Hey, Answer Girl,

In the local Wyoming National Cemetery is a small monument to the USS Barbel, a submarine that sank in early 1945 with all hands. Why is that in Wyoming? Were some of the listed crew members from Wyoming? — George

Dear George,

The monument to the USS Barbel (SS-316) was placed in the Oregon Trail State Veterans Cemetery in Evansville in 2006. It was made by Rick Potter of Casper Monuments and Rick’s Rocks and was commissioned by the United States Submarine Veterans of World War II, according to Bill Seid, of Casper, who helped make the arrangements.

The national organization placed at least one memorial for each of the 52 submarines lost in World War II in each state. The USS Barbel was assigned to Wyoming. It has no ties to the state.

The USS Barbel was commissioned April 3, 1944. It was in a wolfpack with two other submarines off the coast of Palawan, which is an island in the Philippines, when it was sunk on fourth patrol by Japanese antisubmarine warfare on Feb. 4, 1945.

There were 81 men aboard, most of whom were from the East Coast, Seid said. There were no survivors. A list of the men on the ship, their hometowns and photos can be seen at http://bit.ly/VzwooB.

The USS Barbel sank six ships and received three battle stars for her World War II service.

Seid is a Navy and submarine veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars. He was an associate member of the United States Submarine Veterans of World War II, which dissolved in September 2012 because of declining membership. Other veterans’ organizations, such as the United State Submarine Veterans Inc., look over the monuments. The monument in Evansville is maintained by the cemetery.

During World War II, submarines comprised less than 2 percent of the U.S. Navy, Seid said, but are credited with sinking more than 30 percent of Japan’s navy, including eight aircraft carriers, and more than 60 percent of Japan’s merchant marine fleet.

Answer Girl tackles questions about Casper, the universe and everything else. Submit your questions by email to Carol Seavey at carol.seavey@trib.com, call her at 307-266-0544 or write to Answer Girl, P.O. Box 80, Casper, WY 82602.

(1) comment


Those were some tough men.

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