Although the ship was not damaged by the Japanese forces, Monterey was one of several ships damaged by the typhoon, which hit Admiral Halsey's Third Fleet on 18-19 December 1944. The Third Fleet lost three destroyers and over 800 men during the typhoon. Monterey was damaged by a fire which was started by several of the ship's aircarft tearing loose from their cables and colliding during the storm. During the storm, Ford narrowly missed being a casualty himself. As Ford headed for his battle station on the bridge of the ship in the early morning of 18 December, the ship rolled twenty-five degrees which caused Ford to lose his footing and slide toward the edge of the deck. The two inch steel ridge around the edge of the carrier slowed him enough so he could roll and twist into the catwalk below the deck. As he later stated, "I was lucky; I could have easily gone overboard."
After the fire, Monterey was declared unfit for service and the crippled carrier reached Ulithi on 21 December before preceding across the Pacific to Bremerton, Washington, where it underwent repairs. On Christmas Eve 1944 at Ulithi, Ford was detached from the ship and sent to the Navy Pre-Flight School, St. Mary's College, California, where he was assigned to the Athletic Department until April 1945. One of his duties was to coach football. From the end of April 1945 to January 1946, he was on the staff of the Naval Reserve Training Command, Naval Air Station, Glenview, Illinois, as the Staff Physical and Military Training Officer. On 3 October 1945, he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander. In January 1946, he was sent to the Separation Center, Great Lakes, Illinois, to be outprocessed. He was released from active duty under honorable conditions on 23 February 1946. On 28 June 1963, the Secretary of the Navy accepted Ford's resignation from the Naval Reserve. Returning to Grand Rapids after the war, Ford resumed law practice.