The USS Barry (DD-2) was a Bainbridge-class destroyer used by the United States during early 20th century. She was one of thirteen such vessels that represented the first generation of U.S. naval destroyers. The Barry was named in honor of Commodore John Barry (1745-1803), who is often credited as the founder of the U.S. Navy.
The first modern steel destroyer was actually built for the Imperial Japanese Navy in the 1880s. Designed by Japanese marine architects, the IJN Kotaka was assembled from parts fabricated in England. The launch of the Kotaka in 1885 touched off a global race among the world's navies to build what were in known at the time as "torpedo boats" and later called "destroyers." These vessels were designed to be fast and maneuverable while being able to carry relatively heavy armaments and firepower.
The USS Barry was the second craft in the first generation of modern steel destroyers built for the U.S. Navy around the turn of the 20th century. Laid down in August of 1899 by the Neafie & Levy Ship and Engine Building Company of Philadelphia, Barry was launched in March 1902 and commissioned in November of that year.
Initially assigned to the North Atlantic Fleet, Barry was soon deployed to the Asiatic Station out of Manila, Philippines along with a number of her sisters. While on duty in the South China Sea, her crew helped in protecting American business interests in China as that country's government weakened and the political situation deteriorated during the first decades of the 20th century.
After the U.S. entry into World War I, Barry remained on duty with the Asiatic Station until ordered to the Mediterranean in August of 1917. Based out of Gibraltar along with her sister ship USS Bainbridge, Barry spent several months escorting merchant convoys traveling in and out of the Mediterranean Sea bound for ports in Italy, Greece, Egypt and the Levantine Coast (Palestine, now Israel and Lebanon).
In August of 1918, Barry was ordered home. Arriving in Charleston, South Carolina two months before the end of World War I, she spent her remaining months on coastal patrol and convoy escort duty.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Barry (DD-2)
The Barry was among the first-generation warships which were the first to use triple-expansion steam engines, a new type of technology that despite early problems became the standard propulsion for steamships until supplanted by the steam turbine. Asbestos gaskets and insulation were virtually always used in the construction of steam engines and boilers, which required frequent maintenance. Workers and sailors exposed to these components inhaled asbestos fibers, which are known to cause a variety of serious conditions including mesothelioma.
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Haislip, Harvey USN (Ret.) A Memory of Ships. U.S. Naval Institute (Sept. 1977)
NA. "History of the USS Barry." Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.
http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/b3/barry-i.htm Updated 10 February 2004. Retrieved 26 November 2010.