USNS BARRETT (T-AP 196)


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  • LOG OF THE BARRETT
  • I haven't found any information about logbooks but the way material is finding its way on to the net these days I would not be surprised to find ship's logbooks on line before long. In the meantime I have been finding bits and pieces of where the BARRETT was so I'll try to reconstruct something of a logbook. I'll try to arrange this material chronologically. If any of you have any information, please email it to me. I can't remember now where I found this stuff. I just copied it when I found it. You can find it also by using whatever is your favorite search engine and then putting in "USNS BARRETT" and then looking at EVERYTHING that comes up, no matter how unimportant it looks.
    (FEB 2006:) I have a new lead on where logbooks may be. I'm following up on that now.
    (SEP 06): I have submitted a Freedom of Information Request with the Military Sealift Command at the Washington Navy Yard to see if they have or know where these logs are. (OCT 06): I THINK I may have found the logbooks. I'll know for sure about the middle of November!
    (19 NOV 06): Bummer! I worked with a nice guy at the Military Sealift Command on this Freedom of Information request. He diligently searched the archives where those records should have been but he was unable to find them. He does think that they are there but that they were not properly indexed or archived. So, I'm still holding out hope that we will yet find them. I was enthused over this latest search and was greatly disappointed when they could not be found.

  • If you have written to me about your trip and I haven't posted it yet, write to me again and remind me. In reviewing my quarterly performance report I notice that I have done a fairly lousy job of getting everything posted here that I should have but let's keep after it. I may yet get everything posted as I go back through my old emails but do remind me, please. Nobody and no trip or detail or experience is insignificant. (26 MAR 07). (16 APR 07): I have done a pretty good job of catching up but still have more to go. ALL OF YOU: Help me fill in the empty parts, correct the things that I don't have right, and send me some photos! (P.S.: I'm not always sure all of these dates and information is correct although I have taken them from what I think are reliable sources. So let me know if something seems to be questionable).
    27 JAN 09: Over the years that I have been doing this I have had many promises of more details and photos but surprisingly few have kept their promise. If you are one of those who "owes" the webmaster details, photos, etc. then do your patriotic duty before Father Time silences us all forever. You owe it to yourself, the ship, your shipmates, your family, the Navy, to history and more. Amen.

    JUNE 52: James Hinkle was aboard as one of the yeomen. The USNS Barrett was a brand new ship. It was making its maiden voyage to Germany, and the purpose of the ship was to take fifteen hundred soldiers to Europe. There were four hundred fifty cabin class passengers; dependents, wives, officers, and, most likely, civil servants. In James' interview he indicates that he left the ship about June of 1953. On the "LINKS" page I have a link to his interview but it no longer works. A shame. But, fortunately, I did copy most of it on to the page called "VIGNETTES #2". I made a mistake in thinking that material that appeared on the net would be there forever. I'll try to avoid that mistake in the future.

    JUNE 1952: In late June 1952 William "Bill" Baker, USAF was onboard for the ship's return portion of its maiden voyage to Germany. Bill was completing 27 months of duty in Germany and returned with quite a number of guys from his squadron. He, too, describes a rough, miserable trip. He says that he never got seasick but most of the other people on board were sick for the whole trip of roughly nine days. I wonder if anybody ever had a smooth, pleasant Atlantic crossing? He got out of the service, went to college, got an engineering degree and spent twenty six or so years with North American Aviation and its successor, Rockwell, before retiring. Bill lives in Riverside, CA. Although James Hinkle, above, is earliest in time on the BARRETT log, Bill is the earliest in time for someone who is still alive and available. (entered 6 MAR 09).

    25 NOV 52: Joe Colon, who started sailing with the Merchant Marine in 1944 at the age of 16, departed the west coast area to meet the BARRETT at the Brooklyn Army Base in New York. He was aboard as Chief Master at Arms. Joe boarded the BARRETT 25 NOV 52. They departed for Bremerhaven 18 DEC 52 and returned 8 JAN 53. They departed 15 JAN 53 to Puerto Rico, the Panama Canal, Hawaii, Japan and arrived in San Francisco 27 FEB 53. Joe's log shows he was at sea 19 MAR 53 to 30 MAR 53 but he doesn't remember where they went. Sounds like just enough time to get to Hawaii and back! Joe's last trip was 8 APR 53 to 7 MAY 53. He only remembers being on Guam during that time. I don't think she ever returned to the east coast again until she was given to the New York Maritime Academy in 1974. Joe later sailed on the USNS SGT. JONAH E. KELLY and the USNS HAHN. Joe is still active with the American Merchant Marine Veterans, Gulfstream Chapter in Dania Beach, FL. When I needed help with MARAD to get permission to go aboard again in June of 2006, Joe came alongside at warp speed with no hesitation. I had others helping and things were looking good but it wasn't until Joe wrote his letter of sponsorship that I finally got the approval I needed.

