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USS John D. Ford (DD-228)

USS John D. Ford (DD-228)

The USS John D. Ford (DD-228) served in the US Navy for over twenty years in the early 20th century. She was named for Rear Admiral John Donaldson Ford who served in the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. John D. Ford was built as a Clemson-class vessel.

Construction

John D. Ford was laid down in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by the William Cramp & Sons Ship & Engine Building Company in November 1919, launched in September 1920, and commissioned in December. Carrying a crew of 114, John D. Ford was 314 feet, five inches long and was armed with four 4-inch rapid-fire guns, one three-inch anti-aircraft gun, and twelve 21-inch torpedo tubes.

Naval History

John D. Ford conducted training operations in the Caribbean in 1921 and was deployed for permanent duty with the Asiatic Fleet in June 1922. Prior to World War II, John D. Ford was based in Manila and helped to establish temporary air bases in Japan, and protected Americans in Shanghai during the 1924 civil war in China. In March 1927, John D. Ford helped evacuate American and foreign nationals from the area.

John D. Ford remained in the region as hostilities grew between China and Japan. In July 1937, she evacuated Americans from Peiping while Japanese ships were blockading the coast, and conducted neutrality patrols in the Philippine Sea and South China Sea beginning in September 1939, when World War II broke out in Europe. John D. Ford was not damaged by the Japanese air attack on Manila Bay following the Pearl Harbor attack, and patrolled the Sulu Sea and Makassar Straight through December.

In January 1942, John D. Ford participated in a surprise attack on Japanese shipping off Balikpapan, Indonesia, and succeeding in sinking one of four sunken enemy ships. John D. Ford engaged enemy destroyers again during the Japanese invasion of Bali, and took part in the Battle of the Java Sea in February.

John D. Ford operated as a convoy escort along the Australian coast, and then between Pearl Harbor and San Francisco from June 1942 until May 1943. She hunted German U-boats in the Atlantic and succeeded in destroying U-554 in January 1944. John D. Ford also escorted convoys to the Mediterranean and to the Panama Canal Zone, and then was converted to miscellaneous auxiliary AG-119 in July 1945. She was decommissioned at Norfolk, Virginia in November and sold for scrap to the Northern Metals Company in October 1947.

Asbestos Risk on the USS John D. Ford (DD-228)

The installation of asbestos insulation in the construction of naval ships was ordered by law in the United States in the early 1930s, after a deadly fire aboard a luxury liner resulted in enormous loss of life. Vessels like John D. Ford used asbestos insulation heavily in engines and engineering rooms, as well as to insulate compartments in the other sections of the vessel. If asbestos-containing material is worn or damaged it can become "friable", which means that individual fibers can be broken off and enter the air, where they are inhaled or ingested by crewmen and repair workers, potentially leading to the development of mesothelioma.

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Sources

Sources

Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-228. (http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd228txt.htm) Retrieved 29 December 2010.

NavSource Naval History, USS John D. Ford (DD-228).
(http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/228.htm) Retrieved 29 December 2010.

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