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First Name: Barry

Last Name: Atkins

Birthplace: Annapolis, MD, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Kennedy

Date of Birth: 02 August 1911

Date of Death: 15 November 2005

Rank or Rate: Rear Admiral

Years Served:
Barry Kennedy Atkins

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


Barry Kennedy Atkins
Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy

Barry Kennedy Atkins was born on 2 August 1911 in Annapolis, MD, son of a U.S. Navy officer.  He graduated from the U. S. Naval Academy with the Class of 1932 and was commissioned as an Ensign in the Navy.

He served in the battleships USS Tennessee (BB-43) and USS New Mexico (BB-40) before commissioning the USS Mahan (DD-364) in 1936. Two years later he reported to USS Cuyama (AO-3) for a one-year tour in the "beef boat navy" prior to spending two years in the Executive Department of the Naval Academy.

As Commanding Officer of the destroyer USS Melvin during the Battle of Suriago Strait in the Philippines, on 25 October 1944, a torpedo fired by Melvin hit the Japanese battleship Fuso broadside, triggering a series of explosions that ultimately sunk the Fuso. Military historians believe the sinking of Fuso was the only instance in World War II of a destroyer sinking a battleship. Atkins received the Navy Cross for his "extraordinary heroism" during the Battle of Suriago Strait.

The Melvin's crewmen have been waging an effort to have a ship named in honor of their former commander. "They are like a Band of Brothers that went through so much together and the events created a bond and connection that none of us can ever understand," Atkins' daughter, Sue Keener, wrote of the Melvin's crewman in an e-mail sent to The Associated Press for a story on that effort.

In addition to the tours of duty served in WW II, he served in the Korean War, on the United Nations Military Staff Committee, and as Chief of Staff to the Superintendent of the Naval Academy. He retired from the Navy on 1 November 1959.

Medals and Awards

Navy Cross
Silver Star Medal
Bronze Star Medal


Surface Warfare Officer Insignia

Death and Burial

Rear Admiral Barry Kennedy Atkins died on 15 November 2005 at age 94. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

He is survived by two daughters, two sons, three granddaughters, a grandson, and three great-granddaughters.
Atkins was predeceased by his wife, Muriel S. Atkins; a brother, Griswold Atkins; and a sister, Janet A. Folk.

Honoree ID: 2079   Created by: MHOH




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