The Navy Destroyer Radford was commissioned in 1942 and named for Rear Admiral William Radford, who was born March 1, 1808 in Fincastle, Virginia and joined the United States Navy during 1825. He commanded the landing party from the Warren, a second-class sloop-of-war, which captured the Mexican warship Malek Adhel at Mazatlan and took part in other Pacific coast operations of the Mexican War. He was commander of the Cumberland during the Civil War, but was on board the Roanoke as a member of a Court of enquiry when the Cumberland was attacked and sunk by the CSS Virginia. Captain Radford went on to command the armored ship New Ironsides during Union attacks on Fort Fisher in December 1864 and in January 1865. He was promoted to Rear Admiral in 1866 and commanded the European squadron during 1869 and 1870. Rear Admiral Radford died in Washington D.C. on January 8,1890.