Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Dead ship afloat

A few months ago, I had some free time while down in DC, so I decided to look in on a landmark that I've admired for a long time.
Moored on the Anacostia River is the ex-USS Barry, DD 933. She sits at a pier in the Washington Navy Yard, and she's been kept up and maintained by the Navy as a museum ship since 1984, two years after she was decommissioned following 24 years of active service, including deployments to Vietnam and to the Caribbean during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Barry, shadowing a Soviet freighter off Cuba, with a P-3 Orion overhead.

Barry in November, 2015.
Aaron of The Shekel and I were aboard her once some years ago. We even visited a couple of the "off limits to everyone except us" areas during our self-guided tour and actually didn't get tossed off when caught not once but twice. I liked those Navy guys.

She's now closed for good, and the Navy is set to tow her off for scrap, probably early this year. It's a sad end indeed to a fine and noble ship, and one that shouldn't go unheralded.

Photos taken from across the river really weren't enough to do this proud ship justice, so I drove over to the Navy Yard and made my way down pierside to take some proper last pics.

I pulled every string I could pull to get aboard for some photos but per the director of the facility: "No one will ever board her again".

Barry's forward 5" gun, with "E" for Excellence.
During one mission in Vietnam, Barry sailed up the Saigon River to support the US Army and and put over 1500 5" shells on Vietcong positions miles away.

Can any vets help with these awards?

Mk32 Torpedo launcher, port side.

Motor Whale Boat

Just visible under the canopy is the Barry's ASROC launcher.
It's identical to the one that OldAFSarge and I checked out on the USS Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. in Battleship cove this past fall.

Stern 5" gun

Flagstaff is devoid of colors now. That's sad.
With the scrapping of the Barry, only two Forrest Sherman-class destroyers will remain, both museum ships. That'd be the Edson in Bay City, MI and the Turner Joy in Bremerton, WA.

This website has probably the most comprehensive collection of Barry photos, inside and out. It's worth the click.

If I hit Wednesday's Powerball, Barry will have a new home. Failing that, she'll be enroute to the breakers' yard in short order and we'll al be that much poorer for the loss.


  1. Thanks for visiting her one more time, and thanks for the links.

    I recognize some of the radio gear, and most of the gear in the CIC.

    It's always sad to see a ship with history being scrapped, but the reality is that if it can't support itself through visitors and donations, it can't stay open.

    Most people are quite surprised when I tell them the Iowa gets NO funding from federal, state, or local government, and that we're 100% self-supporting.

    1. This ship could have been self-supporting if it wasn't in the Navy Yard, closed to most of the public since after 9/11. When people could get to it, they did by the busload.
      Our last hope is that MARAD has someone else somewhere who wants this one. She's in pristine display shape.

    2. Ahhhhh.....I missed that point.

      Thanks for clarifying it.

  2. The Barry was one of the six destroyers in our squadron (DESRON 12) "forward deployed" in Elefsis, Greece in the early '70s. I've spent time aboard when she was in active service, and had a boot camp buddy who was stationed on her during that time. I was on the USS William M. Wood (DD 715), a Gearing-class ship which later supplied a lot of equipment to the Kennedy which you recently visited, before being turned into an artificial reef (grumble, grumble).

    1. I was wondering if you had any connection to this ship and looked forward to your comment. As usual, you didn't disappoint. And thanks again for that service.

  3. The only Barry i would like to see scraped is the one in the White House.

    1. hooray! yes!
      and all his ilk with him. evil doers every one of them.

  4. Anonymous9:06 PM

    +1 Ajdshootist

  5. Scrapped or SUNK!

  6. Drat, that's an amazing ship to visit and in a great location. Be a darn pity and a shame if they scrap her.

  7. I hate to hear that. Every ship I served on in the 70's and 80's, and there were a lot of them, has been broken up, sunk as artificial reefs, or sold to the third world.

  8. Re the ribbons, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, Navy Expeditionary medal, National Defense, Armed Forces Expeditionary, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign Medal