A trio of tugboats from the Donjon Marine Co., Inc., Hillside, N.J., set out from Washington, D.C, Saturday with the former U.S. Navy destroyer Barry in tow, bound for Philadelphia and ultimate scrapping.
Donjon’s 82’x27’x9.5’ Emily Ann and Meagan Ann, and 85’x28’x11.5’ Thomas D. Witte took the Barry, a 418’x45’x19.5’ Sherman-class destroyer launched in 1955 at the Bath Iron Works in Maine, under dead ship tow out of the Anacostia River. Decommissioned in 1982, the Barry had been a display ship at the Washington Navy Yard since 1983.
But with construction of a new fixed span to replace the Frederick Douglass Memorial drawbridge, the decision had been made to remove the destroyer before it became landlocked. A popular destination with Washington visitors in its early years, the Barry’s attendance declined to around 9,000 annually as maintenance costs escalated, pushing a decision to dispose of the destroyer.
Locals from Washington’s Navy Yard neighborhood gathered to bid the ship farewell.
“Very emotional,” Anne Seymour, 58, told the Washington Post. “The Barry is a landmark institution in our hood,” she said, as she stood on a nearby pier. “We love him. I’ve been here almost 26 years. . . . I’ve seen the neighborhood go through a lot of changes. The one thing that did not change was the USS Barry.”
Naval Reserve Cmdr. Joshua Collamer, who oversaw the Barry from 2003 to 2005, said the destroyer represented a different time in the history of the Navy.
“It’s a part of the Navy that’s disappearing,” he told the Post. “This ship, the way its configured, the smell, the feel of it, the new ships don’t have that. It’s a different era. I was sad to see it go.”