Home » News & Analysis » Washington Navy Yard to Dismantle Display Ship Barry By Next Summer, No Plans for Replacement


Washington Navy Yard to Dismantle Display Ship Barry By Next Summer, No Plans for Replacement

 The Pride of Baltimore II hosts visitors while at anchor next to Washington Navy Yard's display ship Barry on Washington D.C.'s Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. US Navy Photo

The Pride of Baltimore II hosts visitors while at anchor next to Washington Navy Yard’s display ship Barry on Washington D.C.’s Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. US Navy Photo

This story has been updated to include new information from the Naval Support Activity Washington regarding the status of the display ship Barry in its pier and its ability to be towed away.

The Navy will remove the display ship Barry from Washington Navy Yard by next summer to avoid the ship becoming landlocked, and for now there are no plans to replace the decommissioned destroyer with another platform to draw visitors, the commanding officer of Naval Support Activity Washington told USNI News.

The former-USS Barry (DD-933) has been docked at Navy Yard since May 1983 and has not been to a dry dock for maintenance since its 1982 decommissioning, Capt. Monte Ulmer said Wednesday. The ship’s hull was proven structurally sound in a hull survey conducted last year, but after sitting in the Anacostia River for so many decades without work, “there are some deteriorations to the hull” that would eventually need repair.

Starting next summer, though, that would be nearly impossible to do. Washington, D.C., officials are getting set to begin construction on a new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge to cross the river, and this one will be a fixed-span bridge instead of a drawbridge – and there will only be 50 feet between the top of the water and the bottom of the bridge.

Barry, standing about 150 feet tall, “would not be able to get … underneath the bridge without doing some major dismantling, so to speak, here on this side of the river. So that kind of drove it to where once the bridge is in place, that landlocks the Barry and would make it very difficult to dispose of later or to move it to another location at a later date,” Ulmer said.

The captain said the city will begin work on the bridge this fall, and by the summer of 2016 it will be impossible to get taller ships into or out of the Navy Yard piers.

The Navy has not yet made a decision about replacing Barry with another decommissioned ship, and there is no timeline for doing so, Ulmer said. However, if the Navy waits until after next summer to make a decision, it would be limited to smaller ships that could fit under the new bridge without needing any costly work to disassemble and then reassemble the ship.

The next step in the process is for Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), with support from the Defense Logistics Agency, to solicit and award a sales contract to tow away and dismantle Barry, Ulmer said. So for now, there are no details yet about when or where the ship would be taken apart.

The last time a display ship had to be towed from its pier, the Navy encountered difficulties — in 2006 the museum ship Intrepid (CV-11) in New York was found stuck in the mud of the Hudson River when the ship needed to be moved for repairs. Freeing the decommissioned Essex-class carrier required an extensive engineering effort. In this case, however, NSA Washington spokesman Brian Sutton said that “we conducted a hull survey in July 2014 and it was determined that the ship is floating with room to spare underneath. The divers were able to swim under the hull for the entire length of the ship.”

Apart from the decision to get rid of the display ship, NSA Washington is demolishing two of its four piers and reconditioning Pier 2, where Barry currently sits. Ulmer said planning for that project began three to five years ago, and the Pier 2 work will continue even though DS Barry will be leaving and therefore there will be less foot traffic. The display ship saw about 9,000 visitors last year, Ulmer said.

  • Curtis Conway

    This story is actually disturbing. It, in a practical way, demonstrates the “take away the HiStory so they can’t learn from it”, under the guise of saving money and being responsible and efficient. The Barry is an excellent example of the bridge from the USS Constitution to the modern age. Until we leap into space making the surface combatants less importance, the Barry should stay as an example of what REAL surface combatants are all about . . . . projection of power in a kinetic way. The Barry’s capability stands in stark contrast to the capabilities . . . I’m sorry . . . . lack of capabilities of the LCS (what ever you want to call it). All LCS has on the Barry is speed and a flight deck, modern electronic capability not withstanding.

  • Barbara

    Memories can be so connected with the sense of touch. I was lucky enough to be at the USS Barry 933 reunion when it was held on board her. Some of the crew members were elderly and needed assistance walking. However, once they boarded her, they were all 18 again. Their eyes lit up like a child’s on Christmas morning. They were all so excited to show their loved ones the actual birth they slept in during their service on the Barry. I’ve been to other reunions with these same men and have visited other Navy ships and the reaction is not the same. I honestly don’t understand what the problem is in leaving her there. She isn’t going anywhere under her own power , so what difference does it make if she is landlocked? I hate the thought of never being able to return with my husband to wander around her decks and touch that part of his past that is so special to him.

