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AET Barry Martin Searby

Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class

United States Navy

07 May 1948 - 16 March 1970

Santa Rosa, CA

Panel 12W Line 10


A Tribute Written by a Friend

While serving in VQ-1 from 7/68 until 7/70, I had the honor of being associated with some of the finest people I have known in my life. Unfortunately, some of those fine men lost their lives in the tragic crash of PR-26.

One man in particular, Barry M. Searby, was a special person in my life. It has been over 31 years since the accident that took his life, but his memory still remains alive in my mind and in my heart.

I first met Barry in Millington Tennessee in August of 1967. We were stationed there for training in Aviation Electronics. We were assigned to the same barracks. Barry found out that I was also from Northern California and introduced himself to me on the first day I was there. Anyone who has ever been in the Navy can remember how lonely it can be when you first arrive at a duty station and don't know anyone. That gesture of kindness was representative of who Barry was. He was short is size but very tall in stature. He became like a big brother to me.

He had been there awhile so he was further along in the training than I was. This was a good thing for me. Barry was a literally an electronic genius. He took me under his wing. He became my mentor as well as my close friend. I did well in the difficult training class, thanks to Barry's tutoring. Barry, quite naturally, graduated at the top of his class. Aviation Electronics school was no picnic, but having Barry as a mentor and close companion, made it much easier and painless for me. He was brilliant, but he was also just a down to earth guy, with a great deal of compassion and a great sense of humor. He was also very wise beyond his years.

Barry graduated a few months ahead of me and received orders to VQ-1 in Atsugi Japan. We stayed in contact by exchanging letters. Barry loved Japan from the beginning and encouraged me to apply for orders to VQ-1 when it came time for me to fill out my 'dream sheet'. I didn't care where I went, I thought it would be great to be stationed with Barry. I put in for VQ-1 and was the only person in my graduating class to get my first choice. VQ-1, Atsugi Japan.

VQ-1 was one of the most elite squadrons in Naval Aviation. Within the squadron, the electronic technicians we looked upon by many as being rather elite because of the training they had received and the fact that many of them were fortunate enough to get to fly (big deal for enlisted men to fly). Among the various electronic shops in the squadron, one stood out as being more elite than all of the others. That was the 'special projects' shop. It was comprised of a few civilians,a few officers, a few very experienced and brilliant enlisted men, and one young kid who was too bright to work anywhere else. That one kid was Barry.

By the time I got to Atsugi, Barry was already settled in to his routine of working in Special Projects and persuing his hobbys of photography and learning the Japanese language and culture. He took me to Tokyo on my first trip off base. It seemed like a different world to me at the time, but he was as comfortable as if he were in the US.

I worked in a different shop and I started going down to Vietnam right away, so we didn't spend a great amount of time together once I was settled into my routine.  However, we had the type of relationship where we hung out when we could and space just didn't grow between us.  Barry had chosen not to go on flight status and I was flying soon after I arrived, so a lot of the time, I wasn't around to hang out with. I don't know why he decided to start flying, and of course, I wish he hadn't.  But he did, must have been his sense of adventure.

Barry hadn't been flying long when the accident happened and I will never forget the sense of loss that I felt when he was gone. That was one of the saddest times of my life.

I live in Sacramento California. In Capitol Park in Sacramento, they have a memorial to all of the people from California who lost their lives in the Vietnam war. To this day, I occassionally go there and have a visit with Barry. He may be gone, but he will never be forgotten.  He will always live on in my heart, and I will always consider Barry M. Searby to be my hero.

God Bless Barry and all of the crew of PR-26.

written by Ken Stephens - kenstep (AT symbol)



I was in VQ-1 three seperate times. 1960-64, 1966-69 and 1973-76. One of the crewmen on PR-26, Barry Searby, was my "sea-son". I had taken him under my wing and was trying to steer him in the right direction.  I got out of the Navy in Dec.69'. I had written Barry several times but the letters kept coming back. They did not say he was killed. I heard through the grapevine that a WV had crashed at Danang. Knowing this AC had been especially equiped by SPODE I put two and two together. I made my one and only trip to "The Wall" and found Barry's name on it. That was my last trip.

Upon coming back into the Navy I took a different outlook on the Navy and VQ-1. I stayed in the Navy, advanced to AVCM and decided to go for Warrant Officer and as a result retired in March of 1994 as a CWO-4.  As a Master Chief, I was in charge of AIMD Rota, Spain. This gave me the opportunity to deal with VQ-2 on a daily basis. I still think of Barry and every one in VQ-1/2 all the time. I basically "grew-up" in VQ-1.

Paul A. Bennett  - deepsea29 (AT symbol) - (from Guestbook entry)


Memorial Tribute
Email received 22 Jan 2013 from Eric Carlson:
My Dad was a friend of Barry Searby. I was going through his lockbox the other day and found some pictures he had taken of/with Barry.  I asked him if he would relate to me his story of how they met, and I was intrigued.  This prompted me to do an internet search to see who else might have known him.  This is how I came upon your site and the memorial/tribute to Mr. Searby.  I've put together a little Memorial, and I figured I'd pass it along to you.  Perhaps it could be added to the page? Take care, and enjoy the rest of your week!


Guestbook Entry by Edd Vinci
11:39am 03-02-2020

This is a wonderful page and the messages left touch my soul.Barry Searby was a good friend since Slater Jr. High school.I am one of the admins on our class Facebook group I will honor and Remember Barry on 3-16-20 50 years.Thank you to that served and also to those that will always remember.



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