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USS Aaron Ward (DD-132): Wikis


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USS Aaron Ward (DD-132).jpg
Career (US)
Name: USS Aaron Ward (DD-132)
Namesake: Aaron Ward
Builder: Bath Iron Works
Laid down: 11 August 1918
Launched: 10 April 1919
Commissioned: 21 April 1919
Decommissioned: 9 September 1940
Struck: 8 January 1941
Fate: Transferred to UK, 9 September 1940
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Castleton
Acquired: 9 September 1940
Fate: Scrapped, 1947
General characteristics
Class and type: Wickes class destroyer
Displacement: 1,090 tons
Length: 314 ft 4 in (95.81 m)
Beam: 30 ft 6 in (9.3 m)
Draft: 8 ft 8 in (2.64 m)
Speed: 35 knots (65 km/h)
Complement: 159 officers and enlisted
Armament: 4 x 4 in (102 mm) (4x1)
1 x 3 in (76 mm)
12 x 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes (4x3)

The first ship named USS Aaron Ward (DD-132) in honor of Rear Admiral Aaron Ward was a Wickes-class destroyer in the service of the United States Navy.

She was laid down on 1 August 1918 at Bath, Maine by the Bath Iron Works, launched on 10 April 1919, sponsored by Mrs. Washington Lee Capps, the daughter of Admiral Ward and the wife of Rear Admiral Capps, and commissioned on 21 April 1919 with CDR Raymond A. Spruance in command.

In 1940, she was commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Castleton.


Service with United States Navy

Upon commissioning, the destroyer reported for duty with Division 13, Squadron 2, Atlantic Fleet. She performed her first significant service for the Navy at Trepassy Bay in May 1919 when she served as one of the pickets for the transatlantic flight attempt by three Navy-Curtiss flying boats. One of the boats, NC-4, completed the flight successfully. Aaron Ward continued to serve with Atlantic Fleet until September, at which time she was transferred to the Pacific. Her first assignment there consisted of a month of salvage operations in Angeles Bay, Mexico, to recover a sunken Army plane and the bodies of its crew. At the conclusion of that mission, she began training operations with the Battle Fleet. On 17 July 1920, the Navy adopted the alphanumeric system of hull designations, and Aaron Ward became DD-132 (before this, she had been Destroyer No. 132). Her work with Battle Fleet was interrupted early in 1921 by two rescue missions near the Panama Canal Zone. Between January and March of that year, she cruised the waters along the coast of the Canal Zone searching for the flying boat, NC-6, which had crashed in the vicinity. In February, she turned from that mission to pursue another errand of mercy, the rescue of survivors from USS Woolsey (DD-77), which had sunk after a collision with the merchant vessel SS Steel Inventor on 26 February. Aaron Ward resumed normal duty with the Battle Fleet in March 1921, and continued that duty until she was decommissioned on 17 June 1922 and berthed with the Reserve Fleet at San Diego, California.

The destroyer remained inactive for almost eight years, and then was recommissioned at San Diego on 24 May 1930. After active service until mid-1932, she entered the Rotating Reserve in which she alternated active periods at sea with intervals of inactivity at pierside with a minimal crew embarked. The ship continued in that status until December 1934 when she returned to full activity. On 1 April 1937, the destroyer once more was placed out of commission and returned to the Reserve Fleet. On 30 September 1939, Aaron Ward came out of reserve for the final time. Recommissioned on that day — in response to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's establishment of the Neutrality Patrol following the outbreak of war in Europe at the beginning of the month — she became flagship of Destroyer Division 65, Pacific Fleet. In December, she was transferred to the Atlantic Fleet and, on the 11th, arrived at Key West, Florida. For the remainder of her United States Navy career, she conducted neutrality patrols in the Gulf of Mexico and in the West Indies.

Transfer to Royal Navy

On 9 September 1940, Aaron Ward was decommissioned at Halifax, Nova Scotia. Transferred to Britain as one of the fifty over-age destroyers leased to that nation in return for the right to establish American bases on British possessions in the western hemisphere, she was commissioned in the Royal Navy that same day as HMS Castleton. Castleton was modified for trade convoy escort service by removal of three of the original 4"/50 caliber guns and one of the triple torpedo tube mounts to reduce topside weight for additional depth charge stowage and installation of hedgehog.[1]

See also


  1. ^ Lenton&Colledge (1968) p.90


External links



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