    • Rexford L

      because without the ability to put the ship in to drydock eventually and repair underwater damage, she will sit at the pier and rust into nothing, and will be required to be scrapped where she’s at now.

    • Tony Puccio

      I agree with Barbara I served on the USS BARRY DD 933 IN
      1964-1966 and went to Vietnam and back, She brought me their
      and back safe and sound if the Navy don’t want her I like take
      her home with me. Lets all ship mates get together and fight
      for like she fought for the American people.

  • Stephen Crumb

    I will be sad to see the Barry broke up. We were both ” launched” on the same day back in 1955.

  • Rexford L

    easy solution.. blow the bridge and sail ships over the top of the remains..

  • Blake Waterhout

    Gee the Barry is a Forrest Sherman Class Destroyer, My ship, the USS Decatur was of the same class but was converted into a DDG later. It was sunk as a target a few years ago off the coast of Kawaii. It’s a shame we can’t save one for a museum or something

    • DevilDoc

      My first of four ships was the Forrest Sherman DD 931. I’ve been on the Barry a few times and it will be sad to see her go.

    • sturgeon

      Edson and Turner Joy are still museum ships

      • Blake Waterhout

        Where are they? I would love to see one of them.

        • Pops

          Turner Joy is in Bremerton, Wash. State. Edson is in Bay City, Mich.

  • Highlander

    It seems very short sighted that the city of Washington is being allowed to land lock the Navy Yard limiting for the future access by larger USN and foreign ships.

    • OldSailor

      Look at who runs Washington DC and you will understand their view of the Navy and the military in general.

  • Marc1943

    Why is the Navy allowing a bridge to be built over their piers that is so low as to prevent large ships from accessing the area? This is nonsense. These plans and discussions between the Navy and City have been going on for years. Both parties are using poor judgment.

    • Secundius

      @ Marc1943.

      No, this is your US. Congress Penny-Pinching plan to replace the 1950 built Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge. Instead of funding a Proper Bridge replacement, there doing it the Cheap Way. Building it lower to the Anacostia River…

    • Bill Burress

      I agree, what idiot makes a bridge to block a port or water way. Oh, government thinking at it’s best. Does a bridge to no where sound familiar?

  • silencedogoodreturns

    why on earth is the Navy letting DC seal in its historic Navy Yard?? Is there NO leadership at Navy?

    • old guy

      I think this article answers your question. Landlocking the NAVY YARD is criminal.

      • Curtis Conway

        Amen, lack of leadership. Those who would undue our country are hard at work disassembling our institutions and mores.

        • Observer

          Blame the budget-cutting Republicans in Congress.

          • Curtis Conway

            Now it’s time for truth . . . who was the father of Sequestration? Actually dreamed up the idea and floated it out there first . . . as their ‘Plan – B’ if they didn’t have the votes?

          • Curtis Conway

            Sequestration was an invention of the administration, and they have been very good about not owning that fact. The Republicans (by nature and as policy), are trying to ‘Live in the real world’ and trying to live within a BUDGET . . . a term Democrats cannot spell (e.g., all caps to help!). THAT is why the country has the largest debt of any country on the face of the planet for all time. The fact that both parties participated in that effort is also why we want to just flush the politicians because both have both have taken part in making it so.

    • BurgerCommenter

      Four things that will answer your question:

      1. The Anacostia River is no longer the deep water river it once was.
      2. The bridge is being funded by DC taxpayers and DC has said that they’d be more than willing to incorporate a draw span into the design if the Federal Government will pony up the funds for the difference in price.
      3. The Navy Yard is slowly moving most of its historical focus. They’re are preliminary talks to relocate the Navy museum to somewhere else in the DMV area.
      4. The post-9/11 world (plus the recent shooting at the NY last year) has put more focus on removing civilian elements to that location. They really don’t want anyone other than military and contract employees there.

      Source: I live nearby

      • silencedogoodreturns

        ok, those are the political reasons. But again, I have to ask, big picture, why is naval “leadership” turning its back on its history? Answer: Small minds, go along to get along.

