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Daniel Edward Barbey
Nickname "Uncle Dan"
Born (1889-12-23)23 December 1889
Died 11 March 1969(1969-03-11) (aged 79)
Place of birth Portland, Oregon
Place of death Bremerton, Washington
Allegiance United States United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy Seal United States Navy
Years of service 1912–1951
Rank US-O9 insignia.svg Vice Admiral
Service number O-7930
Commands held Caribbean Sea Frontier
Fourth Fleet
Seventh Fleet
VII Amphibious Force
USS New York
USS Ramapo
USS Lawrence

United States occupation of Nicaragua
Mexican Revolution
World War I
Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922)
Russian Civil War
World War II:

Chinese Civil War
Awards Navy Cross
Navy Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Commander of the Order of the British Empire (Australia)

Vice Admiral Daniel Edward Barbey (23 December 1889 – 11 March 1969) was an officer in the United States Navy who served in World War I and World War II. A graduate of the Naval Academy, he participated in the 1912 United States occupation of Nicaragua and the 1915 United States occupation of Veracruz. While serving with the War Plans Section of the Bureau of Navigation in Washington, D.C. between the World Wars, developed an interest in amphibious warfare. In 1940 he produced Fleet Training Publication 167 – Landing Operations Doctrine, United States Navy, which would become the Navy's "bible" of amphibious operations, and would remain in use throughout World War II.

As commander Amphibious Force, Atlantic Fleet in 1940 and 1941 he supervised amphibious training and conducted Fleet Landing Exercises. In May 1942, Barbey was appointed to organize a new Amphibious Warfare Section within the Navy Department, which was charged with responsibility for the coordination of amphibious training and the development and production of the new generation of landing craft. In January 1943 he assumed command of Amphibious Force, Southwest Pacific Force, which became the VII Amphibious Force. He planned and carried out 56 amphibious assaults in the Southwest Pacific Area between September 1943 and July 1945. After the war, he commanded the Seventh Fleet and Fourth Fleet.

World War I

Daniel Edward Barbey was born in Portland, Oregon on 23 December 1889.[1] He graduated from the Naval Academy and was commissioned an ensign in June 1912. His first assignment was aboard the armored cruiser USS California, which participated in the 1912 United States occupation of Nicaragua.[2] In May 1914 he was transferred to the destroyer USS Lawrence as engineering officer, participating in the United States occupation of Veracruz. He remained on Lawrence, where he was promoted to lieutenant (junior grade) on 8 June 1915, serving first as engineering officer, and later as executive officer and commanding officer.[3] In October 1916 he became engineering officer of the gunboat USS Annapolis, serving in Central American and Mexico waters.[2] He received a Letter of Commendation from the Secretary of the Navy for the ship's service during the Mexican Revolution. Barbey was involved in the fitting out of the destroyer USS Stevens from December 1917 to May 1918, becoming its executive officer when it was commissioned on 24 May. Under an accelerated wartime promotion system, he was promoted to Lieutenant on 8 June 1918.[3]

Between the wars

Barbey was assigned to the Naval Base at Cardiff, Wales in January 1919, becoming the Naval Port Officer at Cardiff from July to August 1919, when he was transferred to the U.S. Naval Headquarters in London. In November 1919 he became Naval Port Officer, Constantinople, Turkey. In October 1920, he also became operations officer and flag secretary to Rear Admiral Mark L. Bristol, Commander U.S. Naval Detachment in Turkish Waters and High Commissioner to Turkey.[2] Barbey was ceased to be Naval Port Officer in July 1921, but continued as flag secretary to Admiral Bristol.[3] During this time, Barbey served as the U.S. delegate on the Allied Commission for the Control of Trade with Turkey and as an observer with the White Army in the Crimea.[2]

Returning to the U.S. in February 1922, he served briefly on the cargo ship USS Capella before becoming assistant engineering officer of the battleship USS Oklahoma in the Pacific. He was promoted to lieutenant commander on 15 October 1922.[3] Continuing the pattern of alternating duty afloat and ashore, he then spent two years as Officer in Charge of the Portland Navy Recruiting Station, before returning to the Atlantic as engineering officer of the light cruiser USS Cincinnati in June 1925. From February 1927 to June 1928, he was executive officer of the oil tanker USS Ramapo. He then spent the next three years as aide to the Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy, Rear Admiral Samuel S. Robison. From June 1931 to June 1933 he commanded the destroyer USS Lea. He then spent two years as an inspector of ordnance at the Mare Island Naval Ammunition Depot in California, where he was promoted to the rank of commander in September 1933. In February 1935, he was posted to the battleship USS New York as damage control officer. He briefly commanded the Ramapo before becoming Commander of Destroyer Division 17 in the Pacific.[2]

