USS Barry (DD-933)
The USS Barry DD-933 destroyer operated with US naval forces throughout the bulk of the Cold War years, ending her reign as a museum ship in Washington D.C.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
The Forrest Sherman-class of destroyers was established in 1955 and became a warship group of eighteen-strong led by the USS Forrest Sherman (DD-931). The types were conventionally-powered vessels intended to counter a variety of threats anticipated during the West's "Cold War" with the Soviet Union. The enemy would have utilized attack submarines, aircraft and other surface warships during an all-out war and, as such, then-modern destroyers were properly outfitted with a plethora of weapon options to suit the threat. In this way, American destroyers were capable of engaging aerial, surface and undersea threats as well as supporting offshore actions during amphibious assaults or protecting components of the main fleet. These ship types were constructed in such a way to allow them to operate independently or as part of a larger force, in deep or coastal waters. In addition to their multi-layered armament, destroyers possessed favorable speed to meet with potential threats or escape imminent danger.
The third ship in the class became the USS Barry (DD-933), named after American Revolutionary War hero Commodore John Barry, often cited as the "father of the American Navy". Barry served in the Continental Navy, forerunner to the modern USN and took part in several notable battles of the war that led to American independence. His name eventually graced the hull of no fewer than four American warships including the all-modern Arleigh Burke-class USS John Barry (DDG-52) currently in active service (2013).
USS Barry (DD-933) was ordered on December 15th, 1952 as America was fully committed to the Korean War (1950-1953). She saw her keel laid down by Bath Iron Works (Bath, Maine USA) on March 15th, 1954 to which the hull was launched to sea on October 1st, 1955 by which time the Korean War has ended in a loose armistice. The USN officially acquired the vessel on August 31st, 1956 and commissioned it in September 7th, 1956.
As a destroyer-type vessel, Barry was a compact ship built with speed in mind. Her design was still rather conventional, incorporating an unobstructed forecastle mounting one forward deck gun, a superstructure at amidships and a stern deck gun (no helicopter deck was present). Two smoke funnels completed her side profile as did a pair of high-reaching masts - the forward mounting of a complicated lattice structure and the lower, aft mast of a tripod arrangement. The bridge was set aft of the forward gun (identified by its large windows) and near the top of the superstructure, providing a good view over the bow and to the forward sides of the ship. The helm was situated at the center of the bridge with the captain residing off to the left. He was given a forward cabin to remain near the bridge. A darkened actions room was attached to the rear of the bridge holding sensitive electronics, equipment and specialists to monitor them. The vessel held living quarters for its crew of 337 that included 22 officers and 315 enlisted. Power was served through 4 x 1,200lb boilers feeding 2 x steam turbines driving 2 x shafts at the stern. Maximum speed was 32 knots while displacement measured 4,000lbs under full load.
Barry undertook her shakedown cruise in 1956, managing stops at ports across the Caribbean. In February of 1957, she passed through the Panama Canal and conducted several good will stops across Latin and South America. In June, she was assigned to begin her first European venture before returning stateside. Once back in European waters (the Mediterranean), Barry was assigned with other USN vessels offshore of Lebanon to stabilize growing unrest there. She then returned to the United States by the middle of 1960.
USS Barry was one of the ships called by President John F. Kennedy to enact a naval blockade (the "Cuban Quarantine") of the island nation of Cuba, a communist hold just miles from American shores and actively supported by the Soviet Union. This took place during the critical "Cuban Missile Crisis" that nearly brought both world powers to nuclear war. The Barry joined her contemporaries in the action of October 1962. The situation was ultimately diffused and led to all of the Soviet Union's parked nuclear missiles removed from the island which, in turn, forced the United States to remove some of its missiles from allied nations bordering the Soviet Empire.
The USS Barry was one of the many US naval surface vessels taking part in the actions concerning the Vietnam War (1955-1975). Barry used her guns in anger during shore bombardment of enemy positions in the Mekong Delta. Her guns were then used in support of "Operation Double Eagle" near Quang Ngi which became the largest amphibious operation since the landings at Inchon during the Korean War (1950-1953). Barry's guns eventually fired some 2,500 shells against enemy positions, credited with destroyer about 1,000 enemy fortifications during the fighting. From the period of September 1965 to January 1967, the USS Barry covered some 55,000 miles at sea, proving her a well-traveled, combat veteran which netted her Vietnam service two Battle Stars. 1966 saw her become the first USN vessel to be outfitted with the Mk 86 Fire Control System (FCS), a digitally-assisted, gun-firing system intended to improve base accuracy at range. Barry completed her Vietnam tour on February 15th when she headed for Hong Kong.
In 1967, the USS Barry was given a major modernization that increased her Anti-Submarine Warfare prowess. This included integration of a Variable Depth Sonar (VDS) to aid in search and tracking of enemy submarines. Additionally, her deck was now graced with the "ASROC" kit (Anti-Submarine Rocket Launcher), a rocket-assisted torpedo projector developed exclusively for countering enemy submarines at range. The system coupled a subsonic rocket motor (using solid propellant) to a conventional submarine-hunting (inertial guidance) homing torpedo. The launcher carried eight individual launch cells and sat atop a trainable base (offering traversal and elevation) for engagement across many angles of the ship.
Barry functioned in an active status within the United States Navy inventory until decommissioned on November 5th, 1982 - her having spanned 26 years and covering hundreds of thousands of miles in which she took part in one major American war and supported various other actions as needed. Less than a week later, Barry ended up at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard before finding her final home at the Washington Naval Yard in 1984. The Washington Naval Yard accepted her as a permanent exhibit attached to the US Navy Memorial Museum of Washington D.C. As such, the third USS Barry (DD-933) continues as an active floating relic as part of the impressive collection of on-site exhibits housed by the United States Navy at Washington Navy Yard.