The USS Ballard (DD-267) served in the US Navy for over two-and-a-half decades during the early part of the 20th century, and received two battle stars for valiant service in World War II. She was named for Lieutenant Edward J. Ballard who was killed during the battle between Chesapeake and HMS Shannon in the War of 1812. Ballard was built as a Clemson-class vessel.
Ballard was laid down at Squantum, Massachusetts by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation in June 1918, launched in December, and commissioned in June 1919 with Lieutenant Commander H.M. Collier in command. Measuring 314 feet five inches in length, Ballard was armed with four 4-inch rapid-fire guns, one three-inch anti-aircraft gun, and twelve 21-inch torpedo tubes. She was driven by Curtis turbines and could travel at a cruising speed of 35 knots.
Ballard was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet and operated off Europe and in the Mediterranean from July 1919 to July 1920, before returning for duty in the United States. The Clemson-class destroyer was moved to the Pacific for fleet exercise and training, and put in reserve at San Diego, California in June 1922. In June 1940, Ballard was re-commissioned and converted to auxiliary seaplane tender AVD-10 in August, and then fully commissioned with Aircraft, Scouting Force, Pacific Fleet in January 1941.
Ballard arrived at Pearl Harbor in January 1942 and began patrol plane tender and aircraft buoy laying duties. She also served as a convoy escort and patrol ship in places like Midway, Fiji, Espiritu Santo, Guadalcanal, and New Caledonia in the South Pacific. Ballard returned to San Francisco in November 1943 and conducted plane guard duty off San Diego until May 1944.
Ballard laid aircraft buoys and tended the first patrol squadron at Saipan from June to July 1944, and then patrolled the waters around the Palau Islands from September to December. Following this service, Ballard was then assigned to plane guard duties once again at San Diego. The destroyer underwent pre-inactivation overhaul at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in October 1945, was decommissioned in December 1946, and sold for scrap in May 1946.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Ballard (DD-267)
Like most Navy ships of its era, the USS Ballard made heavy use of asbestos insulation and fireproofing. Certain jobs had the greatest chance of asbestos exposure: engineering, firefighting, and damage control carried the highest risk. Dockworkers and shipwrights that built or serviced the vessel were also potentially exposed to dangerous levels of airborne asbestos. When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they can cause serious health problems later in life, including mesothelioma cancer.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-267.
NavSource Naval History, USS Ballard (DD-267).