    19 DEC 1952: Harold E. Gerren, now living in North Canton, OH, boarded the BARRETT with about 132 Air Force personnel bound for Bremerhaven. They arrived 28 DEC 1952. Harold says they were berthed up front in compartment 1A and it was a rough trip all the way. He, and most everyone else, was seasick the whole trip. (Those Air Force guys got all the good duty!). Looks like Harold and Joe Colon were on board at the same time.


    14 FEB 1953: SS PRESIDENT PIERCE INCIDENT:
    While en route to Japan with military cargo, the President Pierce caught fire when acetylene tanks exploded in one of her holds. I'm not entirely certain of this exact date but it was in February. The PIERCE was towed to Yokohama. The BARRETT was one of the ships that came to the PIERCE's rescue and took aboard some crewmen and passengers. I'm woefully short on details on this incident and will try to get more information.

    27 FEB 1953: First Lieutenant Martha E. Littlefield (USAF) arrives in SF from Japan aboard the BARRETT. This was the BARRETT's maiden voyage to the West Coast and there was a big write-up and photo on the front page of The San Francisco News. She had been in cabin #203 and had been assigned to the second sitting in the dining room at table #25. She must have left Japan about the middle of February. She spent that night at The Palace Hotel for the magnificent sum of $7.50!! On her hotel bill was a restaurant charge for $4.45. That must have been for dinner! The Palace was aptly named. It was then a very luxurious hotel on lower Market Street down near the Ferry Building. It was still quite elegant when I was last there in the sixties. Were those "The Good Old Days" or what? Well, maybe, if one had a few bucks. I was then still 16 years old and at a paygrade of E2 (Seaman Apprentice). I didn't make E3 (Seaman First Class) until 16 APR 53. I don't know exactly what I was earning then but, as I recall, my pay was $78 a month at E1 (Seaman Recruit) so I probably was only making about $100 a month in those days. Martha is now deceased. She had also served in WWII as a WAC. I got all this information from Martha's niece, Robin Littlefield. Robin has promised me some more information on herself and Martha. I'll post that when I get it.

    APR 1953: Bill Butler, a swab, leaves Oakland aboard the B bound for somewhere in the Far East. More details later after I talk more with him. He lives now in Milan, TN. Looks like he and Joe Colon were on board at the same time.

    1953: Harry in Hawaii, then aged 7, departs SF with his parents for Port Hueneme to pick up troops, then on to Hawaii where Harry has been ever since. I'm not sure of the dates. About halfway across he went to the dog kennel area to pet what seemed like a friendly dog but the dog bit him! Harry left me a message on the classsmates.com message center on 16 SEP 06. I'm not sure that I ever got back to him. These are some of the things that I have got to get back to and find out more.

    13 JUL 1953: The BARRETT is 350 miles east of Wake Island on a mercy mission. The B had been diverted early that morning to look for survivors of the crash of TransOcean Airlines" "Royal Hawaiian" DC-6B that had departed from Wake Island the evening before destined for Hawaii. The B arrived onsite along with the USS TOMAHAWK and probably some other rescue vessels. There were 58 people on the plane. No survivors. Fourteen bodies (or parts thereof) were recovered. It's an intriguing story. C. O. Hicks was the Master at the time. I believe he was the B's first Master. See "Vignettes #2" for more detailed information.
    (FEB 2007): I heard from Ed Glover not long ago. Ed had my billet on the BARRETT when this accident and rescue mission occurred. Ed now lives in South Ogden, Utah. His Navy days were 23 AUG 1950 to 22 JUN 1954. Ed's tour of duty on the ship was from 25 JUN 53 to 19 APR 54. Ed's photos can be accessed from the "Links" page. Look for "Ed Glover's Photos". (8 MAR 09):Matthew Eby, grandson of LTJG Edwin G. Eby, MC, USNR, has sent me a lot of documentation on this event. Some of the documents indicate that Henry B. Bruyn, LT, MC, USNR was the senior medical officer on board at the time but other documents show Eby's orders directing him to report aboard on 9 MAR 53 as the senior medical officer. Perhaps, as the time of this incident, the ship had two doctors aboard. That seems unlikely but could have been a temporary situation. Assisting them in this recovery effort was Henry G. White, HMC, USN. White may also have been part of the MILDEP but I don't know for sure. In any event, Doc Eby, at the age of 33, found himself right in the middle of a very tragic and trying disaster.



