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John Michael Bermingham

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John Michael Bermingham was an officer in the United States Navy. He was born in New York City on 5 July 1905 and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1929.

Naval career[edit]

During the 1930s, Bermingham served in many ships, including the battleships USS Utah (BB-31), USS Wyoming (BB-32) and the cruiser USS Augusta (CA-31), as well as various shore stations. He achieved the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

World War II[edit]

In 1940, Bermingham was appointed executive officer of destroyer USS Stewart (DD-224). At the outbreak of war with Japan, on 7 December 1941, Bermingham was on his way home for leave. During the first Japanese attack on Cavite, Philippines, on 10 December, the commanding officer of the destroyer USS Peary (DD-226), H.H. Keith, was wounded. Bermingham was ordered to take command on 11 December 1941.[1]

The ship was assigned to offshore patrol and came under heavy air attack many times in the following days. Excellent seamanship during bombing and torpedo attacks 26 and December 27 saved her from destruction.

Despite Japanese air superiority, Bermingham succeeded in bringing his ship to Darwin, Australia, to operate with American-British-Dutch-Australian Command naval forces attempting to hold the "Malay Barrier". Peary operated with the cruiser USS Houston (CA-30) in early February.

In mid-February, Peary was part of an unsuccessful attempt to resupply Allied forces under attack on Timor. She was anchored at Darwin when the Japanese attacked in a massive bombing raid on 19 February 1942. Bermingham got his ship underway and attempted to maneuver in the restricted waters; but, despite valiant antiaircraft fire, his ship was hit with five bombs. Bermingham and about 80 of his crew went down with the ship. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his courage and leadership while commanding Peary during this crucial early period of the war.

See also[edit]


Other articles of the topic World War II : Albert T. Harris, Norman Dike, Edwin Alfred Howard, George Emerson Conklin, Gust J. Swenning, World War II, William Finnic Cates
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  1. Wilde, E. Andrew Jr (Editor). "The U.S.S. Peary (DD-226) in World War II, Manila to Darwin, 12/10/41–2/19/42: Documents and Photographs" (PDF). Author. Retrieved 11 February 2012.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  • John M. Bermingham, This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.



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