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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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John M. Bermingham

 

John Michael Bermingham was born in New York City 5 July 1905 and graduated from the Naval Academy in 1929. During the 1930's he served in many ships, including Wyoming, Utah, and Augusta, and at various shore stations. In 1940 he was assigned as Executive Officer of destroyer Stewart and at the outbreak of the war in the Pacific was second in command of the four-piper Peary. During the first Japanese attack on Cavite 10 December, Peary's commanding officer was wounded and Lt. Comdr. Bermingham took command. The ship was assigned to offshore patrol and came under heavy air attack many times in the days to come. Only brilliant seamanship during bombing and torpedo attacks 26 and 27 December saved her from destruction- Despite the Japanese air superiority, Bermingham succeeded in bringing his ship to Darwin, Australia, to operate with allied forces attempting to hold Malay Barrier. Peary operated with cruiser Houston in February, and was anchored at Darwin when the Japanese attacked with bombers 19 February 1942. Bermingham got his ship underway and attempted to maneuver in the restricted waters; but, despite valiant antiaircraft fire, his ship was hit with five bombs. Lt. Comdr. Bermingham and about 80 of his crew went down with the ship. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his courage and leadership while commanding Peary during this crucial early period of the war.

 

(DE-530: dp. 1,140; l. 289'5"; b. 35'1"; dr. 8'3"; s. 21 k.; a. 3 3", 4 1.1", 9 20mm., 2 dct, 8 dcp., 1 dcp. (h.h.); cl. Evarts)

 

John M. Bermingham (DE-530) was laid down by Boston Navy Yard 14 October 1943; launched 17 November 1943; sponsored by Mrs. J. M. Bermingham, widow of Lt. Comdr. Bermingham; and commissioned 8 April 1944. Lt. M. Beerman in command.

 

The new destroyed escort conducted shakedown off Bermuda and arrived Charleston 9 June to begin her vital convoy escort duty. Departing 14 June, she escorted the ships to the English Channel; and, after steaming to Belfast 23 July, she returned to Boston 2 August 1944. She then underwent further training in Casco Bay before arriving New York 28 August to join an unusual convoy.

 

Bermingham sailed 19 September with other escort vessels to convoy a large group of Army tugs and barges for use in the important captured ports of northern France. During the arduous crossing, rough weather claimed several tugs and many of the vitally-needed harbor barges. Only a heroic effort on the part of escorting ships brought the remainder of the convoy to safety at Plymouth 20 October. After a week of searching for straggling barges, the ship joined a return convoy and arrived New York 21 November.

 

After trainnig, John M. Bermingham was assigned to regular convoy runs between American ports and Oran, Algeria, in support of the giant land offensive underway in Europe. She made three voyages to Oran in the months that followed, arriving New York 29 May 1945. Her mission in Europe completed with the fall of the Axis, the ship arrived Miami, Fla., 20 July for duty as a school ship at the Naval Training Center.

 

John M. Bermingham sailed to Charleston after V-J Day, arrived 9 September, and decommissioned 12 October. She was scrapped in March 1946.