    19 JUL 1953: The BARRETT leaves Guam for the U.S. mainland, probably via Hawaii.

    "On Monday, 14 September 1953 MCB 11 was formally commissioned and was known as "the newest battalion in existence." LCDR James C. Castanes, CEC, USN assumed command. The officers and men of MCB 11 were taking on the gigantic task of getting the battalion equipped and ready for their movement to a forward area. On Wednesday, 14 October 1953, the men of the battalion boarded the USNS Barrett for parts unknown. After four days of rocking and rolling and a few upset stomachs we arrived in Pearl Harbor for a short one day stay, then on across the the International Date Line, where we gained a day in time. We were practically "Old Salts" belonging to the "Knights of the Golden Dragon." We arrived October 31st in Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines. MCB 9 was awaiting our debarkation so that they could embark for their long awaited voyage the other way."

    1953-54: Late 53 or early 54 Walter Gray, then a YN3, makes one trip working as the Chaplain's Yeoman. Walt had served about two years on the RANDALL. Then he finished his Navy career as a YN2 working in the mail room at MSTS HQ. Walt said that the HQ had been moved to beautiful Fort Mason in 1953 from that dingy old building down by the SP train depot at 33 Berry Street. Walt lived nearby in Simi Valley until 1991 and now resides in Laughlin, NV. Walt was at NTC San Diego in May of 1951. At the time of his enlistment he lived in San Diego so he didn't have far to go to report for duty. He, undoubtedly, also got to go home during those "Cinderella Liberties" that we got after about four weeks.

    13 MAR 55 - 20 MAR 56: Jon L. Gateley on board as senior yeoman in the Military Department. During that time the route was San Francisco, Hawaii, Guam, Kwajalein, Philippines, and return. The round trip took about thirty days. We were in port at the Oakland Army Base for about seven to ten days and then back on the same route. Sometime during the time I was aboard we were in drydock at the Oakland Army Base. I don't recall the exact dates. I think we were "laid up" for about a month.

    22 MAY 1955: Adela G. Docksteader departs Manila for San Francisco. Adela's grand-daughter, Heidi Dudley mailed me this information on 30 DEC 08. Adela died in 1993. Adela left a log of her trip showing times and dates. The ship left Manila at 0900. They arrived at Guam 0700, 26 MAY where they had a two hour "liberty". She didn't indicate AM or PM so I am guessing on these times. 30 MAY they pulled in to Kwajalein at 0830 (she did indicate AM on this time). 10 JUNE they docked at SF at 1109. (Undoubtedly at Fort Mason). She must have been up early that day because her notes say that at 0500 she could barely make out land but by 0700 she could see the Golden Gate and the SF tall buildings. "Awesome" she says in her notes. She didn't indicate a stop in Hawaii although I'm 99% sure that the ship did stop there because I was on the ship at that time also! Adela's notes indicate that she helped out in the Chaplain's office also. I was struck by the fact that I was on the ship for this voyage. This was probably my second trip and I probably ran into Adela. Heidi is going to send me some more information, photos, etc. I can hardly wait to see more and find out more about Adela. I wish that I had kept some logs or diaries.

    JULY 1955- JULY 56: Philip Brakebill on board as part of the Merchant Marine crew. He was a junior deck officer, as I recall. He remembers the ship's boatswain's mate that brought back some sort of teak "Junk" or fishing boat from somewhere in the Philippines. The craft was carried topside. Philip doesn't say if he was on board for that trip and I don't think that he was. It's a good thing they didn't hit any of those typhoons that others have written about while they were carrying that craft! I had heard so much about that trip that I sometimes think that I was there but since I don't remember whether it was carried fore or aft, or even what it looked like, I tend to think that it was brought back on the trip just before I reported aboard on 13 MAR 55. I have never seen any photos of it. Philip had previously done four years in the Navy from 1950-54 and was discharged as a 3rd class gunnersmate. Phil lives in Sacramento now.

    FALL 55: Larry Taylor (then twelve years old), his older sister Kathleen, and their mother arrive at Subic Bay from San Francisco to join up with his father who was the Assistant Fire Chief at Subic Bay. I'm not exactly sure of the dates of their travel. Check out more of Larry's history on my "LINKS" page.

