Home » News & Analysis » Washington Navy Yard Says Goodbye to Display Ship Barry

Washington Navy Yard Says Goodbye to Display Ship Barry

BarryMore than 50 former crew members, along with their families and local residents, gathered at Washington Navy Yard on Oct. 17 to remember the contributions of Display Ship Barry (DD-933).

The Forrest Sherman-class destroyer served in the Navy from 1956 until 1982, in both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets, and has continued serving the Navy as a public museum and training platform since 1983.

The Navy announced in February that the ship would be towed away and dismantled. A drawbridge near its Navy Yard home is being rebuilt next summer as a fixed-span bridge, and Barry would be too tall to sail under the bridge for hull maintenance the ship would eventually need.

Capt. Monte Ulmer, the commanding officer of Naval Support Activity (NSA) Washington, told USNI News in February that the ship was proven structurally sound in a hull survey last year but that it had not gone into dry dock for work since it was decommissioned. There is hull deterioration that would need to be addressed in the coming years, and it would be impossible to sail the ship under the new bridge without partially dismantling the ship at Washington Navy Yard – a complex and expensive proposition.

“It’s a sad day to see the Barry go, but I’m glad to be able to thank those in attendance today that served on the Barry,” Retired Rear Adm. Sam Cox, director of Naval History and Heritage Command, said during the departure ceremony, according to a Navy statement.
“She was not just a ship made of metal, but she represents a legacy of valor and sacrifice of those who served.”

Retired Sonar Technician (Surface) 1st Class John Horgan served on Barry in the early 1980s and flew in from Colorado for the ceremony.

“When I heard the ship was being scrapped I was very emotional,” Horgan said in the statement.
“I grew up on that ship. I came aboard 19 years old and left a man, so I had to make it here today.”

NSA Washington spokesman Brian Sutton told USNI News that the Washington Navy Yard staff had expected a smaller turnout, but the 175 chairs were filled and many more stood nearby for the ceremony. The crowd included 50 or 60 former Barry sailors, along with their families, other veterans and sailors, and nearby residents.

Sutton said he was surprised to have have “that kind of showing for a small destroyer that’s just been sitting in the Anacostia [River] for 30, 40 years.”

Over the summer, the Naval History and Heritage Command removed artifacts from the ship that it wanted to preserve. When the command was finished, other approved nonprofit museum ships sent representatives to the ship to see if there were any items that could supplement other displays around the country. Radios and other communication gear was a popular goodie to bring to other museums, Sutton said.

“Parts of the Barry are still going to be alive and well elsewhere” even after the destroyer is dismantled, he said.

Sutton said a request for proposals for the towing and demolition of Barry is set for this month, with a contract award planned for the first week of December. He said that in the past the company has come to tow away the ship within a matter of weeks, so Barry will likely leave Washington by the end of 2015.

The Navy has not yet announced any plans to replace Barry with another ship. Sutton said the vice chief of naval operations made the decision to scrap Barry and that a decision to put a new ship in at Washington Navy Yard would likely come from that office too.

The fixed-span bridge will be constructed next summer and will leave about 50 feet between the river and the bridge. The Navy could either decide to bring a newer decommissioned ship in that would not need repairs for many years – though the arrangements would have to be made in the next few months – or it could find a smaller ship like a patrol coastal ship that could fit under the new bridge with little to no modifications.

  • Paul Andrews

    USS Barry was my first ship. It’s sad to see it go to scrap.

  • R’ Yitzchak M

    Why not to send her to different harbor?

    • Secundius

      @ R’ Yitzchak M.

      If I had to Hazard a Guess, I suspect that Congress don’t want to Waste Any More Money on her Maintenance and Upkeep Operating Budget…