In June 1937 Barbey was assigned to War Plans Section of the Bureau of Navigation in Washington, D.C.. During this assignment, he worked on mobilization plans, and developed an interest in amphibious warfare from studying reports of Japanese amphibious operations in the Second Sino-Japanese War.[2] He was particularly intrigued by photographs of special landing craft with hinged bow ramps. In 1940 he produced Fleet Training Publication 167 – Landing Operations Doctrine, United States Navy (FTP 167). This would become the Navy's "bible" of amphibious operations, and would remain in use throughout World War II.[4] He was promoted to captain in February 1940.[3]

World War II

Amphibious warfare

Barbey assumed command of New York in the Pacific but in January 1941 he returned to the Atlantic to become Chief of Staff to Rear Admiral Randall Jacobs, Commander Service Force, Atlantic Fleet. This included the embryo Amphibious Force, Atlantic Fleet.[2] In 1940 and 1941 he supervised the amphibious training of the 1st Marine Division and the 1st Infantry Division,[5] conducting Fleet Landing Exercises along the coast of North Carolina.[2] In May 1942, Admiral Ernest King, Commander in Chief U.S. Fleet appointed Barbey to organize a new Amphibious Warfare Section within the Navy Department. Barbey was charged with responsibility for the coordination of amphibious training and the burgeoning amphibious craft construction program. He became involved with the development and production of the new generation of landing craft.[6] He was promoted to the rank of rear admiral in December 1942.[1]

Troops and landing craft crews training at HMAS Assault at Port Stephens

On 8 January 1943 Barbey assumed command of Amphibious Force, Southwest Pacific Force. He established his headquarters aboard the attack transport (APA) USS Henry T. Allen on the Brisbane River and set about building up his small training command into a major amphibious force capable of carrying out the strategy of the Supreme Commander, Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA), General Douglas MacArthur, for an amphibious advance from Australia to the Philippines. On 15 March 1943, "by a stroke of Admiral King's pen," the Southwest Pacific Force became the Seventh Fleet and its Amphibious Force became the VII Amphibious Force.[7] On meeting Barbey for the first time, MacArthur had only one question: "are you a lucky officer?"[8]

The VII Amphibious Force inherited the Royal Australian Navy amphibious training center HMAS Assault at Port Stephens, New South Wales and a Combined Training School at Bribie Island and nearby Toorbul Point in Queensland. There was only one APA, the Henry T. Allen, which was in a poor state of repair and trailed an oil slick wherever it went, precluding its use in a combat zone, but VII Amphibious Force had three Australian assault transports, known as Landing Ships, Infantry (LSI): HMAS Manoora, Kanimbla and Westralia. For the moment, they were too valuable to risk in forward areas. They were augmented by a flotilla each of the new beaching craft, Landing Ships, Tank (LST), Landing Craft, Infantry (LCI) and Landing Craft, Tank (LCT). There were also a small number of high speed transports (APD). MacArthur directed that the two navies would use a common doctrine, FTP 167. However, this was written with the assumption that APDs would be available and carry beach parties. Doctrine therefore required modification from the start.[9]

New Guinea campaign

Operation Chronicle, the landings at Kiriwina and Woodlark Islands, was the VII Amphibious Force's first operation, presented no great difficulty as the islands were known to be unoccupied. However half the assault troops experienced seasickness, problems were encountered with clearing the sand bar at the entrance to Guasopa Harbor, and Barbey's decision to land at night and withdraw before dawn in order to avoid encountering Japanese aircraft highlighted the inexperience of his crews and deficiencies in their training.[10] Unloading activities on the coral-fringed Kiriwina dragged on for a fortnight.[11]

T Rear Admiral Daniel E. Barbey, USN (2nd from right) with other officers at Hollandia, New Guinea, November 1944. Those present are (from left to right): Lieutenant May; Rear Admiral Arthur D. Struble; Rear Admiral Barbey; and Lieutenant Commander William S. Mailliard, USNR.

