Born in Shelbyville, Tenn., 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, N. C.


(DD-363: dp. 1825; l. 381'1"; b. 36'11", dr. 17'9"; s. 35 k.; cpl. 294; a. 8 5", 12 21" TT.; cl. Porter)

The second Balch -(DD-363) was launched 24 March 1936 by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., Quincy, Mass.; 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 R. I., 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 1941} 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.