Barton II (DD-722)
John Kennedy Barton, born in Philadelphia, Pa., on 7 April 1853, was appointed a cadet engineer on 1 October 1871. He alternated tours of duty afloat and ashore through the 1880's, serving in such ships as Benicia, Saranac, Marion, and Shenandoah, before teaching steam engineering at the Naval Academy from 1882 to 1886. He then served three years on the Asiatic Station, on board Essex and Palos, before returning to the Naval Academy for another tour of duty as an instructor from 1889 to 1893.
After supervising the fitting out of the gunboat Castine and cruiser Columbia, Barton became a chief engineer on 15 January 1895. He served in the Pacific Fleet on board Mohican and Bennington until detached to shore duty in 1897. Barton returned to the Asiatic Station in 1900 and served in the cruiser Newark and the battleship Kentucky before becoming fleet engineer in 1903. Relieved shortly afterward, he again taught at the Naval Academy until 1905 and then did graduate work in engineering.
In 1907 Barton became head of the department of steam engineering at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. He assumed the title of Engineer-in-Chief as Chief of the Bureau of Steam Engineering on 21 December 1908. Only two days later, Barton was detached to return home due to illness and was simultaneously transferred to the Navy's retired list. He subsequently held a post on a Naval Examining Board in January 1909 and also served in the Civil Service Commission. He died at the Naval Hospital at League Island (Philadelphia), on 23 December 1921.
The second Barton (DD-722) was laid down on 24 May 1943 at Bath, Maine, by the Bath Iron Works; launched on 10 October 1943; sponsored by Miss Barbara Dean Barton; and commissioned on 30 December 1943 at Boston, Mass., Comdr. Joseph W. Callahan in command.
After spending the first three weeks of January 1944 at Boston, initially completing her outfitting and later putting to sea on a daily basis for drills, Barton got underway on 20 January bound for shakedown training in the vicinity of Bermuda. On the way, she suffered major damage to her main propulsion plant that forced her to put into Norfolk on the 21st for two weeks of repairs. On 6 March, the warship resumed her voyage to Bermuda. For the next month, she engaged in the sundry drills, exercises, and other training evolutions that were calculated to weld her crew into a highly competent fighting team. Barton concluded that employment on 7 April and shaped a course back to Boston early that same afternoon. The destroyer reached her destination two days later and spent the succeeding three weeks in port at Boston. On 29 April, she headed south to Norfolk again, arriving there the next day.
Following a 12-day stay at Norfolk, punctuated by a single underway period on 4 May, Barton left the Virginia port on the 12th to rendezvous with a convoy at New York. She arrived in Brooklyn on 13 May but stayed just one night, setting out on the 14th to make her first Atlantic crossing in company with a convoy bound for the British Isles. The destroyer escorted the convoy into Greenock, Scotland, on 24 May. Well before dawn the following morning, she returned to sea in the screen of Plymouth-bound Transport Division (TransDiv) 5, arriving at the destination late on the 27th. Barton remained at Plymouth until 3 June on which day she put to sea and headed for the rendezvous with the many other units that would make up the invasion task force for Operation "Overlord."
After a postponement of 24 hours that, for Barton, meant almost three days at sea in the English Channel before the invasion, the assault proceeded on the morning of 6 June.
The destroyer received orders to provide gunfire support for troops ashore and carried out such missions during the first four days of the operation. On D-day she rushed to the aid of elements of the Army's 2d Ranger Battalion that, after successfully scaling the nearly sheer heights of Pointe du Hoc to capture a six-gun battery that dominated both American landing beaches--or would have, had the 155-millimeter guns not been removed temporarily in preparation for additional construction to strengthen the position. Although the guns had been removed, their crews and supporting troops had not, and they put up quite a stiff resistance that pared down the Rangers' numbers after a time and placed them in a precarious situation near the precipice. Barton's guns joined with those of Satterlee (DD-626) and Thompson (DD-627) in keeping the Ranger's tormentors at bay. She even sent her motor whaleboat shoreward with a pharmacist's mate embarked in an effort to assist the unit's wounded, but German gunfire thwarted the attempt, wounding the medic and holing the boat in eight places. Though Barton's whaleboat crew brought no succor to the Ranger wounded, her guns gave a good account of themselves in bolstering the defensive perimeter until the destroyer turned the responsibility over to her relief ship, Thompson.
