I somehow lost the "questions" page that I had once posted. Ah, well. That seems to be the nature of this computer stuff.
Naturally, I didn't have it saved or backed up anywhere. I think I remember most of what I had on there.
PORTRAIT: Whatever happened to General Barrett's oil portrait that hung in the main lounge? I don't think I knew or cared
who General Barrett was while I was on the B. To a 19 year old his portrait might as well have been one of George Washington.
But while searching through internet info I did see that the ship was named after Major General Charles Dodson Barrett who
was killed in the South Pacific in 1943 while commanding the Third Marine Division. Somebody must have a picture of the General.
Please let us have a copy of it. I have been promised many pictures but so far have actually received very few.
05: I heard from Barrett Smith from Thomson, GA today. General Barrett was his great, great uncle. And I did find a photo
of the General that I posted in the BARRETT Photo Album (see "LINKS" page). I don't think that this photo is of the portrait
that was aboard the ship.
23 JUN 05: Barrett has solved the mystery of the location of this portrait. He says that it
is in the OCS building in Camp Barrett at Quantico. Now all we need do is get somebody to take a picture of it so I can put
it in one of the photo albums. Maybe I'll get lucky enough to get there myself oneday and get myself in the picture. If I
hadn't been so dumb in my youth, I would have taken a picture of when I had the chance. Ah, well.
(15 APR 07): I think
that I said somewhere that I couldn't remember where, in the lounge, that the General's portrait hung but that it probably
hung on the aft bulkhead. It couldn't have hung very well on either the port or starboard side of the lounge because that
was pretty much all glass. It couldn't have hung very well on the forward bulkhead because of that large door in the middle
of the bulkhead that led out into that large, transverse, passageway where the Purser's office was located. Recently I "purloined"
a photo of the Geiger lounge which I will post someday when it's "safe". It shows the General's photo posted on the aft bulkhead,
in the middle, between those two doorways that went aft. I'm virtually positive that is also where General Barrett's photo
LOGBOOKS: Were there ever any logbooks and, if so, where are they? I don't remember anyone keeping
any logbooks for the Military Department but, knowing the Navy, you would think we had something like a logbook. I would
suppose the ship's merchant marine crew kept some sort of logbook.
7-4-06: Both Howard Bartholff (from Richmond, VA)
and I have been diligently looking for logbooks for any of the three BARRETT class ships, to no avail. It is quite possible
that they were destroyed but there is a slight chance that they are still around somewhere. We'll keep looking. It would
be a shame if they had been destroyed. OCT 06: I THINK that I may have found the logbooks using the Freedom of Information
Act! I should know for sure about NOV 15th.
At the June 2006 AP TROOP TRANSPORT GROUP reunion in Virginia Beach,
VA (my first time with them) I got to talk to a lot of the old-timers. Many of them accompanied their ships to the scrapyard
and were allowed to take with them whatever they could carry off. Some of them took their ship's logbooks because they were
told that the logbooks were going to be destroyed if somebody didn't take them. So, somebody may have taken our logbooks
and they may still show up some day. They may be even now in some maritime museum, uncatalogued and unknown to the present
day curators. So we are still holding on to hope.
WEAPONS: Were there any weapons on board? I don't remember
anybody having any. Maybe the CO MILDEP had a firearm or two. Surely, you would think, the merchant marine crew had something
or other. I never did even think of it when I was on board.
21 NOV 04: I just made contact with Joe Colon a few days
ago. Joe was Chief Master-at-Arms on board in 1952-53. He said that he knew of no weapons on board but thought that probably
the Captain did have a couple of 45's and a couple of carbines. I'll be posting some information on Joe soon.
I was allowed back on the BARRETT on June 7, 2006. In the Captain's office was a fairly large safe like a gun safe that could
easily have contained some long guns as well as some 45's. We'll have the answer to this question someday also.
NAMES: What were the deck names and how were they organized? Undoubtedly we had a main deck and a promenade deck. Guess
the troop deck was called just that. Anybody remember? I have seen Sun deck and Boat deck used in several places also. I
think it went, from bottom to top, troop deck, main deck, promenade deck, boat deck, sun deck. I wonder if there was ever
a schematic diagram like today's cruise ships offer showing a vertical arrangement of the decks and then a horizontal schematic
diagram of each deck? I don't remember us ever having one on board. I haven't run across one on the internet either.
JUL 06: Howard Bartholf from Richmond, VA sailed on the UPSHUR and has been doing some research on all three of these ships.
He sent me some information on the "BARRETT CLASS" ships that includes some plans and profiles of the ship. I'm going to
spend some time looking at that again and see if I can figure it out. I don't see any mention of a Troop Deck but I see mention
of A, B, C, D, Hold, Upper, Poop, Promenade, Boat, Navigation, and Sun decks.
