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Museums and Memorials

 

 

USS Blueback (SS 581) Memorial and Museum 

USS Barb’s final battle flag at the end of World War II presents a symbolic record of the boat’s many wartime accomplishments and significant awards won by its crew.

Across the top are represented the six Navy Crosses, 23 Silver Stars, and 23 Bronze Stars bestowed on individual crew members during the war, as well as the Presidential Unit Citation and the Congressional Medal of Honor awarded to then Cmdr. Fluckey. The 34 merchant ships sunk or damaged by Barb are denoted by white flags with either solid or hollow red suns in the center, or in one case by a Nazi flag emblematic of a tanker sunk in the Atlantic. Rising sun flags represent the five Japanese warships sunk or damaged by the ship, and the largest of these (top center) symbolizes the Unyo, a 22,500-ton escort carrier. The small merchant flags with the superimposed numeral “7” each represent seven smaller victims of less than 500 tons each.

The gun and rocket symbols record significant shore bombardments of Japanese targets, such as factories, canneries, building yards, and a large air base. Most unusual is the representation of a train at the middle bottom, which commemorates the occasion when a landing party from Barb went ashore to destroy a 16-car train by putting scuttling charges under the tracks. This was the sole landing by U.S. military forces on Japanese homeland during the World War II hostilities.

Battle Flag text courtesy of the Submarine Force Museum Groton, Conn.

 

 

 

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