USS Ballard, DD-267/ AVD-10)

USS Ballard (DD-267/ AVD-10) was a Clemson class destroyer that served as a seaplane tender in the Pacific from 1942 to 1944, taking part in the invasion of Saipan and the battle of the Philippines Sea.

The Ballard was named after Edward J. Ballard, a junior officer on the Chesapeake who was killed during her battle with HMS Shannon on 1 June 1813.

The Ballard was launched on 7 December 1918 by the Bethlehem Steel Corp., Squantum, Mass and sponsored by Miss Eloise Ballard. She was commissioned on 5 June 1919 and allocated to the Atlantic Fleet.

In July 1919 the Ballard departed for European waters. She spent the next year visiting ports around Europe and the Mediterranean before returning to the United States in July 1920. After her return she served with the Atlantic Fleet, before moving to the Pacific. She took part in type training, getting sailors used to the Clemson class, and in at least one fleet manoeuvre, before she was decommissioned into the reserve at San Diego on 17 June 1922.

Second World War

USS Ballard (DD-267) in European Waters, 1920 USS Ballard (DD-267) in European Waters, 1920

The Ballard was recommissioned in ordinary on 25 June 1940 and towed to Bethlehem Steel’s Union Yard at San Francisco, where she was converted into an auxiliary seaplane tender. She was reclassified as AVD-10 on 2 August 1940 and fully recommissioned on 2 January 1941. She was then allocated to the Scouting Force of the Pacific Fleet.

During the conversion she was given an enlarged forward deckhouse, 3”/50 dual purpose guns on her forecastle and aft deckhouse and four .50in caliber machine guns on top of the amidships deckhouse.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the Ballard was sent there, arriving at Pearl on 28 January 1942. For most of the next two years she was used to support patrol planes, escort convoys, lay aircraft buoys and on general patrol duties in the south Pacific, serving at Phoenix, Midway, Fiji, Espiritu Santo, Guadalcanal and New Caledonia.

The Ballard wasn’t directly involved in the battle of Midway (4-7 June 1942), but she was nearby. She was posted at French Frigate Shoals before the battle, thus preventing the Japanese from using the shoals as a base for a flying boat reconnaissance of Pearl Harbor. She was posted there alongside the Thornton (AVD-11), Clark (DD-361) and the tanker Kaloli (AOG-13) originally to act as rescue ships for long range reconnaissance aircraft.

On 17 June the Ballard rescued 35 Japanese survivors from the Hiryu, who had been trapped in the engineering spaces when the original order to abandon ship was made, but had then escaped and left the carrier on a cutter.  The original group of 39 had been led by Commander Aimune Kunize. Four men died during the voyage, and one after being rescued, bringing the number of survivors down to 34.

USS Ballard (AVD-10), Mare Island, 1942
USS Ballard (AVD-10),
Mare Island, 1942

At the start of July the Ballard, along with the Laffey (DD-459) and San Francisco (CA-38) escorted Convoy 4120 from Pearl Harbor to Fiji,

In September 1942 she operated from Vanikoro Island in the Santa Cruz Islands. From 10-14 September she was guarded by USS Aylwin (DD-355) because of an increased threat from Japanese submarines.

On 13 November 1942 the cruiser USS Juneau (CL-52) was badly damaged by aircraft and then sunk by a torpedo fired by I-26 while attempting to reach safety (Naval battle of Guadalcanal). A sizable rescue effort was mounted to try and find any survivors. On 18 November some of the survivors were sighted, and on 20 November the Ballard was dispatched to find them. Later that day she rescued Allen Clifton Heyn and Arthur T Friend, the last two survivors to be rescued from the sea.

The Ballard returned to San Francisco on 7 November 1943 for repairs that lasted until 30 December 1943. She was then used as a plane guard during aircraft carrier qualification operations off San Diego. This duty lasted until May 1944. This included periods operating with the Kitkun Bay (CVE-71) in March 1944.

The Ballard was then sent to the war zone, taking part in the invasion of Saipan. She arrived off Saipan on 15 June, and remained in the area until 3 July. On 17 June 1944 six PBM Mariner flying boats from VP-16 arrived at Saipan from Eniwetok. They were tended by the Ballard, and gave the fleet eyes that could reach out to 600 miles. Early on 19 June one of her PBMs actually found the Japanese fleet, but its radio message wasn’t received back at the fleet and a chance to strike an early blow against the Japanese carriers was missed. After the battle of the Philippine Sea was over the PBMs were used to try and find the American airmen who had been unable to get back to the fleet after the risky long range attack that ended the battle.

The Ballard was next used on patrol duties during the invasion of the Palau Islands, serving there from 12 September-11 December 1944. This was her last combat operation.

In late December 1944 the Ballard began a final period of repairs at Seattle. Once this was complete she was allocated to plane guard duties off San Diego, performing that role until 1 October 1945. She then moved to Philadelphia, arriving on 26 October 1945. She was decommissioned on 5 December 1945 and sold on 23 May 1946.

Ballard received two battle stars for her service during World War II, for the invasion of Saipan and and invasion of the southern Palau Islands.

Displacement (standard)

1,190t

Displacement (loaded)

1,308t

Top Speed

35kts
35.51kts at 24,890shp at 1,107t on trial (Preble)

Engine

2-shaft Westinghouse geared tubines
4 boilers
27,000shp (design)

Range

2,500nm at 20kts (design)

Length

314ft 4in

Width

30ft 10.5in

Armaments

Four 4in/ 50 guns
One 3in/23 AA gun
Twelve 21in torpedoes in four triple mountings
Two depth charge tracks
One Y-Gun depth charge projector

Crew complement

114

Launched

7 December 1918

Commissioned

5 June 1919

Sold

23 May 1946

U.S. Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History, Norman Friedmann . The standard history of the development of American destroyers, from the earliest torpedo boat destroyers to the post-war fleet, and covering the massive classes of destroyers built for both World Wars. Gives the reader a good understanding of the debates that surrounded each class of destroyer and led to their individual features.
cover cover cover

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (9 March 2020), USS Ballard, DD-267/ AVD-10) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_USS_Ballard_DD267_AVD10.html

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