For the landing at Lae, Barbey elected to make a night approach and a dawn landing. As the LCIs approached the beach, they were set upon by three Mitsubishi G4M "Betty" bombers which score a bomb hit and two near misses on USS LCI-339. Badly damaged and riddled by strafing bullets and fragments, the ship was beached but became a total loss. That afternoon, six LSTs were attacked by a force of about 80 Japanese aircraft. Some 48 Lockheed P-38 Lightnings were vectored to assist but USS LST-471 and USS LST-473 were hit, killing 57 crewmen and Australian troops.[12]

A few weeks later Barbey was called upon to make a landing at Finschhafen. Not confident of the promised air support, Barbey decided to make another night landing, with the landing ships clearing the beach before dawn. Major General George Wootten, the commander of the assault troops, doubted that the VII Amphibious Force could find the correct beach in the dark, and was proven correct by events; the VII Amphibious Force was not yet proficient enough to conduct night landings. Fortunately, this time Japanese air attacks failed to sink or damage any amphibious ships.[13] For his part in the landings at Lae and Finschhafen, Barbey was awarded the Navy Cross. His citation read:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Rear Admiral Daniel Edward Barbey (NSN: 0–7930), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Commander, Amphibious Force, Seventh Fleet, during attacks on Japanese-occupied Lae and Finschafen in New Guinea, on 4 September and 22 September 1943. With singular skill and inspiring courage, Rear Admiral Barbey personally led his forces to the beachheads under relentless air attacks and expertly directed the brilliantly executed landings which ultimately resulted in victory to our forces. The sound tactical knowledge, fearless leadership and inspiring devotion to duty displayed by Rear Admiral Barbey were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.[14]

File:Barbey, Martin, and Hopkins.jpg

Rear Admiral Daniel E. Barbey, Brigadier General Clarence A. Martin and Brigadier Ronald Hopkins observe the landing at Saidor.

The Battle of Arawe and the Battle of Cape Gloucester involved a number of "firsts" for the VII Amphibious Force. It marked the first use of an Australian LSI, HMAS Westralia, in combat, and the first appearance in SWPA of a Landing Ship, Dock (LSD), USS Carter Hall. The LSD was used to carry amtracs, also making their debut in SWPA, which were necessary to cross the coral reefs. Fire support was provided by two LCIs equipped with rockets. This proved so successful that Barbey had another six modified for the purpose. Casualties were evacuated using specially modified LCTs and LSTS equipped as hospital ships. For the first time, Beach Party 1 participated, providing a fully trained naval beach party for the first time. Contrary to doctrine, it was not affiliated with a particular APA. The Arawe operation also saw the first use of another innovation of Barbey's, the landing craft control officers.[15] However, an attempt to land a force in rubber boats was a total failure, and was not repeated.[16] Afterward, Barbey received his first properly equipped amphibious command ship, the USS Blue Ridge. He also acquired an experienced deputy in Rear Admiral William M. Fechteler. Fechteler commanded the assault on the Admiralty Islands, in which APDs were employed in order to meet the Army's requirement for a reconnaissance in force.[17]

Western New Guinea campaign

During Operations Reckless and Persecution, Barbey personally directed the landing at Tanahmerah Bay. The beaches there proved to be unsuitable, and Barbey diverted the follow-up forces to Humboldt Bay. MacArthur told war correspondent Frazier Hunt that Barbey was "just about the number one amphibious commander in the world," but Admiral Chester Nimitz was more critical. VII Amphibious Force carried nearly 80,000 personnel, 50,000 tons (56,000 m3) of stores and 3,000 vehicles to the area but the resulting accumulation of stores on and immediately behind the beach included dumps in which fuel and ammunition were stored together. A lone Japanese aircraft bombed a dump and set off fires and explosions. Twenty men were killed and over a hundred wounded, and twelve LST loads of stores were destroyed.[18] Meanwhile, three Japanese bombers attacked and torpedoed the cargo ship USS Etamin. The ship was severely damaged and towed back to Finschhafen with half its cargo still on board.[19] For these operations, Barbey was awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal. His citation read:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Distinguished Service Medal to Rear Admiral Daniel Edward Barbey (NSN: 0–7930), United States Navy, for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services to the Government of the United States, in a duty of great responsibility as Commander of the Amphibious Forces of the Seventh Fleet from 8 January 1943 to 12 May 1944. Skillfully building and developing an organization from men and material untried in battle, Rear Admiral Barbey succeeded in bringing the forces under his command to the high state of combat readiness within a few months which enabled them to enter upon the New Guinea operation at the peak of their efficiency. Working in closest cooperation with associated Army Commanders and ably planning for determined aggression, he aided essentially in overcoming Japanese resistance during numerous landing operations and rendered invaluable support for forces until they were firmly established in various strategic positions in this vital area. An inspiring and forceful leader, Rear Admiral Barbey contributed immeasurably to the success of the campaigns in New Britain, New Guinea and the Admiralties and his brilliant administration of exacting responsibilities throughout this period reflects the highest credit upon the United States Naval Service.[20]

