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USAT Thomas H. Barry on 12 March 1942
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Class:        THOMAS H. BARRY (AP-45)
Design:        Pass. & Cargo, 1930
Displacement (tons):        11,520 gross (?), 16,113 full
Dimensions (feet):        508.0' oa, 482' pp (?) x 70.75' x 27.2'
Original Armament:        2-5"/51 4-3"/50
Later armaments:        --
Complement:        --
Speed (kts.):        20
Propulsion (HP):        17,935
Machinery:        Turbo-electric, 2 screws

AP Name Acq. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
45 THOMAS H. BARRY -- Newport News SB & DD Jul 29 15 May 30 --

AP Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
45 THOMAS H. BARRY -- -- 30 Mar 42 Canc. 21 Oct 57

Class Notes:
FY 1942. ORIENTE was one of two passenger liners completed at Newport News, Va., in 1930 for the Ward Line, the other being the infamous MORRO CASTLE. On 8 Sep 34 MORRO CASTLE caught fire and burned off New Jersey while en route from Havana to New York, killing a total of 137 passengers and crew members. This disaster prompted major improvements in fire safety aboard future ships. ORIENTE continued to sail for the Ward Line and its successors until she was requisitioned by War Department in June 1941 and renamed USAT THOMAS H. BARRY.

On 26 May 41 the President directed the Maritime Commission to turn over to the Army seven ships of C3 passenger type, or ships of equivalent size and speed, by 30 Jun 41 in addition to 19 ships that it was to deliver to the Navy. Earlier in May the Army and Navy had agreed to a plan to replace the civilian crews of the large ships of the Army Transport Service with Navy crews and place the ships under Navy jurisdiction, and on 27 May 41 the Auxiliary Vessels Board recommended that the seven transports be acquired and manned with Navy crews for the use of the Army. Personnel shortages prevented the Navy from implementing this plan, however, and on 13 Jun 41 ORIENTE was taken over by the Army. She was soon converted to a troopship and renamed THOMAS H. BARRY. On 17 Sep 41 the Joint Board approved a Navy request that the Army convert ten of its ships (the future AP-30, 34-35, 42-44, and 46-49), to combat unit loaded transports as soon as Army operating schedules permitted. On 29 Sep 41 the Acting CNO stated that six of the seven Army vessels in the President's directive, along with two under construction by the Maritime Commission, were to be eventually taken over by the Navy and asked the Bureau of Ships to assign hull numbers to them. They were designated AP 42-49 before the end of October 1941. (The seventh ship in the directive, PRESIDENT COOLIDGE, was never listed for Navy manning and never received a Navy hull number.) Ultimately the Navy was only able to man AP 42-43, and THOMAS H. BARRY remained in Army service throughout the war instead of entering Navy service as AP-45. Her Navy manning was officially cancelled on 30 Mar 42.

USAT THOMAS H. BARRY was refitted to carry war brides in January 1946 and later became a transport for Army dependents. She was placed out of service on 22 Jan 50 and was laid up two days later in the MC James River reserve fleet. The ship was sold for scrapping in 1957.

Ship Notes:
AP Name Notes
45 THOMAS H. BARRY Ex USAT THOMAS H. BARRY, ex merc. ORIENTE 1941 (ID-4851, completed 21 Nov 30). Purchased by Army 14 Jun 41. To MC reserve fleet from Army 24 Jan 50. To buyer 4 Nov 57, scrapped by 9 Oct 58.

Page Notes:
AP        1942
Compiled:        31 May 2009
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2009