    11 OCT 55: Ray Burdeos (then 19 years old) and his friend, Ruben Bostillo, board the BARRETT for their trip to America. They were part of a group of 102 Filipinos that had been accepted for service into the USN & USCG. I didn't know Ray but I remember that trip and his group well. Ray was taken by the USCG and spent his early years as a steward but managed to retire as a HMC. On Sunday, October 30, 1955, Ray and I sailed in under the Golden Gate Bridge and docked at Fort Mason Army Terminal in San Francisco.  See more of Ray's story and his book on my "LINKS" page. Be sure to look at pages 1, 2, 3, and 171 because I am in it!  Thanks, Ray.  Ray's military career was just beginning and mine was about five months from being over. We were the same age, both of us having been born in 1936.  God has certainly been good to Ray and me in the days following our nine or ten days together as shipmates on the good old BARRETT.
  • NOV 55: In late November and early December, twelve year old Frank Simon, his brother and mother, made the trip from San Francisco to the Philippines. His dad was a Major in the Air Force at Clark AFB. Frank says that it was God's grace that enabled them to make the trip and I would agree. Their travel orders clearly stated that they were to travel by air but when he and his mother showed up at Fort Mason for transportation to the P.I. nobody seemed to notice that and, not knowing exactly what to do with them, they were assigned to one of the two or three VIP cabins on the forward horseshoe part of the ship just across the hall from my office! These were usually held in reserve until the last minute for use by VIP's or high ranking officers and dependents. It wasn't until a few days after the ship was at sea when the purser noticed the stamped, big red letters that said "TRAVEL BY AIR" notation and they all had a good laugh about how things worked out. Frank later went on to college, got a Navy commission and served a couple of tours on the BON HOMME RICHARD as a supply officer. Frank lives now in Plano, TX and is an accomplished, published author. Learn more on www.franksimon.org.

    31 MAY 1956: Three year old Cathy Crose crossed the International Dateline and gets her Golden Dragon certificate signed by LCDR Robert Bidwell who was then the CO of the Military Department. She still has her certificate! She is with her brother, Gary, and her mother, LaVene. They are enroute to Subic Bay to join her father who is a civilian employee of the Navy and involved in ship repair. (entered 6 MAR 09)

    24 FEB 1957: Karen Cambier, then Karen Hunter, crosses the International Date Line and gets her Golden Dragon Certificate which she still has. She was traveling with her dad, Calvin O. Hunter, and her mom, from Guam to, probably, SF. Her father is deceased now. More on details and maybe some pictures when I get them.

    "On March 29, 1957, MCB11 boarded the USNS Barrett for our next assignment to Adak, Alaska. The weather from Seattle to Adak was terrible and 90% of the men were seasick, myself included. I decided then it was a good thing I was a Seabee. I didn't want anything to do with sea duty after that cruise."
  • 8 JAN 58: Dewayne Brown deploys with MCB 11 to the Phillippines. Dewayne says that he was among the lowliest of the low and working in the galley when he received word that his wife, back in the States, had given birth to his daughter, Cindy.  Looks like he and Mike Gibson (below) were on board at the same time. Dewayne now lives in Huntington Beach, CA.
  • JAN 23, 1958: A very young Mike Gibson crosses the International Date Line on his way to Subic Bay. His father, Seaman Thomas James Gibson, was stationed there. Mike was there for about a year and then returned to the States.

    AUG 57 TO NOV 58: Dick Chamberlin was on board as the Ship's Doctor. LCDR Bob Bidwell was still the CO. The good doctor then left the ship for the San Francisco Naval Shipyard until 1959 when he returned to Boston for Medical Residency Training. The San Francisco Naval Shipyard had been my duty station from October 1952 to March of 1955 until I was transferred to the BARRETT. Looks like the Doc may have been on board at the same time as Lee Harvey Oswald! More on the Doc later.


    2 NOV 58: Lee Harvey Oswald, a young marine already in trouble with the Corps, came home from Yokosuka, Japan on the Barrett. He left Japan on November 2, 1958 and arrived in San Francisco thirteen days later for his ultimate rendezvous with history.


    5 FEB 1959: David Barrett Fields is born onboard and underway from Guam to San Francisco! I just tonight (6 FEB 09) got a call from David. He had found the website as he reminisced about his birth 50 years ago! Fantastic. It's finding out and recording information like this that has made all this effort worthwhile. David has spent most of his life in the Las Vegas area. He is going to send me some more information and details and I will add to this. David's father was in the Navy. What does such a birth certificate look like? Place of birth is listed by latitude and longitude?
  •  We'll see. More later. David must surely have the distinction of being the only person in the whole world born aboard the ship at all, much less while it was at sea and underway.
  • SEP 18, 1959: Fifteen year old Mary Murray (now Mary Eitel) departs Fort Mason for Guam with her older sister Patricia, younger brother Michael, and her parents. Her father was a civilian employee of the Navy. They arrive on October 2, 1959. Mary says that she enjoyed the trip immensely even though she was seasick all the way. She left the island when she was twenty years old and says that she had a great teenage life on a tropical island. Mary lives now in New Jersey where she has been for many years. 
  • DEC 59: Ted Hillis writes: "In December of 1959 the USS Barrett was used to transport the recommissioning crew of the USS Coral Sea CVA-43 from the US Naval Station in San Diego to the Bremerton Naval Yards in Bremerton Washington. I am not sure of the exact dates." More from Ted about this trip if he sends me more information.

