The USS Barbey (DE-1088) was laid down on 5 February 1972 by Avondale Shipyards, Inc., Westwego, Louisiana; launched on 4 December 1971; sponsored by Mrs. Daniel E. Barbey, widow of Vice Admiral Barbey; and placed in commission at Long Beach Naval Shipyard on 11 November 1972, Comdr. Theodore B. Shultz in command.
After fitting out and completing sea trials at Long Beach Naval Shipyard, Barbey got underway on 4 February 1973 for shakedown training in the Hawaiian Islands. Before post-shakedown availability at Long Beach, which commenced on 12 May, the ship enjoyed a three-day liberty at Acapulco, Mexico, plane guarded for Hancock (CVA-19) and conducted acoustic tests at Seattle. The availability included a drydock period from 5 June to 9 October during which workers at Long Beach Naval Shipyard modified her flight deck and hangar to accommodate a light airborne multi-purpose system (LAMPS) helicopter and installed an experimental controllable pitch propeller (CPP). Testing and adjusting the new propeller system occupied the ship through January of 1974.
After further acoustic trials near Seattle in February and two days as plane guard for Hancock in early March, Barbey embarked the Commander, Destroyer Squadron 13, on 8 March for the joint U.S.-Canadian Navy exercise COMPTUEX 2B-74. During the next six days, the destroyer escort stood by to rescue pilots from Ranger (CV-61). She returned to San Diego for upkeep and minor repairs which included the installation of a steel ball 35-feet in diameter on the helo hangar and the correction of an oil leak in the CPP hub. On 2 May, Cree (ATF-84) towed her to drydock at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard for ten days of further repairs to her CPP. On 16 May, she returned to San Diego for local operations that included plane guarding for Constellation (CVA-64).
In late June, Barbey joined Plunger (SSN-595) for three days of operations near Seattle before returning to San Diego on the 28th. On 12 July, the destroyer escort departed the west coast for several weeks of refresher training in Hawaii, her crew honing their antisubmarine warfare skills enroute. On 30 August, following her return to San Diego, Barbey lost all of the blades of the CPP during tests and had to be towed by Florikan (ARS-9) to Long Beach Naval Shipyard.
During the first six months of 1975, the warship reinstalled the CPP and subjected the new propeller to extensive trials at sea. During late May and early June, she interrupted this routine to undergo refresher training at Pearl Harbor prior to returning to San Diego. On 30 June 1975, Barbey and all other destroyer escorts were reclassified frigates, and she was redesignated FF-1088. Local operations, training, and upkeep kept the ship busy until 17 November when she commenced removal of the equipment associated with CNO project DS 523 (the 35-foot ball). During the first five days of December, Barbey conducted sonar sound trials and engineering drills before serving as an engineering and ASW school for most of the ensuing two weeks.
On 6 January 1976, the warship entered drydock at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard for repairs and modifications which primarily entailed the removal of the experimental CPP in favor of a standard, fixed-blade propeller. Following sea trials and deperming, Barbey conducted refresher training from 26 April to 7 May, then returned to San Diego for a month of preparation for upcoming inspections and tests. She completed a combat readiness test in mid-June before participating in readiness exercises in the eastern Pacific during the last week in June.
Tests, inspections, and training in preparation for her upcoming Pacific deployment consumed the entire month of July. On the 30th, the frigate embarked a detachment of ASW helicopters and got underway accompanied by Enterprise (CVN-65), Towers (DDG-9), Ramsey (FFG-2), Hull (DD-945), Truxtun (CGN-35), and Scamp (SSN-588). Barbey took part in the exercise Comptuex 1-77 in the Hawaiian Islands and then put in at Pearl Harbor from the 12th to the 17th. During the frigate’s passage to the Philippines, her crew guided the ship through multi-ship ASW exercises and various tactical drills. Following her arrival at Subic Bay on 6 September, nearly three weeks of intensive upkeep readied the warship for the combined Exercise “Kangaroo II” with the Australians off the east coast of Australia from 12 to 25 October. She visited Geelong, Australia during the first week of November before returning to Subic Bay for upkeep and replenishment until 11 December. The remainder of the deployment primarily involved exercises in the South China Sea. In December, the warship articipated in ASW exercises, Exercise “Multiplex 1-77” and missile exercises, returned to Subic Bay for upkeep, and then closed out the year with a liberty call at Hong Kong. In mid-January 1977, Barbey served as plane guard for Enterprise during readiness exercises. Three weeks of upkeep and replenishment at Guam and briefings at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, preceded the ship’s participation in the Exercise “Sharkhunt XX” in late February. Following a brief liberty at Kaohsiung and a sojourn at Subic Bay, the frigate returned to San Diego, where she arrived on 21 March.
During the first two weeks of June, the warship sailed to the Pacific northwest for tactical exercises and a goodwill visit to Portland, Oreg. With the exception of a brief respite at Aberdeen, Wash., in mid-October, she remained in or near San Diego for the remainder of the year engaging in various exercises and drills designed to maintain the ship in a high state of readiness. On 23 January 1978, Barbey commenced an eleven-month overhaul at Long Beach Naval Shipyard, which became her home port while the overhaul lasted. During the overhaul, the warship received a Harpoon missile system among the improvements to her combat systems and engineering plant. In late November and early December, Barbey conducted sea trials to assess her engineering and sonar capabilities.
Upkeep, training, and drills occupied the ship through the first half of 1979 culminating in the successful completion of her operational propulsion plant examination (OPPE) in late June. In July, the ship underwent refresher training until a problem with the emergency diesel generator forced her to return to San Diego for another overhaul on the 27th. Upon completion of the overhaul on 24 September until mid-October, Barbey articipated in fleet exercises which she interrupted for a brief liberty at New Westminster, British Columbia. Following a month of upkeep at San Diego, she completed readiness exercises in November, including a combat systems readiness test, and the Exercise “Comptuex 1-80” in early December as a prelude to her upcoming Pacific deployment.
On 11 January 1980, the frigate set sail for Pearl Harbor where she concluded a week of training before continuing west to join the 7th Fleet at the end of the month. The warship enjoyed upkeep at Yokosuka and Subic Bay during February and visited Singapore and Thailand while serving as an escort for Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG) “Alpha” during operations in the Indian Ocean in March and April. After putting in at Diego Garcia Island on 5 May, Barbey began the return voyage to San Diego which included stops at Freemantle, Australia; Subic Bay, Guam, and Pearl Harbor. After arriving at San Diego on 12 July, she resumed the usual routine of upkeep, availability, inspections, and training during the remainder of 1980.
Barbey was decommissioned on 20 March 1992 and struck from the Navy list on 11 January 1995. She was disposed of through the Security Assistance Program, foreign military sale on 29 September 1999.
- Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships