William Radford -- born in Fincastle, Va., on 1 March 1808 -- 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 to rear admiral in 1866, he commanded the European squadron during 1869 and 1870. Rear Adm. Radford died at Washington, D.C., on 8 January 1890.
(Destroyer No. 120: displacement 1,090; length 314'5"; beam 31'8"; draft 9'9"; speed 35 knots; complement 142; armament 4 4-inch, 2 3-inch, 12 21-inch torpedo tubes; class Wickes)
The unnamed Destroyer No. 120 was laid down on 2 October 1917 at Newport News, Va., by the Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co.; named Radford on 28 March 1918 in General Order No. 378; launched on 5 April 1918; sponsored by Miss Mary Lovell Radford; accepted by the Navy on 28 September 1918; and commissioned on 30 September 1918 at the Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Va., Lt. Cmdr. Arthur S. Carpender in command.
Assigned to the Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet, Radford departed Norfolk on 12 October on a shakedown cruise to Melville, R.I. She returned to Hampton Roads on 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 on 14 January 1919. While based at Guantanamo Bay, she also cruised to Guacanayabo Bay and Santiago, Cuba, before returning north on 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 on 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, Vallejo, Calif., as well as the California ports of 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, Ore., in December 1920. Designated DD-120 on 17 July 1920, Radford was decommissioned on 9 June 1922 and remained in reserve at San Diego for almost 15 years.
Her designation changed to a mobile target, Radford was reclassified from DD-120 to AG-22 on 16 April 1932. Conversion work, however, was never undertaken and Radford reverted to DD-120 on 27 June 1932.
Stricken from the Naval Register on 19 May 1936, ex-Radford was sunk on 5 August 1936 in accordance with the provisions of the London Treaty for the limitation and reduction of naval armament.
Revised, 31 July 2017