For the next two weeks, call-fire missions in support of the troops ashore, such as the one she had carried out for the Rangers on Pointe du Hoc, frequently called her away from duty screening transports and larger warships against submarine and aircraft attack. Yet, she managed to make a real contribution to the defense of the invasion fleet as well by helping to ward off air attacks on the 7th and the 11th during the first of which attacks, she claimed to have splashed one of the intruders. Screening duties and call-fire missions occupied her until mid-morning on 21 June when she left the French coast for Weymouth, England.
After a two-day rest at Weymouth, England, Barton got underway on 25 June as part of Task Group (TG) 129.2 heading for the German stronghold at Cherbourg, France. Operating with the battleships and cruisers sent to bombard the port, Barton was straddled by the second salvo from the enemy coastal batteries. One 240-millimeter shell skipped off the water's surface, ripped through the port quarter, and lodged in the after diesel generator room. Fortunately, the shell failed to detonate, and a repair party jettisoned it quickly. Back in Weymouth, Barton received a temporary patch before getting underway for Belfast, Northern Ireland. There, she joined Destroyer Division (DesDiv) 119 in the voyage to Boston, arriving there on 9 July.
At Boston, the hull puncture was permanently repaired, and Barton returned to sea on 7 September bound for Norfolk, Va. She rendezvoused with Eldorado (AGC-11) at Norfolk and the two ships put to sea for San Diego, where they arrived without incident on 29 September. Barton continued on to Pearl Harbor, arriving there on 8 October to undergo inspection and training. The destroyer got underway on the 23d for Ulithi and arrived there on 5 November. Soon thereafter, Barton assumed duty guarding the carriers of Task Group (TG) 38.4 during air strikes against the Philippines. Screening these ships during air operations kept Barton busy until her return to Ulithi on 21 November.
The warship got underway on 27 November in company with Destroyer Squadron (DesRon) 60 to join the 7th Fleet at Leyte. Barton operated with the screening units until 6 December when she sailed for Ormoc Bay to support a major landing of the 77th Infantry Division. An enemy shore battery opened fire on the ships near dawn on 7 December, but Barton, Laffey (DD-724), and O'Brien (DD-725) quickly demolished the site. Trouble developed as Barton escorted the empty invasion convoy back to Leyte. Japanese aircraft attacked the convoy using kamikaze tactics. One plane came in so close astern to Barton before being shot down by her antiaircraft fire that gasoline fumes were sucked into the destroyer's ventilation system. A rainstorm moved in to cover the convoy's track, but the enemy persevered, and Barton assisted in splashing another plane before the unit arrived at San Pedro Bay on 8 December.
In anticipation of landing at Lingayen Gulf, the Allies planned to seize Mindoro Island to establish close-range airfields. Barton became part of the support force off Mindoro when the invasion began on 15 December and met negligible opposition. The destroyer saw little action, but did sight and sink a small Japanese coastal freighter with Ingraham's (DD-694) help. The ships returned to San Pedro Bay on 17 December.
Barton spent Christmas at Leyte while plans moved forward for the invasion of Luzon at Lingayen Gulf. The destroyer stood out of San Pedro Bay on 2 January 1945 to join .TG 77.2. Late on 5 January, she stood off the entrance to the gulf. The next day, after Allen M. Sumner (DD-692) and Walke (DD-723) suffered hits by kamikazes while covering minesweepers in the gulf, Barton and O'Brien relieved them. One kamikaze crashed O'Brien's port side, and two others fell to Barton's guns. Leutze (DD-481) relieved O'Brien and, on 7 January, the two destroyers collaborated in sinking an enemy patrol craft. The two warships then returned to screening duties until the amphibious assault went forward on the 9th, at which point she added call-fire missions in support of the troops ashore to her list of chores. Barton remained on call at Lingayen until late January, helping to bring down one more enemy plane during her stay.
