Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Ward, James Richard

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Seaman First Class, USN, (1921-1941)

Seaman First Class James Richard Ward, USN, (1921-1941)


James Richard Ward was born in Springfield, Ohio, on 10 September 1921. He enlisted in the Navy at Cincinnati, Ohio, in November 1940. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, Ward was serving in the battleship Oklahoma. As that ship was capsizing, and had been ordered abandoned, he 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.


The escort ship USS J. Richard Ward (DE-243), 1943-1972, was named in honor of Seaman First Class Ward.


This page features our only view of Seaman First Class James Richard Ward, USN.