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Hull Number: DD-363

Launch Date: 03/24/1936

Commissioned Date: 10/20/1936

Decommissioned Date: 10/19/1945



Data for USS Selfridge (DD-357) as of 1945

Length Overall: 381' 1"

Beam: 36' 11"

Draft: 13' 9"

Standard Displacement: 1,850 tons

Full Load Displacement: 2,840 tons

Fuel capacity: 4,061 barrels


Five 5″/38 caliber guns
Two 40mm twin anti-aircraft mounts
One 40mm quadruple anti-aircraft mounts
Two 21″ quadruple torpedo tubes


16 Officers
278 Enlisted


4 Boilers
2 New York Shipbuilding Turbines: 50,000 horsepowe

Highest speed on trials: 36.4 knots



Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (Published 1959)

Born in Shelbyville, TN, 3 January 1821, George Beall Balch was appointed Acting Midshipman in 1837. He served in the Mexican War and was executive officer of Plymouth during Commodore M. C. Perry’s expedition to Japan. During the Civil War he took part in many engagements. Rear Admiral Balch served as superintendent of the Naval Academy (1879-81) and for a short period commanded the Pacific Fleet. He retired in January 1883 and died 16 April 1908 at Raleigh, NC.



USS BALCH DD-363 Ship History

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (Published 1959)

The second Balch (DD-363) was launched 24 March 1936 by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., Quincy, MA; sponsored by Miss Gertrude Balch, granddaughter of Admiral Balch; and commissioned 20 October 1936, Commander T. C. Latimore in command.

After her commissioning Balch operated for a period under the Chief of Naval Operations. She departed Newport, RI, for the Pacific in October 1937 and, upon arrival at San Diego she joined Destroyer Division 7, Battle Force. Thereafter as flagship of Destroyer Squadron 12, and later of Destroyer Squadron 6, she participated in fleet training, cruises, and battle problems in the Pacific and Haitian-Caribbean area. After participating in Fleet Problem XXI at Pearl Harbor, Balch steamed to Mare Island Navy Yard where she underwent a yard period in the spring of 1940. Upon the completion of her yard period, she made six cruises alternately between the Hawaiian Islands and the West Coast (August 1940-December 1941).

On 1 December 1941 Balch put to sea as a unit of TF 8 and remained with the Task Force after the Pearl Harbor attack. She cruised in the Pacific during the early months of the war and participated in the bombardment of Taroa Island, Marshall Islands (1 February 1942). Between February 1942 and June 1944, Balch performed widespread screening, patrolling, and fire support duties during the Wake Island raid (24 February 1942); the decisive Battle of Midway (4-7 June), during which she rescued 545 survivors of Yorktown (CV-5); Guadalcanal landings (7-30 August); Attu invasion (11 May-2 June 1943; Toem-Wakde-Sarmi landings (25-28 May 1944) and Biak Island invasion (28 May-18 June).

On 15 July 1944 Balch arrived at New York. Between 2 August 1944 and 23 May 1945 she completed five trans-Atlantic convoy escort crossings to various North African ports. On 16 June 1945 she commenced her pre-inactivation overhaul at Philadelphia; was decommissioned 19 October 1945; and scrapped in 1946.

Balch received six battle stars for her Pacific service during World War II.

USS BALCH DD-363 Ship History

The Tin Can Sailor, October 1996

USS BALCH was the last of the PORTER-class flotilla leaders to be built by Bethlehem’s Quincy yard. She was laid down on May 16, 1934 and launched in March of 1936. Her commissioning followed eight months later.

DD-363 was the second vessel to be named for George Beall Balch, a Rear Admiral who had served both as Superintendent of the Naval Academy and commander of the Pacific fleet during almost fifty years of service.

USS BALCH began her Navy career assigned to the Chief of Naval Operations. For almost a year, the new destroyer trained extensively, perfecting her skills while naval tacticians reviewed the potential of the new class. Finally, BALCH was reassigned to the Pacific fleet.

As part of the Battle Force, United States Pacific Fleet, DD-363 served as the flagship of DESRON 12 and later, DESRON 6. A busy schedule of training cruises and fleet exercises occupied the big leader in the years before World War II.

Assigned to Task Force 8 prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the destroyer was on duty, screening her charges far from the base when the surprise attack hit.

American naval forces were spread thin in the early months of the war, so DD-363 found herself ranging the Pacific, blocking enemy moves and harassing Japanese troop concentrations. BALCH’s service record reads like an outline of the Pacific conflict. She blasted Japanese installations in the Marshals, screened carriers in a raid on Wake Island, and rescued 545 survivors from the YORKTOWN (CV-5) when the mighty flaftop finally succumbed to her multitude of wounds after the battle of Midway. DD-363 was seen off Guadalcanal in the South Pacific and Attu and Kiska in the cold waters of the Aleutians. She dashed back thousands of miles to lend her accurate gunfire to the landings on the north coast of New Guinea.

BALCH was transferred to Atlantic operations in the summer of 1944. The flotilla leader completed five convoy assignments, protecting supply ships on the North African run.

Reassigned to the Philadelphia Navy Yard for an extensive overhaul, the destroyer was subsequently deactivated. BALCH was decommissioned on October 19, 1945 and scrapped in 1946.