Philippines campaign

A peninsula with eight ships beached on the shore in the foreground and over eleven ships anchored off the opposite shore. Smoke is rising from the peninsula.

LSTs landing supplies at Blue Beach, Morotai

Barbey paid a visit to Washington, D.C. in June 1944 to discuss his needs but his trip was mistimed, for the Joint Chiefs of Staff had left for Europe to observe the Invasion of Normandy and Barbey had to wait for Admiral King to return. In their discussions, King emphasised that it was his intention that MacArthur's advance would proceed no further than Mindanao.[21] This was scuttled in September 1944 by his own admirals, who recommended a descent on Leyte. By July enough amphibious ships had arrived in SWPA to allow Barbey to divide the VII Amphibious Force. Fetchteler assumed command of Amphibious Group 8, while Amphibious Group 9 was formed under Rear Admiral Arthur D. Struble. In 1945, a third group, Amphibious Group 6, was formed under Rear Admiral Forrest B. Royal. For the invasion of Leyte, MacArthur and his naval commander, Vice Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid expected that Barbey would continue in command of the amphibious forces, but Nimitz preferred the commander of the III Amphibious Force, Vice Admiral Theodore S. Wilkinson, who was senior and in Nimitz's opinion, more experienced. In the end, a compromise was reached, with both amphibious forces participating, and Kinkaid in overall command.[22] For his part, Barbey was awarded a second Navy Distinguished Service Medal. His citation read:

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Navy Distinguished Service Medal to Vice Admiral Daniel Edward Barbey (NSN: 0–7930), United States Navy, for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services to the Government of the United States, in a duty of great responsibility as Commander of the Amphibious Forces of the Seventh Fleet, in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Southwest Pacific Area from 2 July 1944 to 1 February 1945. Initiating a series of ably executed operations, Vice Admiral Barbey and the intrepid forces under his command effected successful surprise landings at Noemfoor on 2 July, at Sansapor on 30 July, and at Morotai on 15 September 1944, thereby establishing Southwest Pacific Air Forces within effective striking distance of the Philippines. As Commander of the Northern Attack Force at Leyte on 20 October, he participated with distinction in the highly successful operation which gained lodgment for our forces in the Philippine Islands and, as Commander of the Northern Attack Force at Lingayen Gulf on 9 January 1945, he again shared equally with the Commander Southern Attack Force the credit for the brilliant amphibious operation which finally assured the re-conquest of Luzon and the Philippine Archipelago. By his inspiring leadership and outstanding performance of duty in the planning and execution of these vital operations, Vice Admiral Barbey upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.[23]

Rear Admiral Barbey (left) with Vice Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid during staff meeting.

Promoted to vice admiral on 9 December 1944, Barbey directed 30 more assaults in 1945, mostly in the southern Philippines and Borneo.[3] He conducted the last amphibious operation of the war, the landings at Balikpapan, Borneo on 1 July 1945.[1] In all, "Uncle Dan", as he was known, planned and conducted 56 amphibious operations, landing more than one million Australian and American soldiers and marines.[24] For his wartime service in the Southwest Pacific, the U.S. Army awarded Barbey the Army Distinguished Service Medal.[25] On Australia Day in 1948 the Australian government honored him with an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire, which was presented at the Australian embassy in Washington by Norman Makin, the Australian Ambassador to the United States.[26]


After the war, Barbey replaced Kinkaid as commander of the Seventh Fleet. He continued the task of landing occupation forces in South Korea and North China. While providing training, transportation and support to the Chinese Nationalist Party forces, he attempted to prevent his own forces from becoming embroiled in the Chinese Civil War, which was engulfing North China. In March 1946 he became Commander Amphibious Force, Atlantic Fleet. In September he became commander of the Fourth Fleet. He briefly returned to the Far East in February 1947 as Chairman of the Joint Military Board on fact-finding mission to evaluate strategic requirements there. He returned to the U.S. in March to become Commandant of the 10th Naval District and commander of the Caribbean Sea Frontier from 1 May 1947 until 10 October 1950. His final assignment was as Commandant of the 13th Naval District. He retired as a vice admiral on 30 June 1951.[2]

