Tuesday, March 27, 2012
USS Barry (DD-248, APD-29)
Figure 1: USS Barry (DD-248) enters the water during her launching at the New York Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard at Camden, New Jersey, on 28 October 1920. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 2: USS Barry (DD-248) at anchor, circa the 1920s or 1930s. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 3: USS Barry (DD-248) photographed in March 1928. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 4: USS Barry (DD-248) in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during the late 1920s or early 1930s. Donation of Franklin Moran, 1967. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 5: USS Barry (DD-248) in San Diego harbor, California, about 1930. Ships in the right background are USS Kane (DD-235) and USS Fox (DD-234). US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 6: USS Barry (DD-248) off Gonaives, Haiti, circa the 1930s. She is dressed with flags for some special occasion. Courtesy of Donald M. McPherson, 1966. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 7: USS Barry (DD-248) nested with other destroyers in San Diego harbor, California, circa 1932-1935. Two fuel oil barges are moored alongside Barry. The airship in the distance is either USS Akron (ZRS-4) or USS Macon (ZRS-5). US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 8: USS Barry (DD-248) photographed circa the 1920s or 1930s. Several merchant vessels are in the distance. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 9: USS Barry (APD-29) off Norfolk, Virginia, 9 February 1945. Photographed by Naval Air Station Norfolk, Virginia. Official US Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 10: USS Barry (APD-29) off Norfolk, Virginia, 9 February 1945. Photographed by Naval Air Station Norfolk, Virginia. Official US Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 11: USS Barry (APD-29) off Norfolk, Virginia, 9 February 1945. Photographed by Naval Air Station Norfolk, Virginia. Note her pattern camouflage. Official US Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Named after Captain John Barry (1745-1803), one of the American naval heroes from the Revolutionary War, the 1,215-ton USS Barry (DD-248) was a Clemson class destroyer that was built by the New York Shipbuilding Company at Camden, New Jersey, and was commissioned on 28 December 1920. The ship was approximately 314 feet long and 31 feet wide, had a top speed of 35 knots, and had a crew of 122 officers and men. Barry was armed with four 4-inch guns, one 3-inch gun, depth charges, and 12 21-inch torpedo tubes.
After being commissioned, Barry was placed in reserve status for nearly a year. After that, the ship was assigned to active duty with the Atlantic Fleet in November 1921. With the exception of a deployment to the Mediterranean from 1922 to 1923, and with several months of operations in the Pacific between 1925 and 1932, Barry spent her first dozen years in the western Atlantic and the Caribbean, primarily as a unit of the Scouting Fleet. In July 1933, Barry was transferred to San Diego, California. For the rest of the decade, she was assigned to bases on both the east and west coasts of the United States.
After war began in Europe in September 1939 and the situation there gradually deteriorated in 1940, Barry was assigned to the naval defenses of the Panama Canal. She remained there until America entered the war on 7 December 1941. After that, Barry was assigned to escort and anti-submarine missions against German U-boats in the Atlantic. In early 1942, Barry escorted convoys in the Caribbean between Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Panama. She also escorted ships from Curacao to Trinidad. Later that year and throughout the first half of 1943, Barry was assigned to escort duties in the south Atlantic while based at Trinidad.
From July to November 1943, Barry was part of TG (Task Group) 21.14, a “hunter-killer” group which steamed along the north Atlantic convoy shipping lanes in search of German submarines. The group conducted two sweeps (30 July to 10 September 1943 and 28 September to 8 November 1943) during which aircraft from USS Card (CVE-11), the escort carrier attached to the group, sank eight German U-boats. Barry and the destroyer USS Goff (DD-247) rescued survivors from the destroyer USS Borie (DD-215) when she was mortally damaged and sank after ramming the German submarine U-405.
But then Barry was sent back to the United States and was converted into a high-speed transport at the Charleston Navy Yard at North Charleston, South Carolina. The conversion took place from 31 December 1943 to 17 February 1944 and the ship was re-classified APD-29. Barry left the east coast on 13 April 1944 and sailed to Mers-el-Kebir, Algeria, arriving there on 30 April. The ship and crew practiced amphibious landings until 14 August, when the ship joined the Allied invasion force for southern France. Between 15 and 20 August 1944, Barry landed troops on the islands of Levant and Port Cros, as well as on the mainland of southern France. From August to December 1944, Barry served on escort duty in the western Mediterranean and then returned to the United States, arriving at Norfolk, Virginia, on 23 December.
After a brief overhaul, Barry left Norfolk and headed south, entering the Pacific Ocean via the Panama Canal. She eventually made her way to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and arrived there on 24 March 1945. Barry underwent some additional amphibious training in the Hawaiian Islands for several weeks before being sent west to Okinawa, where she arrived on 16 May 1945. Once there, the ship performed patrol and escort duties during the occupation of that island.
On 25 May 1945, Barry was on patrol 35 miles northwest of Okinawa when two Japanese suicide planes headed straight for her. The first kamikaze was shot down by the ship’s gunners. But the second plane hit its target, striking Barry just below her bridge. Twenty-eight crewmen were wounded by the explosion and the flying shrapnel. The explosion of the plane’s gasoline tanks and the bomb it was carrying ignited fuel oil that was leaking from Barry’s ruptured oil tanks. The massive fire crept along Barry’s deck and headed towards the ship’s forward magazine. With the total loss of power and no way of putting the fires out, the commanding officer ordered the ship to be abandoned. At 1340 hours, roughly 40 minutes after Barry had been hit by the kamikaze, crewmen lowered all lifeboats and abandoned ship. As far as is known, all hands made it safely off the ship.
But then an interesting thing happened. Water that was entering the ship from some of the battle damage actually flooded the forward magazine, preventing the ship from blowing up. The fire was gradually burning itself out and at approximately 1500 hours a skeleton crew, along with men from USS Sims (APD-50) and Roper (APD-20), re-boarded the ship in an attempt to salvage it. The last of the fires were extinguished by 0630 the next day.
Barry was towed to Kerama Retto Island on 28 May but was found to be too extensively damaged to warrant repair or salvage. After being stripped of all useful guns and equipment, the ship was decommissioned on 21 June 1945. But later that same day, Barry was towed from Kerama Retto harbor and was going to be used as a decoy for other kamikazes. Evidently the plan worked, because while under tow the ship was again attacked by Japanese suicide planes and sunk, along with her escort, LSM-29. Even though just a floating hulk, Barry managed to prevent enemy kamikazes from attacking other, more valuable American targets off the coast of Okinawa that day. USS Barry received the Presidential Unit Citation as a unit of TG21.14 and four battle stars for her actions in the Atlantic and Pacific during World War II.