    21 APR 1960: JAMES SITEK, a Marine, departs San Diego, via Hawaii, Midway, Guam and Yokohama arriving in Okinawa on 12 MAY 1960. En route the ship hits a terrible typhoon. Jim says that one of the Merchant Marine crewmembers died during the typhoon. He didn't give me details about the death re whether it was typhoon related. See 1967-1968 entry for information about the typhoon that badly damaged the ship.

    SEP/OCT 61: Arthur ("Tussy") Russell, a "dogface" returns from Inchon to Fort Mason. Arthur is now a retired Massachusetts "flatfoot" living in a small Northern Massachusetts town called Dracut. Today (18 FEB 06) Arthur is on his way to Florida and some warm sunshine. But on his way he is going to stop by Fort Eustis and see how close he can get to the BARRETT. At the time Arthur pulled in to Fort Mason, I was just across the Bay at UC Berkeley's Law School (Boalt Hall) starting my first year. I should have been there to meet the ship and go aboard one more time. More later. SEP 06: Tussy did get on Fort Eustis, which is quite an accomplishment itself, but he did not get out to the Ghost Fleet. He did get close to the Fleet while alongside the banks of the James River.

    1961-1963: STEVE SMITH, a young Army officer with the 2nd Bn 70th Armor, travels from Fort Mason to Taiwan and back. Also somewhere in there he sailed to Japan and Alaska. He was also on board in 1953 as an Army dependent. His father is a retired Army Colonel. Steve was then a SFPD Sergeant who retired on a disability retirement but then later worked for the National Park Service at Fort Mason. He would make a great tour guide companion in SF, knowing the place like he does and being able to pack "heat" as he moves through the city. Steve lives very nearby in a neighboring city.

    1962: Gary L. Simmons was aboard as a teenager in 1962.His dad was in the Navy stationed at San Miguel and Gary went to high school in Subic Bay. It was Gary's first time aboard a transport. More details when I get them.

    APR 62: Wayne Golden, an Army MP, returns to California for discharge after having been assigned to Camp Kaiser, Korea during 61-62. He says that it was an rough and uncomfortable trip. Wayne took an early retirement from law enforcement in 1992. He and his wife, Sandy, live in Mercedes, TX. Wayne still rides motorcycles and plays tennis.

    JUL 62: Andrew Waters, a marine, enroute to Yokohama from San Diego, arriving early AUG 62. Andrew recalls a mid AUG category 5 typhoon with 160 MPH winds off the coast of Japan. He doesn't mention whether the B was in it or whether he was aboard at the time.

    HISTORICAL NOTE: You may want to look this up and verify it yourself but you may also remember the Admiral Halsey got the U. S. Third Fleet caught in Typhoon Cobra in December of 1944 in the Philippine Sea. Three destroyers and numerous other ships were lost. There were 778 sailors and marines lost and 146 aircraft were destroyed. Estimates were that waves were 60 feet high and winds were 145 MPH gusting to 185 MPH! I would not have wanted to be on the B during weather like that!

    JUL 62: Darwin Maring boards the BARRETT in Yokohama for a three day trip to Inchon, Korea. He was a SP4, US Army Mohawk Aircraft mechanic assigned to the 1st Cav Division, 15th Aviation, Bn. This was the first troop ship that he was ever on. He says that he had friends on the incoming trip to Yokohama when there was another great typhoon in the area but that the BARRETT had managed to skirt that. However, the ship was diverted so the Army troops aboard could render assistance to the areas that had been hit by the typhoon so that it took them about 30 days to get from California to Yokohama. Darwin retired as a SFC in 1981 and now lives in Mineral, VA. He says that he later returned to the U.S. on the old SULTAN (twelve days and a typhoon) and then went to Germany on the old PATCH. So Darwin has seen a lot of the insides of these whales. I'm reasonably certain they were both USNS ships, part of MSTS, and the SULTAN was named after General Daniel I. Sultan.
  • SEP-OCT 1962: Colonel George M. "Mike" Lind writes (12 NOV 09) that he was then a specialist 4th class when he and his buddy, Paul Marquette, spent 18 days on board from Inchon to the Oakland Army Terminal. They were part of the 7th Infantry Division but he recalls that the First Cavalry Division was on board also. A few days out of Japan they ran into one of those hellacious storms that caused many thoughts to turn to prayer and familiar hymns.
  • 1963-64: Terry Jon Limberg was on board as part of the Merchant Marine crew. He was the 2nd electrician. Terry had been in the Navy from 1957-1961 and got out as an EM2. The BARRETT was his first ship as a MSTS Merchant Marine. He was on the ship and docked at the Oakland Naval Supply Depot (I think this is the same as the Oakland Army Base) when they heard word that President Kennedy had been shot (22 NOV 63). Terry now lives in Greshan, OR.

    1963-64: Randy Aragon on board as a HM2 in the Medical Department. Randy worked the morning sick call.