  • CDR Bob

    Am of two minds on this: first, BARRY is in pretty rough shape, as she has not been maintained. Radar repeaters in CIC have been stripped, bridge equipment is either missing or broken, etc. Staffing is done by very junior sailors who are much younger than the ship, and thus, can add little to the tour of the ship. BARRY is not a good representation of a fleet unit, and does not at all match the professionalism and general excellence of the Navy Museum just a few feet away. It’s time to retire the old girl.

    Having said all that, the Navy needs to put a ship ate the Navy yard, regardless of future cost/navigation considerations. The Washington Navy Yard is a flagship installation, and the home of the CNO. Perhaps one of the retiring FFG’s could be put there, or even on of the PC’s?

    • Curtis Conway

      If an FFG-7 were to be brought in, the Mk13 should be re-installed. The interns should live aboard ship. Permanent staff would be old timers with FFG experience. Interns can rotate through departments just like divos on and active duty ship. There would be an PMS schedule and assigned duties. They will leave the shipboard experience with a huge understanding of integrated systems working in concert to provide a functional vessel. Once a naval vessel “comes alive” it is something that cannot be just taken for granted, like so many of our current infrastructure in this country. Our youth simply must understand what makes things work, and how it all interrelates to each other.

  • sturgeon

    Has anyone looked at moving it to the new SW waterfront development in DC?

  • Old Nuke

    Build a place for the USS Olympia (Commodore Dewey’s flagship) at the Washington Navy Yard.

    HT: CDR SAL

    • Michael Brock

      It is staying in Philadelphia

  • JDooley

    Place Admiiral Dewey’s flagship, USS OLYMPIA in the shipyard in her place. Go to the Yokuska Naval base and see the beautiful way the Japanese have displayed the battleship MIKASA.

  • Cyril McDermott

    There is such a push lately to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) as career goals for our high school and college students. The Barry would be an outstanding example of late 20th century naval architecture, and a perfect ‘classroom/laboratory’ for learning. Students could serve internships or apprenticeships by working on the ship’s restoration, while being taught STEM concepts. The Navy should look into collaborating with FIRST, the organization created by Dean Kamen that promotes STEM through hands-on learning.

  • ET-1 Ret

    Stationed on the Barry from 1969 to 1972. I have visited once at the Navy yard. It’s too bad she can’t be moved to below the bridge and kept for future visitors. My wife kids me about how my first ship is now a museum.

    • IC-2

      I served aboard the Barry during the Cuban blockade. We turned the Russian freighter around and chased a Zulu class sub half way back to the Azores. The ship has a great history. It is a shame that the “deep thinkers” do not have the guts to fight to retain this ship. It is our Naval history

  • fduggan

    The USS Barry, named in honor of the father of the American Navy, Commodore John Barry, is a national treasure. Among other things in its history, the Barry turned around the final Russian ships that were coming to Cuba with missiles.
    Frank Duggan, Commodore John Barry Division, Ancient Order of Hibernians.

  • ChiChiChiba

    Too bad, I was station on 943 same class boat. The USS Hornet in Alameda is a great example of how not to maintain a floating museum. The paint is flaking off at an alarming rate. With no money to paint an Aircraft Carrier it will eventually be scrapped.

    • Rexford L

      yep.. unless your museum ship is in a huge city, with a lot of people visiting, these museum’s don’t have the money to maintain them properly.. Even then, they still can’t do the proper maintenance on them. Good examples are the USS Missouri BB 63 in Pearl Harbor and USS Midway CV 41 in San Diego.

  • Tom Kueny

    I was stationed aboard the Edson DD 946 from 1973-1975, also a classic Forrest Sherman class destroyer. Those that were not converted/upgraded, like the Barry and the Edson are treasures that should somehow be preserved. They are the last destroyers that were still armed only with the classic 5″ 54 cal. main battery with no missiles, no ultra-modern upgrades. Just plain guns… The Edson is now maintained by many ex-crewmembers and other great volunteers who see the value of preserving this valuable piece of history for those who follow, including the general public and those future sailors who will crew the ships of the modern US Navy. It was an honor to have served on such a ship with the last sailors who had the privilege of taking the old DDs to sea.

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  • James Ralph Dunlap

    I am a plank owner of the USS Barry. I was aboard the Barry before it was commissioned. I OWN part of that ship and nobody has my permission to dismantle it! How many other plank owners are out there? I know there are more still alive than just me! If any of you guys are still out there who own part of the Barry, Now is the time to protest.