Rear Adm. William Radford was born in Fincastle, Va., 1 March 1808 and entered the U.S. Navy during 1825. He commanded the landing party from Warren which captured the Mexican warship Malek Adhel at Mazatlan and took part in other Pacific coast operations of the Mexican War. During the Civil War, he commanded the ill-fated Cumberland but was on board the frigate Roanoke as a member of a Court of enquiry when his ship was attacked by the Confederate casemate ram Virginia. Captain Radford subsequently commanded the armored ship New Ironsides during Union attacks on Fort Fisher in December 1864 and in January 1865. Promoted rear admiral in 1866, he commanded the European squadron during 1869 and 1870. Rear Adm. Radford died at Washington, D.C., 8 January 1890.
(Destroyer No. 120: displacement 1,090; length 314’5”; beam 31’8”; draft 9’9¾”; speed 35 knots; complement 142; armament 4 4”, 2 3”, 12 21” torpedo tubes; class Wickes)
The first Radford, a steel, flush-deck-type destroyer, was launched 5 April 1918 by Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Newport News, Va.; sponsored by Miss Mary Lovell Radford; and commissioned 30 September 1918 at Norfolk Navy Yard, Lt. Comdr. Arthur S. Carpenter in command.
Assigned to the Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet, Radford departed Norfolk 12 October on a shakedown cruise to Melville, R.I. She returned to Hampton Roads 21 October 1918 to join the escort force for the Newport News section of Troop Convoy 76 bound for New York and European waters.
Radford subsequently operated on the U.S. east coast into 1919, sailing southward to Cuba 14 January 1919. While based at Guantanamo Bay, she also cruised to Guacanayabo Bay and Santiago, Cuba, before returning north 13 March 1919. Radford operated from Hampton Roads with the Atlantic Fleet from March until July 1919.
Radford was reassigned to the Pacific Fleet in July 1919 and cleared Hampton Roads 19 July for Balboa, C.Z., and San Diego. Upon her arrival at San Diego 7 August, she joined the Destroyer Force, Pacific Fleet. Radford operated from Mare Island Navy Yard, San Diego, and San Pedro into 1922, taking part in training exercises and squadron maneuvers as a unit of Division 12, Squadron 10, Destroyer Flotilla 4. She called at Seattle, Tacoma, and Bellingham, Wash., during September 1919, and at Portland, Oregon., in December 1920. Designated DD-120 in July 1920, Radford decommissioned 9 June 1922 and remained in reserve at San Diego for almost 15 years.
Radford was reclassified AG-22 on 16 April 1932 following the decision to convert her to a mobile target vessel. Conversion work was never undertaken and Radford reverted to DD-120 on 27 June 1932. Struck from the Navy list 19 May 1936, Radford was sunk 5 August 1936 in accordance with the provisions of the London Treaty for the limitation and reduction of naval armament.
07 September 2004