This page is going to contain history and facts on the Barrett. There will most likely be nothing here
that you couldn't find yourself by going to a search engine and then typing in "USNS BARRETT", and then scrolling through
the voluminous information that you will find there. Use the quotes to greatly sharpen your search. I have listed some search
sites on the "LINKS" page. Having used many of them to try to find all the information that I could, I have to grudgingly
concede that Google is probably the best. On this page I will try to pull things together and reconcile some contradictory
statements that you will find in such a search. Some of the information in that sort of search is erroneous.
Joe Schreiner, one of the "old salts" from 1952, sent some me some nicely packaged history and facts of the Barrett from the
Naval Vessel Registry. He did a nice job of capturing the info and sending it to me in an email.I now have it on my links
Joe got to boot camp down in San Diego in January of 1952 so he was gone by April or so. He got to
do that "easy time" at Camp Elliott when that warm sunshine was probably welcome. I didn't get there until late July so I
was there in July and August when it was so hot that that Devil himself only came around after the sun went down. We have
been in touch through classmates.com and by phone. He has not had any luck in finding any of his old boot camp buddies either.
You can get info on Joe on the classmates site either by looking him up by name or going to the San Diego Naval
Training Center site. He's an interesting guy to talk to. Currently his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Navsource.org says that the BARRETT was "laid down" on 1 JUN 49. I don't know exactly what that means but I would guess
that it meant that construction was officially begun. The source also says that the BARRETT was launched 27 JUN 50 but placed
in service 21 MAR 52! I don't know what that means either! Usually when a ship is launched it is ready to be used. What
happened to the ship between 17 JUN 50 and 21 MAR 52? I think it might have been launched but that it took all that extra
time to get it completely ready for service. I don't think that it was used by anybody for anything prior to its MSTS service
although it was originally conceived or to have been built by the American President Lines as a commercial ocean liner. The
BARRETT was one of many ships designed by the noted naval architect, George G. Sharp, (1874-1960).
some aerial photos of the reserve fleet online but I haven't been able to make out the BARRETT in those photos. These websites
come and go or just change so if these URL's don't work anymore, ah well. You can see some photos at
See if you can find the BARRETT in there.
One recent website I just found is http://community.webshots.com/album/66281976Cgnkbm.
Check out ghostship 004. I think that's the Barrett. And I just found another great way to find some close-up photos of the
ghost fleet and I think the Barrett shows in some of these although it is not identified as the Barrett or the Empire State
(which was it's name when it went to the New York Maritime Academy). Go to Google and search for "James River" + "Reserve
Fleet". Use the quotations. You will find some nice pictures.
There is one website that says the BARRETT
was the third and last of its class. This is incorrect. The BARRETT was the first. In the Navy's "class" system the class
is always named after the first ship built in that class. Those three ships, the BARRETT, the GEIGER, and the UPSHUR, were
the only three of the BARRETT CLASS ships. As far as I can tell from the records, they were, essentially, each identical in
every detail except that I did see some information somewhere that said that since the GEIGER and the UPSHUR were not as far
along in construction when the Navy requisitioned them, that the Navy was able to make more changes in them than with the
BARRETT. However, I never did read what those changes were and I was never on board either of the other ships. The BARRETT
was (T-AP 196) and had been slated to be the President Jackson. The GEIGER was (T-AP 197) and had originally been slated to
be the President Adams. The UPSHUR was (T-AP 198) and had originally been slated to be the President Hayes. I was never on
the GEIGER or the UPSHUR. In fact, I don't think I ever even heard of them when I was on the BARRETT. I think they operated
on the east coast during that time but the UPSHUR later, in the 60's, was operating out of San Francisco and the Pacific area.
(31 MAR 2006:) The Naval Vessel Registry reports that the GEIGER was scrapped on 1/1/83. It had suffered major damage in
an engine room fire in 1980. And, as I recall, the UPSHUR is presently "anchored or beached" in Mobile Bay, AL and is used
for training for fighting shipboard fires and for combating shipboard terrorist or hostage situations. So it isn't hard to
imagine what lousy shape she is in.
You will also find conflicting figures as to the displacement of these ships. I
have found, on some pretty reliable sites and sources, figures of 11,000+ tons and 13,000+ tons. Both, I believe,
are incorrect and either the result of typographical errors of just plain carelessness. I believe from various other sources
of information that their displacement was 17,600 tons. Remember, a ton (aka a "short" ton) is 2000 pounds and a long ton
is 2200 pounds. Who says English is confusing?
(11 MAY 2007): Check out the flickr.com site and comments under some
of the first photos for information about what all three ships were doing and where in the mid and late sixties. That information
comes from now retired Navy Captain David Foote who served aboard the UPSHUR as the XO when he was a brand new ensign.
Remember that these ships were originally designed and began construction as luxury liners for the American President
Lines until the Navy decided that there was such an urgent need for troop and dependent transports that they "requisitioned"
the ships. They were extremely comfortable ships. We even had air conditioning. I read on one of these sites that the original
plans called for the main lounge area to be two decks high or "open" like most of these cruise ships today but the Navy decided
that they didn't need anything that fancy and kept it to one deck. That, undoubtedly, gave them more cabin class space.
There is an account of an October 1998 visit to the Barrett at http://www.sunymaritimealumni.org/NFFS/1998/nf981004.cfm.
For a pictorial account of my visit to the ship in June of 2006, go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonsan.
Michael Sutherland wrote to tell me about a great book. Michael describes himself as "an army brat" who returned from Okinawa
on the BARRETT in 1963. The book is "Picture History of American Passenger Ships" by William H. Miller, Jr. The publisher
is Dover Publications, Inc and is copyrighted 2001. It's a great book. You should get one. I got mine on eBay. It doesn't
have nearly enough of what I would have liked to have seen on the BARRETT but it's quite worthwhile. The author says that,
at its peak, MSTS operated 58 troop-carrying ships (p.86) and that the by the Spring of 1973 the BARRETT was the last of the
MSTS ships in operation (p.77). He says that the BARRETT landed the last U. S. servicemen to go by sea when she arrived at
Los Angeles in March of 1973 (p.88). On page 88 there is a nice photo of the BARRETT when she was with the New York State
Ronald Reagan: On November 8, 2006 I spent some time at the Reagan Library by myself, just taking
my time, listening to one of those audio cassette programs, and reading more of the stuff than I usually do when I go with
someone. I discovered that Ronald Reagan was either drafted or called to active duty (he had been in the Army Reserve) almost
immediately after Pearl Harbor and that his first duty station was at Fort Mason where he served as liason officer for loading
troop convoys bound for Australia. He wasn't there long before he was transferred to the Army Air Corps to work on and in
training films. It's interesting how the vines of history reach into interesting places and to recall now that he must have
been on those very docks that we were all on and doing about the same thing that we were doing. That is, organizing and loading
troops. I wouldn't imagine that there were any dependents going along on those trips but there might have been some civilian
civil service personnel.
There is just so much history that it will be easier for you to go the the LINKS
page and click on the links that say "History". The LINK page is page ten, right under Bosum's Locker.