7-3-06: OK! I think I have it all doped
out now. There were TEN decks! Yes, 10, if you count the hold as a deck. The hold was the lowest level. Then came A, B,
C, D, with D being the lowest. We always called A Deck the Troop Deck. I never heard it called A Deck. B Deck is where
the troop dining hall was and also where the cabin class dining hall was. Next the specs call it the Upper Deck but I'm pretty
sure we never called that deck by that name either. I'm pretty sure that we called that the Main Deck. Above that was the
Promendade Deck, the deck with the windows and deck chairs, the lounge, the Purser's Office, the soda fountain and ship's
store, the chaplain's office and the like. Above that the Boat Deck where the lifeboats hung and where we all did those lifeboat
drills just after we got underway each time. Wasn't that fun? It was probably exciting for first-timers. Then came the Sun
Deck (you cabin class people know about that one) and then the Navigation Deck which was basically the bridge or wheelhouse.
Well, I'm glad that I finally figured that all out.
LAUNDRY: Where did we do laundry? I can't remember ever
having done laundry on board but we must have had some facilities.
OFFICE EQUIPMENT: Where was our mimeographing
equipment and stuff like that? Bill Silver thinks it was in the Troop Office. That would be likely. But those things needed
maintenance. Who took care of that? I don't remember ever doing it. And would we have shared that stuff with the troop complement?
I doubt it. But I can't remember anything about its location or maintenance. A lot of that stuff occasionally needs professional
maintenance and I don't remember anyone ever coming on board to fix anything.
5 SEP 06: On 5 JUN 06 I was allowed back
on board the ship for a few hours. See the "links" page to get to the pictures of that visit. Although I went pretty thoroughly
through all the spaces that we MILDEP people inhabited, nothing came to me about where the office equipment would have been
or where we would have done laundry. I thought that questions like that would be answered by a return visit to the ship but
they weren't. NOW I need a return-return visit if I can ever figure out how to wheedle one. I know that it "sounds" crazy
(and, probably, certifiably is!) but I would love to spend an overnight aboard armed with sleeping bag, water, lantern, some
good stuff to eat, etc. I would even like to be aboard for the duration of a hurricane! In that case probably the MARAD people
would be even more nervous and anxious than I would be. I would be the one on board and having fun and they would be the
ones ashore but fearful! Go figure on that one. I did have a nickname given to me by the crew. It wasn't "Crazy" but it was
similar. But I'm not going to tell you what it was, either.
THE MONEY: I got to thinking about it and wondered
where we kept the money from the ship's stores and "gedunks". There must have been quite a bit of money taken in at these
places in the course of a trip. Silver said the money was kept in the Purser's safe. Silver couldn't remember how much money
was there at the end of the trip but recalled that it was "substantial". Silver had a 30 year Navy career rising to the rank
of LCDR. He said that he served on a carrier (The Independence) sometime after becoming an officer and that they had five
million dollars on board! Five million dollars! That's a lot of money anyway you look at it.
BARRETTIANS: We need
to call ourselves something. How about Barretians? And would that be with a soft "T" or a hard "T"? It sounds better with
a soft "T".
LEAVE AND LIBERTY: What was our leave and liberty policy? I don't recall anyone ever taking
any leave or missing the ship due to leave during the year that I was on her. Liberty? What did we do for liberty? We were
only back in S.F. for a week or ten days before we were gone again. Weren't we? Weren't we on some sort of "open liberty"
arrangement? Sort of a "be back for the sailing and let us know how to reach you in the meantime"? There was absolutely no
reason for any of us to be aboard when the ship was empty and, as I recall, all of us from top to bottom were packed and ready
to split when the last passenger went down that gangway. We practically knocked the stragglers over on the pier as we departed!
I never remember spending any time aboard (hardly any) when the ship was empty. We were in drydock that one time in Oakland.
About July of 1955? We were there two or three weeks weren't we? And the ship was noisy during that time. I know I wasn't
aboard during that time and I didn't take leave, either. Seems like we all showed up about the night before sailing if we
lived a long way away or early that morning if we lived close. But it's another peculiarity of my memory. I just don't remember.
I don't recall us ever doing any kind of muster anywhere at any time. We were just expected to be there and ready at the right
time and we were.
September 2004: Coronation ("Connie") Helm got in touch with me and we have talked quite a bit. She
said they would not allow the Waves to stay on board when the ship was back in the states. They had to go to Treasure Island.
I guess that the Navy, rightfully, was concerned about their safety on the ship while it was in port in the U.S. since the
ship was pretty much deserted and I'm not sure there was any security on board or at the gangplank.