Retirement and last years

In retirement, Barbey published his memoirs of his wartime service as MacArthur's Amphibious Navy in 1969.[2] He died at the Naval Hospital in Bremerton, Washington on 11 March 1969.[24] His papers are in the Naval Historical Center at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.[3] The Navy named a Knox-class frigate, USS Barbey (FF-1088) in his honor, which was launched at the Avondale Shipyards in Westwego, Louisiana by his widow on 4 December 1971.[27]


Vice Admiral Daniel E. Barbey's ribbon bar:

Gold star
Gold star
Gold star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Gold star
Gold star
1st Row Navy Cross Navy Distinguished Service Medal w/ Gold Star Army Distinguished Service Medal
2nd Row Legion of Merit Nicaraguan Campaign Medal Mexican Service Medal
3rd Row World War I Victory Medal w/ Overseas Clasp American Defense Service Medal w/ Atlantic Clasp American Campaign Medal
4th Row Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/ four service stars World War II Victory Medal National Defense Service Medal
5th Row China Service Medal Philippine Liberation Medal w/ two stars Companion of the Order of the British Empire


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Ancell & Miller 1996, p. 494
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 Reynolds 1978, pp. 15–17
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 "Papers of Vice Admiral Daniel E. Barbey 1941–1969". Washington, D.C.: Naval Historical Center. 
  4. Leary 1988, p. 208
  5. Leary 1988, p. 209
  6. Barbey 1969, pp. 18–20
  7. Morison 1950, pp. 130–131
  8. Barbey 1969, p. 21.
  9. Barbey 1969, pp. 34–43
  10. Leary 1988, p. 216
  11. Morison 1950, p. 134
  12. Morison 1950, pp. 263–266
  13. Morison 1950, pp. 269–270
  14. "General Orders: Commander Seventh Fleet: Serial 7219 (October 25, 1943)". Retrieved 12 June 2010. 
  15. Leary 1988, pp. 220–222
  16. Morison 1950, pp. 374–375
  17. Leary 1988, pp. 222–225
  18. Leary 1988, pp. 227–228
  19. Morison 1953, pp. 70–71
  20. "General Orders: Commander, Seventh Fleet: Serial 00946 (May 12, 1944)". Retrieved 12 June 2010. 
  21. Barbey 1969, pp. 180–183
  22. Leary 1988, pp. 232–235
  23. "General Orders: Commander, Seventh Fleet: Serial 00472 (February 21, 1945)". Retrieved 12 June 2010. 
  24. 24.0 24.1 "Admiral Dan Barbey dies at 79; Led Pacific Amphibious Fleet". 12 March 1969. 
  25. "Recipients of the Army Distinguished Service Medal". Retrieved 12 June 2010. 
  26. Governor General's Office, honours and awards file "Companion of the Order of the Bath: Vice Admiral T.C. Kinkaid. Commander of the Order of the British Empire: Vice Admiral D.E. Barbey, Vice Admiral H.F. Leary, Vice Admiral A.S. Carpender", Australian War Memorial: AWM88 O/F 14 Allied Forces
  27. "Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships – USS Barbey". Naval Historical Center. Retrieved 1 June 2010. 


  • Ancell, R. Manning; Miller, Christine (1996). The Biographical Dictionary of World War II Generals and Flag Officers: The US Armed Forces. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-29546-8. OCLC 33862161. 
  • Barbey, Daniel E. (1969). MacArthur's Amphibious Navy: Seventh Amphibious Force Operations, 1943–1945. Annapolis, Maryland: United States Naval Institute. OCLC 52066. 
  • Leary, William M., ed (1988). We Shall Return!: MacArthur's Commanders and the Defeat of Japan, 1942–1945. Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 978-0-8131-9105-8. OCLC 17483104. 
  • Morison, Samuel Eliot (1950). Breaking the Bismarcks Barrier: 22 July 1942–1 May 1944. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 0-7858-1307-1. OCLC 10310299. 
  • Morison, Samuel Eliot (1953). New Guinea and the Marianas, March 1944 – August 1944. History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. OCLC 60250702. 
  • Reynolds, Clark G. (1978). Famous American Admirals. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-006-1. OCLC 3912797. 

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