On 22 January. she received orders to retire to Ulithi and arrived there six days later. The destroyer was immediately assigned as a screening unit for the carriers of TG 58.4, scheduled for air strikes against Tokyo as diversionary tactics for the landing on Iwo Jima. Barton was cruising the waters off Honshu on 16 February when the first planes left the carriers. Late that night, while patrolling within 100 miles of Japan, Barton and Ingraham collided, bending and tearing Barton's bow and destroying Ingraham's starboard 40-millimeter gun mount. Escorted by Moale (DD-693), the two disabled ships set course for Saipan. At 2115 on 17 February, Barton picked up two contacts on her radar, and the trio of destroyers closed to attack. Their guns made quick work of the two enemy guardboats the warships had flushed. Before dawn the next morning, she her radar picked up another Japanese guardboat which the three warships also promptly dispatched with gunfire. Barton and her companions reached Saipan on 20 February and began repairs.
Ingraham completed repairs in three days and returned to action, but Barton required considerably more attention. On the 23d, she entered the drydock at Guam to have her bow rebuilt. On 15 March, the rejuvenated warship stood out for Ulithi, arriving the next day to prepare for the upcoming assault on Okinawa in the Ryukyus. Misfortune struck on 20 March, however, while a group of her sailors refuzed projectiles on the forecastle. One shell began smoking and exploded before it could be jettisoned. Three officers and 11 enlisted men suffered burns and remained behind when Barton left Ulithi on 21 March.
Five days later, on 26 March, the destroyer joined in the preinvasion bombardment of Okinawa. Enemy air activity grew intense throughout the following weeks, and Barton became a frequent target of the suicide planes. On 27 March, she shot down one enemy bomber and assisted in splashing another, and two days later repeated the scenario of one kill and one assist. The troops hit Okinawa's beaches on 1 April. Meanwhile, Barton attacked a Japanese midget submarine with depth charges and claimed probable damage to it. On 6 April, she scored another aerial kill and tallied an additional assist on the 9th.
Day and night for three months, the destroyer pursued an exhausting routine. She performed a variety activities: fire support, antiaircraft defense, antisubmarine screening, and radar picket duty. Her 5-inch tubes nearly wore out as a result of firing over 22,000 rounds, rounds that knocked out 150 enemy emplacements, hit 35 supply dumps, and dispersed 23 troop concentrations. Especially dangerous were the hours spent on radar picket station, alone and open to attack from enemy submarines, torpedo boats, and aircraft. Destroyers manning these hazardous positions were all too often replaced rather than relieved, but Barton survived and saw the end of organized resistance on Okinawa on 21 June.
The destroyer then steamed to Kerama Retto to refuel and load supplies before joining Vice Admiral Jesse B. Oldendorf's TF 95 for an antishipping sweep in the East China Sea and the Yellow Sea. At the conclusion of that mission, Barton shaped a course for Leyte on 23 July, joining a hunter-killer group en route in a fruitless search for Japanese midget submarines. The submarines had attacked destroyer escort Underhill (DE-682) and then lurked nearby to interfere with efforts to rescue the crew of the sinking ship. Barton stood into Leyte Gulf on 29 July for an availability period and was there on 15 August to receive the news of Japan's capitulation. She received orders to embark the New Zealand government representative, Air Vice Marshall Isitt, at Iwo Jima and to transport him to Missouri (BB-63) for the formal surrender ceremony. While the actual ceremony was in progress, and for two weeks thereafter, Barton operated with the covering carrier task force in the vicinity of Tokyo Bay. On 16 September, she anchored inside Tokyo Bay for a brief rest before returning to Okinawa.
There, the destroyer embarked returning soldiers and set out for the west coast of the United States, arriving in Seattle on 19 October. Barton observed Navy Day in Everett, Wash., then sailed for San Francisco on 31 October and remained in that port for several months' standdown and repair. She then conducted training in preparation for her next assignment, duty as a surface survey ship during the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll. Early in June, after the installation of special oceanographic and radiological equipment, Barton got underway and headed for the central Pacific. She stopped at Pearl Harbor on the 8th and then at Kwajalein on the 13th, joining the eight other destroyers that formed the surface patrol unit of Joint TF 1. On 15 June, Barton arrived at Bikini Atoll, and preparations moved forward for the two nuclear tests.
At 0900 on 1 July, the ship observed the first event, Test "Able," from a distance of between 11.7 and 15 miles from ground zero. At 0944, Barton proceeded to the lagoon entrance to survey the radiological effects. She then took oceanographic soundings until anchoring in the lagoon early the next morning to record data gathered there. For the next three weeks, Barton moved through the test area monitoring radiation levels and accumulating other data. At 0835 on 25 July, Barton observed Test "Baker" from a distance of between eight to 10 miles from surface zero. At 0900, the ship began a radiological patrol of the waters including the area just inside the lagoon entrance, before beginning 12 days of soundings and readings. On 5 August, the destroyer conducted calibration firing exercises and gunfire drills before departing for San Diego, where she arrived on 22 August. Barton was readied for inactive status and, on 22 January 1947, was placed out of commission, in reserve, at San Diego.