      • R’ Yitzchak M

        Museum and EDUCATIONAL TOOL is a cultural, historical and technological heritage you meet as a child and it grows into a pride and perhaps hopefully a career.. you do not scrap a museum, nor the practical education.. Today is so much left to the “virtual” this, virtual that.. videos and “make it believe” this ship is here real, real history. and for kids to EXPERIENCE a real thing and a REAL PRIDE I wish for example ROTC should learn and perhaps even give a cruise on various platforms to their friends from schools and for example be tied up to a class credits – assignment for a history, social science and a science class credits .. It would be incredible investment in to the FUTURE where those well EDUCATED citizens will make the difference. Bonding the next generation with generation which made it all POSSIBLE is not just “nice things to do” but it is the critical act of previous generation to educate and to prepare the next generation into a practical lesson about a LEADERSHIP to be a leaders for the next generation INTO THE bright FUTURE. It is a such a great tool and a such a great example of REAL LEADERSHIP that only our veterans can teach. As we know the leadership is shown only by the EXAMPLE So I think.. if we spend moneys on Harvard to produce Mr. Obama an 17 trillion Dollars “Organizer in chief” to spend few bucks on a REAL education that should actually TEACH the next generation the very meaning of “by example”. Bureaucrats would not know that even if they trip over it ( many times. over and over again.. by the way that is the one thing they do “excel” on beside the “hot air” ( a real hazard to the “global warming”) This is the most effective tool of creation of well EDUCATED and RESPONSIBLE CITIZENS of the country as opposed to the “liberal dope laced bad trip into the LALA land”. Only RESPONSIBILITY government has toward its PEOPLE is the defense from the foreign and domestic threats.. everything ELSE is totally optional – perhaps even a “nice” thing to do.. but totally OPTIONAL. People who never experienced subjugation my allow themselves to be confused with someone’s OPPINION as opposed to the common sense RESPONSIBILITY they of course might have the opinion about what is cool as opposed what is necessary.
        Sequestration is the most obvious example where the REALITY is challenged by the malignant opinion – dream.. Reality does have the tendency to win at the end with or without a dreamer(s) in “equation”?

  • John B. Morgen

    Our government will spend $ billions USDs to save banks, but no one wants to save a Cold War vet, just move the USS Barry down river, but do not replace her.

    • halifaxresolves


  • dboconnor

    It is a shame that she is being removed and dismantled but the real issue is that permission was given to permit a bridge to be build that is too low to allow ships to get to a Navy Yard. It would appear that the Navy Yard will soon be decommissioned but that is not mentioned

    • USNVO

      The Navy Yard hasn’t been an active yard for decades.

  • gunnerv1

    How about taking off the Mast even with the Fire Control Director, with that much Height “area” no longer required, “She” would fit under the Bridge without a problem. Placed the removed Mast structure on the Pier as a “Display”

  • Michael Ford

    Is a landlocked Navy Yard still a yard? If there’s nothing that floats it’s no longer a Navy Shipyard. Hence it must be the Washington Naval Facility. I live close enough to hear 8 bells struck from 8th & I. It was nice to have a real ship in the hood.

    • R’ Yitzchak M

      I am just curious there was ability of the “Frederic Douglas Memorial Bridge” to let the ships trough.. why not to keep doing it?

  • The_Usual_Suspect61

    I think they should replace it with an LCS. I hear they do real well when tied to the pier.

    • R’ Yitzchak M

      Harvard “organizers” philosophers wanna bee can spin anything “.. half empty.. half full.. ” but the ACCOUNTING? Common SENSE and anything to do with the national heritage.. Nothing but the contempt. It takes an effort perhaps even talent to create a SOLUTION sometimes it takes a “genius” to create a virus..? I like your lateral view.. quite a context.

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  • Rob C.

    As much as i’d hate to say it, The Navy Yard might well not have any ship there at all at this point. Nothing recently Decommissioned is going fit under that new bridge. If their attendance is falling that bad, they might well forget about it. Smaller ship is not going to draw people to the an attraction. Oliver Hazard Perry Frigate with restored missile launcher would still be less attractive than a all-gun-destroyer like Barry is.

    That sad budget and reality, when a bridge can sink a Naval museum ship’s future.

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    i am sure some city would take her for a museum, she is really in very good shape. i hate to see any of the old ships scrapped, i would like too keep them all as museums somewhere. it’s like loosing family to loose them to the scrappers .

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  • James Patterson STCS USN (ret)

    Of all the ships I served on through my service the USS Barry DD933 and I have used her numbers and I have used her numbers (933) in my in my e-mail address from my first computer until now and I will not Change it until I die. I was promoted to STC aboard her, I was the CPO in charge when she was the first Destroyer ever to sweep the battle “E” for the Atlantic Fleet. I was with her through the Baltic and NATO good will tour. The last ship I served on before retirement was Her Sister ship USS Jonas Ingram DD 938. At 88 I too will soon be scrapped.
    James W. Patterson STCS USN (ret)