Medal of Honor Monday: Navy Seaman 1st Class James R. Ward

Medal of Honor Monday graphic Navy Seaman 1st Class James Richard Ward only had moments to decide what to do on the sinking USS Oklahoma during the bombing of Pearl Harbor: save himself, or do what he could to save others? Ward chose the valiant option, giving his life so his fellow sailors could escape. He earned a posthumous Medal of Honor for his gallantry, and just recently, his remains were finally accounted for and buried. A person in a sailor’s cap poses for a photo. Ward was born Sept. 10, 1921, in Springfield, Ohio, to parents Howard and Nancy Ward. He had a sister named Marjorie. According a 2014 Dayton Daily News article, as a teen, Ward, who went by the nickname Dick, did odd jobs for his neighbors to earn some cash. He played football and the trumpet, but his real love was baseball. After graduating high school in 1939, the article said Ward took a factory job before landing a minor league baseball contract with the Shelby Colonels out of North Carolina. However, the gig only lasted a month before he was replaced. Ward then worked at a steel mill for a time before enlisting in the Navy on Nov. 25, 1940. After basic training, Ward was sent to serve on the USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor on Oahu, Hawaii. Since baseball was a huge pastime for service members, he was able to join the ship’s team. Ward helped them win the Pacific Fleet championship, and he was even named top batter. Spotlight: Commemorating World War II Unfortunately, Ward would not live to see beyond the opening moments of the United States’ entry into World War II. A ship floats in the ocean. A Pivotal Decision In the early morning hours of Dec. 7, 1941, the […]

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By Donato