Barton was recommissioned on 11 April 1949, Comdr. Charles W. Rush, Jr., in command. She served as a unit of DesDiv 201 in local operations along the west coast until 11 July when she embarked upon the voyage to a new assignment, as a unit of the Atlantic Fleet. After steaming by way of Acapulco, the Panama Canal, Guantanamo Bay, and Culebra Island, the destroyer arrived in Norfolk on 5 August and began operations along the east coast and in the West Indies. That employment continued for a year and, then, in August 1950, she deployed to the Mediterranean for her first tour of duty with the 6th Fleet. The warship returned from that assignment in January of 1951 and resumed operations along the Atlantic coast and in the West Indies.
The eastern seaboard of the United States remained her zone of operations for almost a year and a half. Though war had been raging in Korea since early in the summer of 1950, the Navy did not call upon Barton for duty with the United Nations forces in Korean waters until the spring of 1952. On 15 May 1952, the destroyer sailed from Norfolk in company with Pierce (DD-753), Strong (DD-758), and Soley (DD-707). After brief stops at Panama, San Diego, Pearl Harbor, and Midway, Barton arrived at Yokosuka in June to begin her tour of duty. She became flagship of DesDiv 21 and embarked the screen commander from 21 June to 9 July while operating with the fast carriers of TF 77 east of Korea. Task Force 77 directed many air strikes against the enemy during this period, including the bombing of the Suiho hydroelectric plants on the Yalu River.
Following a brief upkeep in Sasebo, Japan, Barton moved into Wonsan Harbor, located deep in communist North Korea, on 20 July. There, she served as flagship for Commander, East Coast Blockade Element, and later for the Commander, Wonsan Bombardment Element. The destroyer remained at Wonsan Harbor for 33 days and distinguished herself with accurate bombardment and harassment of communist activities and shore batteries. On 10 August, while firing on enemy gun batteries on the island of Hodo Pando, Barton suffered a hit on her forward stacks which killed one crewman. The warship remained on station for two more weeks before steaming to Yokosuka for a brief repair period.
At the end of August, Barton joined DesDiv 21 in a hunter-killer antisubmarine training exercise off the east coast of Japan before rejoining TF 77 on 15 September. The tour proved brief, however, for, on the evening of the 16th, the destroyer struck a floating mine. The explosion tore a 15-foot by 25-foot hole in the starboard side, completely flooding the forward fireroom and killing five men and wounding seven of those on watch there. Fast and effective action by the repair parties kept Barton afloat and enabled her to reach Sasebo on 20 September where she made temporary repairs.
The destroyer left Sasebo under her own steam on 19 October and rendezvoused at Aden with DesDiv 21 and DesDiv 262 after visits at Singapore and Colombo, Ceylon. From Aden, the ships transited the Suez Canal and sailed across the Mediterranean, passing the Rock of Gibraltar on 29 November. She arrived at Norfolk on 12 December and began permanent repairs. She completed those repairs on 15 August and spent the remainder of 1953 operating along the east coast and in the West Indies.
On 4 January 1954, the destroyer headed for the Far East once again for another tour of duty with the 7th Fleet. After several months patrolling the waters between Okinawa and Taiwan and participating in hunter-killer exercises with Catfish (SS-339), Barton steamed around the southern tip of Africa--making stops in Kenya, South Africa, Brazil, and Trinidad along the way. She moored in Norfolk on 10 August.
Barton began a schedule of training exercises and Atlantic Fleet maneuvers out of Norfolk, generally operating in the Virginia capes area and the West Indies. Following an overhaul in the Charleston Naval Shipyard in 1955, the destroyer rejoined the Atlantic Fleet for three months of hunter-killer antisubmarine warfare (ASW) training in preparation for a Mediterranean cruise.
