The USS Barker (DD-213) served in the US Navy for more than more than twenty years during the early part of the 20th century. She was named for Rear Admiral Albert S. Barker who served in the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. Barker was built as a Clemson-class destroyer.
Barker was laid down in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by the William Cramp & Sons Ship & Engine Building Company in April 1919, launched in September, and commissioned in December with Lieutenant Commander C.A. Windsor in command. Carrying a crew of 114, Barker had a cruising speed of 35 knots and was armed with four 4-inch rapid-fire guns, one three-inch anti-aircraft gun, and twelve 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Barker was deployed to the Middle East and assigned to Division 35, U.B. Naval Detachment, Turkish Waters in June 1913, and later operated with the American Relief of Armenia. In late 1921, Barker began serving with the Asiatic Fleet in the Philippines until May 1925, and then was assigned to the Scouting Force off the east coast of the United States. Barker participated in patrols off Nicaragua in January 1927 and then was deployed with United States Naval Forces, Europe to participate in goodwill visits to European ports.
Beginning in August 1929, Barker was assigned to the Asiatic Fleet and in 1941, was attached to the 57th Division, 29th Squadron in the Philippines. During the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941, Barker was conducting patrols around Borneo, and then served as a patrol and escort in the Netherlands East Indies in January 1942. Barker was damaged during an aircraft battle at Banka Island in February, and was repaired in Australia. Following patrol and escort duty in Australia, Barker sailed to Pearl Harbor and then was overhauled at Mare Island Navy Yard in August.
Barker escorted convoys between San Francisco and Pearl Harbor from October 1942 to May 1943, and then was reassigned to the east coast to hunt for German submarines. She rescued survivors when U-487 was sunk in June, and then rescued survivors when U-185 was sunk by aircraft in August. Barker was assigned to escorting convoys to England and North Africa from September 1943 to October 1944, and then operated as an escort in the Caribbean, to Newfoundland, as well as along the east coast of the United States. She was decommissioned at Philadelphia in July 1945, stricken from the Navy list in August, and sold for scrap in November.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Barker (DD-213)
The installation of asbestos-containing materials in the design of oceangoing ships was mandated by Congress in the early 1930s, after a deadly fire aboard a luxury liner caused the deaths of 137 passengers and crew. Ships like Barker used asbestos insulation in large amounts in ship's boilers and engine rooms, and to insulate pipes in other parts of the vessel.
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Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-213.
http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd213txt.htm Retrieved 27 December 2010.
NavSource Naval History, USS Barker (DD-213).
http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/213.htm Retrieved 27 December 2010.