    JAN 63: "Army brat" Paula Chamberlain is en route from Oakland to Okinawa. Her dad was already in Okinawa and she was traveling with five other family members. They hit rough weather between SF and Hawaii. She had her 11th birthday on board. They stopped in Yokohama, Japan to let off people and then on to Naha, Okinawa. Her trip was about 21 days. She now works for a shipbuilding company in New Orleans.

    FEB l963 the Third Marine Division boarded the BARRETT at Okinawa for the trip back to the states. (23 JUN 05): I heard from Barrett Smith again just a few days ago. I have mentioned him elsewhere on the site. General Barrett was his great, great uncle. Barrett reminded me that the General organized the 3rd Marine Division in WWII and was its first commanding general. I wonder if the marines on board for this 1963 trip knew that? I would imagine they did. The marines are big on history.


    1963: Michael Sutherland, who describes himself as "an Army brat", returns from Okinawa. I don't have specific dates for Michael's trip.


    1963: Teri Kincheloe makes the trip to SF from the P.I. (as near as I can tell). Since 1971 she has been living in Oklahoma. Not sure if her name was Kincheloe then. She left a message for me on classmates.com message board in AUG of 06 and I'm not sure that I ever answered. I think she went to George Dewey HS 8th through 10th, about 1963-65.

    MAY 63: Robin Fralick, another self-described "army brat" and now residing in Hamburg PA returns from Yokohama to San Diego with her mother and sister. She says it was just after Typhoon Olive had passed through the area (6 MAY) so things were a bit bumpy. She did refer me to a site where you can look up typhoons by names and dates and you can get all the details like speed, path, duration, etc.

    JUL 64 - JUL 66: Bob Grib on board as YN3 working as the cabin yeoman. Bob said that on one trip he also had to work the cabin class soda fountain because of a shortage of ship's servicemen but that he enjoyed it. The cabin yeoman worked in the Purser's Office up by the main lounge. Bob and his wife live in Grass Valley, CA. See some more info about Bob on the Bosum's Locker page.
  • DEC 64: Jerry Pobanz, an 18 year old Marine with the Third Marine Division leaves San Diego for Hawaii, Yokohama and then Okinawa. In April of 1965 he arrives in Viet Nam aboard an LST. Jerry served from 1964 to 1968 and currently lives in Utah.
  • MAY 1965: The BARRETT, on its way to the Philippines, is diverted to Midway to "rescue" the passengers and cargo of the USNS ELTINGE. They had left the SF area 13 MAY 65 for Vietnam aboard this old WWII rust bucket that had been in "sort of" a mothball status and hurriedly rushed back into service. The 46th Engineer Battallion (Combat) was on board along with other similar units. See the April 2003 article in the Vietnam Magazine for details. It's on the LINKS page. The ELTINGE broke down at sea and drifted for two days. Another ship towed it 500 miles to Midway where the BARRETT met it. Troops and cargo were transferred to the BARRETT. Troops spent several days on Midway while the cargo was being transfered. The BARRETT continued on to its destination of Manila, then Subic Bay. Then it took the troops and cargo from the ELTINGE on to Vietnam arriving in early June.
    NavSource.org says this of the ELTINGE: Launched 1944. Commissioned FEB 45. Decommissioned 29 MAR 46. Struck from Naval Register JUN 46. Reinstated 20 JUL 50. Relegated to reduced status in SF 1 AUG 62. Returned to service 13 MAY 65 (the day it left SF with troops and cargo!). Assigned to ready reserve status JAN 67. Struck again from Naval Register and placed in National Defense Reserve Fleet. Sold by Maritime Commission for commercial use in 1968. Scrapped in 1980.
    So I guess the old ship was just plain "tired" in May of 1965. I can't imagine what "commercial use" it could have been used for from 1968 to 1980.
    I heard from Conrad (Cas) Castro USA Retired, who was on the ELTINGE during this event. He had sailed previously to Korea on another troop ship and when he saw the ELTINGE he was pretty sure that this old ship wasn't going to make it to wherever they were going. They were not officially told where they were going but they all pretty much suspected that it would be Viet Nam. He says that they "landed in Qui Nhon with only our combat gear. We spent several days on the beach with no protection from the oppressive heat and sun. ... It was several weeks before we saw our vertical and horizontal construction heavy equipment and were able to move inland."
    Bob Grib (see above) wrote to tell me that when he read that account it all came back to him just like it was yesterday.
    James Stroud called me (17 APR 08) and said that had found the site and was having fun looking through it. He says that he will be getting back to me with thoughts and material from that incident. James was on board the same time as Bob Grib but so far I haven't managed to get them together. I think that Bob is going to be calling James soon. They haven't talked to each other in about 43 years!
    Bob emailed me a few days ago (12 JUN 08) to say that he and James had reunited by phone and had a great 45 minute conversation. If I was a multi-billionaire I'd try to get some reunions going in various parts of the country, all expenses paid! It's great to hear of people being able to find each other again after all these years. Sometime after that Bob contacted me again and said that he and James had managed to get together for lunch when Bob was in the New York City area!
    I heard from John Dyer on 7 APR 09. John was also on board during that incident. He was with the 84th Engineering Batallion. He recalls that the ship went from Midway to Subic Bay first, then to Manila. Then on to Cam Rhan Bay and Qui Nhon. He says that the tow ship was the USNS ALATNA (AOG-81) and that it took about three days to get towed in to Midway. John is living in Warrenton, MO.


