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USS Bluegill (SS-242) WW2
Captain Barr

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Captain Eric Lloyd Barr, Jr., 1912-2010

"'He took us out there and he brought us back and that alone is saying a lot', one of Barr's crew said  . . . during the 35th anniversary reunion."
[See newspaper article for 1980 reunion.]

This page presents photographs of Captain Barr not already presented in the WWII Odyssey or Reunion Index photos.
Eric Barr as an InfantEric Barr as a Child on His Grandfather's Yacht Eric Barr, Jr., as a Midshipman On USS Wyoming Eric Barr, Jr., as a CDRCaptain Barr at Sea on Bluegill
Eric Lloyd Barr, Jr., as an infant, as a child on his Grandfather's Yacht, as a Midshipman aboard USS Wyoming (BB-32), as a CDR aboard Bluegill in Class "A" uniform and on deck at sea.  First four photos courtesy of Eric Barr and fifth courtesy of Ray (Basil) Phipps.
Captain Barr in July 1999Captain Barr in December 1999
Left photo:  CAPT Eric Barr in July 1999 at a joint meeting of the Nimitz Silver Dolphin Chapter of USSVWWII and Philips C. Stryker, Jr., Base of USSVI.  Right photo:  CAPT Barr and Patrick St. Romain, the webmaster, in December 1999 at a Christmas party of the same two Sub Vet groups.  Photos courtesy of Pat St. Romain
George Folta and Eric Barr Filming "The Silent Service"Darryl Rehr and Eric Barr Filming "The Silent Service"
CAPT Eric Barr and George Folta being interviewed by Darryl Rehr at USS Cavalla in July 2000 for Rehr's documentary The Silent Service. Left Photo: George Folta (left) and Eric Barr (right). Right photo:  Darryl Rehr (left) and Erick Barr (right). Photos courtesy of Neal Stevens.

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The following Biography of Eric Lloyd Barr, Bluegill's WW2 Captain is available to download if you have Adobe Acrobat Reader. Please be patient with the long loading times. Biography of Eric Lloyd Barr, Bluegill's WW2 Captain 84 KBytes, 4 pages. Document courtesy of Patrick St. Romain and Eric Barr

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The Old Man
Taken from J. Read Gwyer's
THE STORY OF THE USS BLUEGILL, SS 242 AND HER CREW

    I thought back to when I met The Old Man. It was late summer 1943, and I had been assigned to the BLUEGILL, a submarine being built by Electric Boat Company in New London, Connecticut.
    When I met the prospective commanding officer, normally referred to as The Old Man, I wasn't impressed. In fact I was discouraged, for I mentally compared him to the other submarine "skippers" I had met. His work khakis were neatly pressed and spotless, as if he had just sat at his desk all day. He was of medium height and build, and his hands were delicate and appeared soft, but what really shocked me was his boyish face with rosy cheeks and topped with close cropped hair. Gawd, I thought, I must be older than he. I quickly realized, however, that The Old Man was all business, understandable, for he had come from a long line of seafaring men. He lived by the Navy Regulations, customs, and traditions, and he told me he expected the same behavior from his officers and crew.
    It was in the submarine attack trainer that I started to develop respect for The Old Man. My battle station was in the conning tower at the torpedo data computer. The Old Man knew exactly how he wanted his attack fire control party to function, and he was explicit in his guidance and orders. While in sub school I had watched other pre-commissioning crews in the attack trainer, and in comparison I now realized that this middle sized man was a giant in capabilities.
    It wasn't until we had our ship's party, just prior to commissioning, that I got to know The Old Man socially. No longer was he stand-offish. Instead he was laughing and congratulating his crew and stopping at each table to share a drink with them. There were too many tables- - he became slightly tipsy before the night was over- - but we knew he was proud of his "boat" and crew.
    After six war patrols in the Pacific the BLUEGILL returned to Mare Island Naval Shipyard in California. The Old Man's submarine had a distinguished record for sinking and damaging many ships.
    Also he was only one of six skippers that made all patrol runs with the sub he put in commission.
    Looking back I realize how much I owe this man. Only he had a visual picture of what was happening on the sea's surface during our torpedo attacks, for only he was looking through the periscope. It was on his mental calculations that our lives depended. His timing had to be perfect. Should we stay at periscope depth a few seconds longer in order to get a better solution for a torpedo firing or dive deeper to lessen the damage from the enemy depth charges. Our mission was to sink enemy ships; his responsibility was to save a submarine and the 76 humans aboard. Many times he called it very close, but we survived. I thank God for assigning me to a submarine that had a baby faced rosy cheeked Old Man.

Read the rest of J. Read Gwyer's THE STORY OF THE USS BLUEGILL, SS 242 AND HER CREW.

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Obituary dated 21 August 2010

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  Page Last Updated 08/30/2010