Remember that the BARRETT started its career on the east coast and made several trips to Germany. (See the "LINKS" page and
"A.T. POLAND Jr.'s WILD RIDE". Allan calls it the Brantner but he must have meant BARRETT. Also see "JAMES HINKLE'S INTERVIEW".)
But by 1953 it was operating on the west coast. It must have used the Panama Canal to get from one coast to the other. (21
NOV 04): I just talked with Joe Colon a few days ago. He was on board for the trip from the East Coast to the West Coast.
They passed through the Panama Canal in January or February of 1953. He said that it was a great trip. See the "LOG" page.
WHAT BECAME OF THE PADRE?: Ltjg William A. Getchey, the chaplain, the "padre". 1926-2001. Interesting, likeable guy.
He had come on board Feb 7 1955 according to one of his letters and departed 17 Nov 55. I thought that he was still there
when I left in March of April of 1956. I can't remember who his replacement was, if any. Do any of you remember? He stayed
in touch with me throughout his lifetime. He got out a year or two later and worked at a couple of churches in the S.F. Bay
Area for a few years and then became a California state park ranger at the Sonoma State Park in northern California, a job
at which he stayed until retirement. He would write or call me several times a year. Several years before his death it seemed
to me that I had not heard from him in a while so I tried to call him. Disconnected, no forwarding number. So I tried to write.
Returned, no forwarding address. So I knew that something had befallen him. It was not for several years thereafter that I
found his name in the social security death index and knew that he had passed away on 16 Feb 2001. Something must have hit
him like a stroke or something that really incapacitated him suddenly and from which he never recovered or he would have let
me know. He had a lot of his old Navy stuff and pictures that he wanted me to have if he passed away. He had no relatives
that I know of so I would imagine that most of that stuff wound up in the landfill or the second-hand stores. If he's in heaven,
and I believe he is, he doesn't really care that much but I would have liked to have had it, particularly the pictures. He
took many more photos than I did. I did contact the probate clerk at the Superior Court in Sonoma County to see if there was
any record of probate but there was none. Would sure like to know what happened to him, where he "rests", and where his old
Navy stuff would be.
THE WHEEL: The Wheel has been removed from the bridge. Whatever became of that?
THE ELEVATOR: The elevator, as I now recall, ran for seven levels. It ran from B deck to the Sun Deck. But was it run
by pulleys and cables or was it hydraulic? It seemed to work just fine all the time I was aboard but in June of 2006 I was
back aboard and accompanied by Erhard Koehler who was a cadet on board when the NY Maritime Academy had the ship. He said
that he thought that it had only worked one short period of time (a few days) during all the time that he was aboard. I used
it a few times when I was aboard but I preferred the stairs and passageways. It wasn't very big, it wasn't very fast, and
it usually was occupied and full when we had cabin class passengers on board.
FREIGHT ELEVATOR? Having thought
some more about the storage areas below the Troop Deck, it occurred to me that there had to be a freight elevator running
from the Troop Deck down to the lower decks. As I looked at the drawings that I have it looks like there was. It was in
the transverse passageway that ran between room #6 and room #8 and it was on the starboard side of the ship's centerline.
Does anybody remember using it? Was there one there?
TROOPSHIP?: I just recently (APR 07) ran across some information
and photos indicating that the B, by at least 1965, was strictly a troopship like our USS MSTS counterparts. No civilians
were being carried and troops were even being berthed on the port and starboard sides of the Promenade Deck. Brian Kron,
who was on board 1967-68, said that during his time there the ship was carrying "all military units to VN". Does anybody have
any more information about this transformation? When it occurred? Did it ever change? etc. Wow, what a change. I'm not sure
that I would like my old world back again but I sure would like to have a time machine to visit some of the better parts of
it now and then.
THE CREW: And, perhaps, the most important question of all: Where are you all? What happened
MORE: Well, I'll try to think of other questions as time goes by and hope that I don't "lose" this page
again. I hope that some of you will come up with some answers. Or, maybe some more questions.
SEP 2007: Bill Gates, the richest man in the world, was born in October of 1955. I was only about six months from getting
out of the Navy then. In April of 1956, when I did get out, I should have gone over to his house and made a deal. I could
have said, "Kid, here's twenty bucks and a carton of Eskimo Pies. Now for that I want to be your partner, 50-50, in any business
that you get into until you are 65 years old". I might have had to make if forty bucks and two cartons of ice cream but it
would have been worth it.
PHOTOS: Where are the photos of the ship while it was under construction? There had
to be numerous such photos. Perhaps I'll try the Freedom of Information Act again. Does anybody have any information on
the existence of these photos?