    OCT 65: Mike Scully from Sarasota, FL and Corporal Jeremiah T. LaMark, from Chester, Connecticut; 22 days from San Francisco to Vietnam; First Infantry Division. Mike says that it was a very smooth, pleasant crossing and that he did not know Jeremiah. 5 FEB 07: I just ran across some interesting information and a photo from about this time and maybe even for this particular trip. It seems likely that the BARRETT at this time was carrying no women and children dependents and that they were even bunking troops on the promenade deck, at least on the port side, where we used to have all those teak deck chairs. Once I know more, I'll post it here with a link to the photo. Things do change, don't they?

    1 AUG 66: Denny (Doc) Cherry and the 2ND Battalion/34th Armor (the "Dreadnaughts") to Vietnam. Denny says they suffered an engine breakdown and some unusually high seas and storm surges but they still remember the ship and crew with a great deal of fondness and admiration.

    15 AUG 66: Last dependents to be carried on the ship were landed in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    22 AUG 66 - 10 SEP 66: Larry G. Slayback, a young Army PFC enroute to Vietnam. He was with the 43rd Engineer Co. and also on board were elements from the 11th Armored Cavalry and the 2d/34th Armor.
  • 22 AUG 66 - 10 SEP 66: Richard M. Cowan was enroute to Vietnam with the 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Association. They ran into a bad typhoon on the way that caused a groan and moan of steel under pressure  so loud it sounded like the ship would come apart.  Although somewhat nervous about the whole situation, Richard didn't get seasick and came to enjoy the extreme motion of the ship. Richard is the Chairman & COO of Transaction Processing Partners of Texas, Inc. in Round Rock, TX. This was the first trip the ship made with no dependents on board. 
  •                      
  • 8 OCT 66: Larry Larsen, USMC, departs San Diego in troop class arriving at Da Nang 27 OCT 66 with an overnight stop at White Beach, Okinawa. 1 MAR 07: I heard today from Lee Randall who was also on board during that trip. He was 24 years old then, had been in the Army for nine months and was with the 7th Batallion 13th Artillery. Larry says that also on board were 500 Marines that got off in Da Nang and 500 Army Artillery from the 7th Battalion 9th Artillery that he thinks got off down South in the delta region. Both artillery units formed up at Ft. Irwin, California. Larry has been in Oklahoma for the last 30 years.

    31 JAN 67: Neil Reed, part of the 31st Engineer Battalion was passing under the Golden Gate Bridge on his way to Vietnam. Neil said that the "Sea Breeze" was still being published aboard at that time. The "souvenir edition" of the Sea Breeze is dated 18 JUN 58. I have a copy of it. (See the "Bosum's Locker" page)

    30 JAN 67 - 22 FEB 67: Terry Maher reports that he was enroute to Vietnam with the 632 HEM Co. Terry now lives in Vermilion, OH. Looks like Terry and Neil Reed were aboard at the same time. I'm reluctant to post any email adresses because of "harvesting" by spammers but if any of you want to contact each other, contact me and I'll give you the information that you need.

    10 JUL 1967: 19 year old Terrence Joseph Kudrow, PFC, left the San Francisco Bay Area for South Vietnam with his friend Alen. On 30 AUG 1967 Terry was killed while fighting with the "Manchus" which are or were a part of the 9th Infantry Regiment.

    1967-68: Robert Goodwin, Robert Gillick,and Robert Doty, all army medics, are coming and going from Vietnam. All are still alive today and try to get together at least annually. More details on dates, etc after I get more info.