On 28 July 1956, the destroyer departed Norfolk and entered the Mediterranean Sea on 7 August. After participating in NATO Exercise "Whipsaw," Barton and Soley steamed to Port Said, Egypt, to escort a convoy through the Suez Canal and into the Persian Gulf for a routine six-week patrol with the Middle East Force.
On 29 October, the two destroyers started south from the vicinity of Abadan, Iran, to leave the gulf, circumnavigate the Arabian Peninsula, and retransit the Suez Canal. Hostilities broke out that same day between Israel and Egypt over Egypt's premature nationalization of the canal. The war closed the canal, and subsequent international military action prompted Egypt to block it with sunken ships. Meanwhile, Barton and Soley anchored in Sitrah Harbor, Bahrein, and stood by in case a need arose to evacuate Americans from the region. Operating from Bahrein, Barton spent the next two months anchored at night and conducting tactical and gunnery drills by day. Finally, on 12 December, the destroyer received orders directing her around the Cape of Good Hope to Norfolk, where she tied up on 5 February 1957.
Following a period of upkeep, Barton prepared to put to sea on 14 March. She and William M. Wood (DD-715) received orders to escort the cruiser Canberra (CAG-2) as she carried President Eisenhower to Bermuda to confer with British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan. Barton carried members of the press to the ceremony and stood sentry with William M. Wood at the entrance to the harbor. The destroyer then conducted ASW patrol and spent time in Norfolk in upkeep before going into drydock in Newport News for hull repairs. Barton exited Chesapeake Bay on 1 July and set out for yet another Mediterranean cruise. After several weeks of training operations with NATO forces and other units of the 6th Fleet, Barton anchored in Port Said on the night of 20 September. The following day, she and Soley transited the Suez Canal together once again and then headed to the Persian Gulf for a month of operations with the Iranian Navy. Upon relief by Laffey (DD-724), the warship returned to the Mediterranean to participate in three more NATO exercises. She returned to Norfolk on 20 November.
For the next seven years, Barton alternated between training exercises out of Norfolk and assignments with the 6th Fleet. She made four Mediterranean deployments, eight visits to the West Indies, and one voyage to Halifax, Nova Scotia. The warship also qualified as a gunfire support ship in several exercises at Culebra and Bloodsworth Islands. On 5 February 1958, while steaming to Norfolk from the Caribbean, the destroyer received orders to assist a badly damaged Panamanian merchant ship, SS Elefterio. Barton's damage control parties could not contain the flooding caused by a large hole in Elefterio's hold, so she embarked the tanker's crew and passengers and transported them to Norfolk. In 1962, Barton covered the Project Mercury space shot carried out on 18 May in which Col. John Glenn, USMC, became the first American to orbit the Earth. Late in October, she and the other units of the Atlantic Fleet stood to in order to support the warships engaged in the quarantine of Cuba called for by President John F. Kennedy in response to the siting of Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba. Barton rehearsed with amphibious units at Onslow Beach, N.C., and stood by, ready for immediate action. The ship returned to Norfolk when the crisis ended. At the end of a Mediterranean deployment in August 1963, Barton and Borie (DD-704) made a goodwill tour of the Baltic Sea to support Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson's Scandinavian tour. The destroyers held "open ship" for general visiting at Copenhagen, Denmark, and Helsinki, Finland, before heading home on 10 September.
In April 1965, Barton received orders to join Reserve Destroyer Squadron 30, and she became flagship of the squadron in its home port of Philadelphia. Her underway periods benefitted the reserve units that trained on board the destroyer, and also provided her nucleus crew with liberty visits to such ports as Fort Lauderdale, Port Everglades, West Palm Beach, and Miami, Fla.; Kingston, Jamaica; San Juan, P.R.; Freeport, Grand Bahamas; Bermuda; and Halifax, Nova Scotia. In July, Barton also steamed to Quebec and Montreal, and continued via the Saint Lawrence Seaway to Cleveland, Ohio, for a month of training combined with public awareness work about the Navy and its mission. During her remaining years in commission, Barton operated primarily between Philadelphia, Norfolk, and Guantanamo Bay. In August 1968, a board of inspection and survey determined the destroyer to be beyond economical repair. Barton was decommissioned on 30 September 1968, and her name struck from the Navy list on 1 October 1968. She was sunk as a target on 8 October 1969.
Barton (DD-722) received six battle stars for World War II service and two battle stars for service in the Korean conflict.
Raymond A. Mann
27 February 2006