Naval History and Heritage Command

National Museum of the U.S. Navy

USS Ward (Destroyer #139, later DD-139, and APD-16)

The Wickes-class destroyer, USS Ward (Destroyer #139) was quickly built at Mare Island Navy Yard, California, for World War I.   Following her service in the Atlantic, she supported the trans-Atlantic flight of the NC flying boats in May 1919.  In July 1920, Ward received the hull number DD-139.  Decommissioned in 1921, she was recommissioned after twenty years after the outbreak of World War II and was sent to Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, in 1941.   On December 7, Ward was patrolling off the entrance to Pearl Harbor when she encountered, attacked, and sank a Japanese Midget Submarine, which were the first shots of the Pacific War.  Converted to a high-speed transport, she was redesignated APD-16 in February 1943 and was sent for war service again in the Pacific.   During the landings at Ormoc Bay on December 7, 1944, Japanese aircraft, along with a suicide bomber, attacked Ward, damaging her to the point of abandoning ship.    She was sunk by gunfire by USS O'Brien (DD-725), commanded by Commander William W. Outerbridge, who had commanded Ward during the attack on Pearl Harbor three years prior. 

Image:  NH 92694:  USS Ward (Destroyer #139) running speed trials off California, September 1918.  NHHC Photograph Collection.