USS Ward (Destroyer # 139, later DD-139 and APD-16), 1918-1944
The USS Ward, a 1247-ton Wickes class destroyer, was built at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California in 1918. As fate would have it, she would be bound for destiny. Built during World War I, her construction time was sped up due to the need for destroyers. With her keel laid on May 15, 1918, she was commissioned only two months later. Serving in both the Atlantic and Pacific, she was decommissioned and moth-balled in 1921.
With Europe in turmoil at the beginning of World War II, the Ward was recommissioned and sent to Pearl Harbor in January of 1941. Patrolling the local waters of the Hawaiian base, the officers and crew had little idea of the events that lay in their future. On the morning of December 7, 1941, the Ward was again on patrol, this time at the entrance of Pearl Harbor. Encountering an IJN two man submarine, the Ward and her crew attacked, putting a round through the small sub’s conning tower and thus firing the first shots of the war in the Pacific.
1942 found the heroic Ward bound for the West coast for a major overhaul converting the aged warrior into a high speed transport. In 1943, the Ward, now designated APD-16, set out to the South Pacific where she operated with the U.S. forces in the Solomon Islands area. Upon arriving, she helped fight off a heavy Japanese air attack off Tulagi on April 7, 1943 and spent most of the rest of that year on escort and transport service. In December of that same year, the Ward found herself participating in the invasion of Cape Gloucester.
The USS Ward saw much of the same action in 1944. She took part in several Southwest Pacific amphibious landings, among them the assaults on Saidor, Nissan Island, Emirau, Aitape, Biak, Cape Sansapor and Morotai. Just as she had on Dec. 7, 1941, the Ward and her crew were fighting with bravery and honor. The upcoming invasion of Leyte will prove no different. It is here that the Ward would meet it’s demise.
On the morning of December 7, 1944, the USS Ward, after landing troops on Dinagat Island and escorting ships for the last two months, was patrolling the waters off the invasion area. It was then that several Japanese aircraft attacked, with one crashing into the Ward’s hull amidships, bringing the ship to a stop. The ship was ablaze and the crew fought valiantly to extinguish them. When the fires could no longer be controlled, the crew of the brave little USS Ward abandoned ship. The USS O’Brien was ordered to fire upon the burning hulk and send her to the bottom. The skipper charged with this solemn task was no other than William W. Outerbridge. It was Outerbridge that commanded the Ward at the entrance of Pearl Harbor three years to the day earlier. December 7, 1944, the storied history of the brave ship that fired the first shot of the Pacific War came to an end.
The USS Ward was named in honor of Commander James H. Ward, USN, (1806-1861), the first U.S. Navy officer to be killed in action during the Civil War.
The box, and what's inside...
The kit comes in a medium weight, open lidded style box with a line drawing of the Ward decorating the lid. Inside the box you will find two resealable bags, one with the photo etch fret, the other with white metal fittings and a surprise part. More on this later. Also in the box is the waterline hull cast complete with superstructure and stacks, a plastic sprue containing the kit’s small weapons, the decal sheet and the instructions.
The waterline hull
comes cast with the superstructure and stacks, leaving on the ship’s masts, weapons and small boats left to complete the kit.
gives you all the parts for the ships small boats and davits, the life rafts, search lights and the ship’s small caliber weapons. There are plenty of leftovers for the spares box when you are done.
White Metal Details
include four triple torpedo tubes, four 4”/50 cal deck guns, one equipped with a shield, and a……1/700 scale Japanese Midget Submarine
! That’s right. Here’s your change to build a diorama of the first shot fired in the Pacific War.
The brass photo-etch
fret includes ship railings, K-gun racks, stern depth charge racks, search light tower, anchor and chain, small caliber weapons and even the crew! Also included is a small length of brass rod for the masts.
The kits decal sheet
is a standard sheet produced by Midship Models. It contains both peacetime and wartime hull numbers, enough for any ship, and signal flags.
The instruction sheet is two pages printed front and back and stapled together.
If you regularly build the 1/700 larger combatants, you will be surprised at how small this kit is. But there is a lot of detail packed in this small package. The single piece hull and superstructure along with the minimum about of photo etch make this a great candidate for a modeler wanting to build his or her first resin ship.
The molding is crisp and clean with very little clean up to do on the bottom of the hull. The added bonus of the midget submarine is also a plus for those wanting to tackle a watery diorama for the first time.
Navy historical Center