    1967-1968: Brian Kron, YN3,was on board as the Chaplain's yeoman. Also on board was Jon Rodriguez who had some sort of PN rating. Brian is not sure of the spelling of Jon's last name. Brian made three or four trips on the BARRETT but on his last trip was when they encountered a very bad typhoon. It ripped off one anchor, two forward plates, and did other damage. The ship listed to 46 degrees! Brian said that the Captain, whose name he cannot now recall, later told him that he, the Captain, thought that the ship was going to capsize. Wow. They did make it to Viet Nam, dropped off troops, and then sailed to Subic Bay for emergency repairs. Then they made for Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco for more complete repair. The Reserve Fleet at Hunter's Point was my first duty station out of boot camp in 1952. Brian left the ship about March of 68 and was discharged in April of 1968. He believes that the typhoon was late fall or early winter of 1967. He now lives in Golden Valley, MN. Brian remembers one of the card players in one of my photos but doesn't remember his name. Just for fun, and to get an idea of what a 46 degree list would be like, I got out a 2 x 8 plank that I use for work scaffolding around here, managed to get it propped up on one side on a ladder to 45 degrees, and then tried to stand on it! You try it! I would sure like to hear more from people who experienced that event. From some of you marine engineers: What are the roll limits for a ship like that and what is the effect of a capsizing? I know from watching educational TV that the Coast Guard in the northwest has cutters operating around the outlet of the Columbia River that are capable of rolling completely over and then righting themselves again. What would the BARRETT have done? Maybe I don't want to know.
    (10 MAY 2007: I think that I found that site that someone had given me awhile back that has the history and tracks of typhoons. It's http://weather.unisys.com/ There were two Category 5 Super Typhoons about that time. No.29 had wind speeds up to 160 MPH and raged 12-20 OCT. No.31 had wind speeds up to 140 MPH and raged 31 OCT - 8 NOV. It was likely one of these that did the damage that Brian describes.)
  • 4 JAN 68: Corporal Dale I. Hargadine, USMC, along with a mixed contingent of about 250 marines, leaves Naha, Okinawa for San Diego. There were only two officers on board, all the rest enlisted. This was long after dependents had ceased to travel on the ship so they were all "cabin class", about one tenth of the ship's capacity. About four days out they hit severe weather that caused the flooding of one compartment and reduction to a speed of about 3 knots. The bad weather lasted about three days. Dale says that he is writing a book and this will be one chapter.  I'm looking forward to his getting that book done. It makes for interesting reading. Dale was discharged 11 JULY 69.
  • JAN-FEB 68: Dave Henderson, with the 31st Engineering Battalion, leaves Fort Bliss to travel from Oakland to Vung Tau, Vietnam. Dave made it back from that conflict safely, used the G.I. Bill to go to flight school and has been a corporate pilot since then. Dave is now living in the Cleveland, OH area.

    MAR 68: Russell Mothkovich to Vietnam; 31st Engineers.

    APR 68: "Bill [William D. Chaney] and I [Dave Canfield] went over on the USNS Barrett to Vietnam in April 1968. He was an Air Traffic Controller with the 360th Aviation Support Detachment when he served in Vietnam. Bill was true to our motto "Above the Best".

    4 APR 68 - 25 APR 68. Michael Greenberg, an Army Air Traffic Controller, enroute from San Francisco Bay to Vietnam. See his account at http://www.geocities.com/Rocktman1/Page2.html. It's really great reading and he has some great pictures of your luxurious troop accommodations! He even counted the bunks and the distance between them. Bunks were four high with 18" between them. Mike arrived in VN on or about my 32nd birthday. It seems that Michael was on board at the same time as William D. Chaney & Dave Canfield.

    1970: MSTS (Military Sea Transportation Service) became MSC (Military Sealift Command). It was JAN 1950 when the Army Transport Service became MSTS.

    1970-71: Mike Dover was aboard serving with the Military Department in the Medical Department. Mike says that at that time they were transporting Korean troops to and from Viet Nam. Michael is now the Director of Software Development at iqSoftware byShaw Beneco, Inc. in Midvale, UT.


    MARCH 73: The BARRETT landed the last of U. S. servicemen to go by sea when she docked in Los Angeles.

    SPRING 73: The BARRETT is the last of the MSTS troopships in operation. At its peak, MSTS operated 58 troop-carrying ships.

    1 APR 74: Decomissioned as a USNS vessel.

    More to come, fore and aft. I already have a lot of information that I need to put in here and I regularly now am hearing from people and discovering new information from them or through search engines.

    7 JUN 2006: I got back aboard for about a four hour visit and photo shoot. Take a look at the photos on
    www.flicker.com/photos/jonsan. There is a link to them on my links page.

    13 JUN 2007: THE END IS NEAR! I learned this evening that the ship will be towed for scrapping sometime in the next 30 days. Keep an eye on my bulletin board page for more information. It borders on the miraculous that it was only a year ago that I was allowed back on board one more time for a visit and to take some photos.

    18 JUL 07: Towed to the scrapyard at Bay Bridge Enterprises in Chesapeake.
  • 18 DEC 2011:  Oh, my.  I'm way behind on this. I have some people and dates that I need to catch up on. Well, come 2012 I'll get it all caught up, I hope. 

    14 OCT 2012: "Bob" Rust from Northport, AL, 79, Military Department 1954-1955, transferred to Heaven (COMHEVCOM) this date.