She sank later in the day. Exactly three years earlier, on the morning of 7 December 1941, while on patrol off Pearl Harbor, Ward fired the first shot of the Pacific War.
    US National Archives photo 80-G-270773, a US Navy photo, now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    US Naval Historical Center
    O'Brien 74k USS Ward (APD-16) burning in Ormoc Bay, Leyte, Philippine Islands, after she was hit by a Kamikaze, 7 December 1944. USS O'Brien (DD-725) is fighting fires from alongside, as landing craft circle to rescue survivors. Photographed from USS Crosby (APD-17).US National Archives photo # 80-G-335685 from the collections of the US Naval History and Heritage Command. Fred Weiss
    Ward 120k USS Ward (APD-16) on 7 December 1944 seen from USS O'Brien (DD-725) after she'd been hit by a Mitsubishi G4M2 Navy Type 1 Attack Bomber Model 22 'Betty' near the waterline. The large bomber and its large bomb load exploded in the empty troop space, destroying her remaining fireroom and dooming the ship. Photo National Archives and Records Administration.
    Photo and text from "Fire From The Sky" by Robert C. Stern.
    Robert Hurst

    USS Ward (DD-139 / APD-16)
    Dictionary of American Navy Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01LCDR. Lemly, Frederick von Windegger, USN (USNA 1927) :RADM10 November 1942- 28 October 1944DD-139 / APD-16
    02LT. Farwell, Richard Edward, USNR28 October 1944 - 7 December 1945APD-16
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information
    U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation - Navy Log

    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    "The Green Dragons" Four-stack APD destroyer-transports in World War Two
    Back To The Navsource Photo Archives Main Page Back To The Amphibious Ship Type Index Back To The USS Ward (DD-139) Page Back To The High-speed Transport (APD) Photo Index
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 16 October 2020