WWII vet served on many ships
March 14, 2012 2:42PM
Lawrence A. Barry VII.
Updated: April 16, 2012 8:07AM
Lawrence A. Barry VII, the uncle of Dorothy and John Rosier of Lemont, was born Nov. 23, 1924. He was originally from Newark, N.J. He graduated from high school in 1942 at the age of 17 and had to wait until he turned 18 to enlist.
He applied and was accepted to the Army ski troops. He was sent to the Navy instead because of a personnel shortage due to the Japanese destroying an aircraft carrier.
He went into Navy boot camp in Bainbridge, Md. After boot camp, he was sent to Quartermaster School for navigation and communication training.
He became a quartermaster 3rd class and he was assigned to form a nucleus crew on the USS Thomas (DE 102). Barry was in charge of 20 sailors on the USS Thomas, which was a destroyer escort. The ship was commissioned in Portsmouth, Va., in November 1943. They were in a naval convoy from Norfolk, Va., out to the Mediterranean Sea.
They were involved with skirmishes with German subs off the northwest coast of Africa. Later they patrolled the east coast of the U.S. in search of German subs.
On July 5, 1944, they caught a German sub off the coast of Newfoundland. They depth-charged it, causing it to rise to the surface. It emerged directly in front of the USS Thomas.
Barry then steered the ship directly toward the sub, ramming the bow of his ship into the sub, and sank it. It took a precise hit because he didn’t want to do too much damage to the ship.
They rescued 29 German sailors and took them as prisoners of war. The German captain died on the ship as a result of his injuries. They allowed the POWs to have a German funeral with a burial at sea for their captain. The POWs were then transferred to the USS Card, which had a brig on board.
Barry was immediately promoted to quartermaster 2nd class because of his actions on that day.
In January 1945, Barry was sent to the Submarine Chaser Training Center. He was once again the helmsman when he was assigned to a new ship, USS PCE 902. It was a patrol craft escort, which was a smaller ship that measured the weather.
Later he was assigned to the USS Harness (AGS 12). It was a smaller wooden ship used for archeological surveys. They checked out small islands and measured depths.
Barry was discharged on March 8, 1946, and went on to study at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., on the GI Bill. He received a bachelor of arts degree in economics and later attended the University of Chicago, earning an MBA with accounting as his major.
Barry worked several jobs while continuing his studies, ultimately passing the CPA exam in 1979. In 1981, he started his own firm, LA Barry and Associates. He also taught at College of DuPage for five years.
He transferred to Chicago in 1958 and married his wife Peggy on Nov. 5, 1960. They have seven children and 16 grandchildren, the most recent being Lawrence A. Barry IX.
Barry recently retired from his profession and enjoys spending all his time with his extensive family.
Other veteran news
The Veterans’ Assistance Commission of Grundy County will meet at 10 a.m. March 17 at the John Martin Steele VFW Post 6049, at 309 E. McKinley St. in Morris.
Sherey Zerbian from the Grundy Transit System will be guest speaker. She will be sharing an update about the system.
The meeting is open to all veterans and the public. For information or questions, call the VAC office at 815-941-3152.
Jean Edwards seeks veterans to write about in this column. Call 815-773-7172 or email email@example.com. I look forward to hearing from you.