A GOOD PLACE FOR A LOT OF GOOD
FLYING FISH: Remember those flying fish that swam along with us when we were in their part of the ocean?
We were traveling at nineteen knots and they seemed to be able to stay up with us almost all day. We probably were traveling
in an ocean full of them and it just seemed like they were keeping up. They appeared to be having fun and it seemed like they
appreciated seeing us.
7842 MILES: From the history of the Barrett one can see that she went a lot of different
places but for the year that I was on her our route was San Francisco, Hawaii, Kwajalein, Guam, Manila and back. I don't
think we hit Kwajalein every time over and back but we always hit the other ports. My little twelve inch cardboard globe
from 1948 shows the mileage to be 7842 miles if you go direct San Francisco, Hawaii, Wake, Guam and Manila. We did go to Subic
Bay after Manila but I didn't try to figure that out. And then, of course, that's 7842 miles back. It would be a little
longer if you went further south to stop at Kwajalein but I didn't take time to figure that one out either. As I recall, we
stayed overnight at Hawaii, one or two nights at Guam, two nights in Manila and rarely, if ever, do I remember staying overnight
in Subic. Since I remember nothing about Subic but the dock area, I would think that we did not stay there more than a few
hours. Kwajalein? Did you ever see the place? There was no place for a ship our size to dock. We anchored a ways out, maybe
in some harbor, I can't recall, and a tender came out to pick up and drop off people and goods. We were never there more than
two or three hours as I recall. None of the crew ever went ashore. There was no reason to.
MY SECRET SITE: Due
to overwhelming popular demand I have activated www.gateleyfamily.com. I'm not sure what I will put on it! In the meantime
I am now disclosing my heretofore super-secret, private family photo site previously only known to a select few. It's at
http://homepage.mac.com/jonsan. I now have a link to it on my link page.
PROGRESS: The progress on my websites
slowed a bit when Sandy's mother became ill for a year with cancer and spent several months bedridden. Sandy and I have were
her main caretakers. She died l MAY 03. We took her remains back to Pennsylvania for burial and visited old friends and relatives,
probably for the last time. But I'm cranking along again for now.
A MILDEP CREWMEMBER: On the classmates.com
site for the Barrett there are 19 "classmates" listed but it seems that none of them wrote enough about themselves for me
to tell whether they were MILDEP, Merchant Marine crew, or passengers. I did email one or two of them and never got a response
so their email had probably changed and they had not updated their classmates stuff. I did find another MILDEP crewmember
on another site. Bob Grib. He's also registered at the classmates.com site. On this other site, and from email from Bob,
I learned that he served on Board from July of 1964 to July of 1966, one of the longest serving MILDEP people that I have
heard of. See my comments somewhere else about the turnover of the crew while I was on board. Bob was a YN3 and said his billet
was called Cabin Yeoman. From what he said in his email it appears that he worked in the Purser's office on the Promenade
deck in "cabin country" and had the same job that Paul Johnson had while I was on board. We never had a name for that billet
that I can recall. As far as I know my billet didn't have a name either. The "chaplain's yeoman" was more of a description
than a billet designation. The yeoman that worked in the purser's office was the yeoman job that did involve a lot of "office
hours" and work. I recently reviewed a casette tape that Paul sent me in 1986 wherein he recorded his recollections of the
crew and the Barrett in general. In it, he said that he didn't think that he worked very hard either. I hope to hear more
from Bob on his experience aboard the B. I recently found another site that has a lot of good MSTS information and contacts
on it and some reunion information. It's at http://www.koreanwar.org/html/units/navy/msts.htm. This is not a "link" that
you click on and get there. You have to "copy and paste" this info into your browser window or type it into your browser window.
But I have now started a "links" page. You can access that from the bottom of any page. It's a little sloppy yet but I hope
to get it shaped up. Sadly, in building the links page, I am finding out that some of the links I have listed in this site
are no longer there. The koreanwar.org is shown on the links page. I check these links from time to time to make sure they
are working but remember that occasionally somebody else's website server may be "down" and you can't get to it for a few
hours or a few days. I just today (3-25-04) reunited two old shipmates from 1953 and 1954 from the SHANKS. They're both 74
years old and haven't seen or heard from each other since 1954. But so far I have had no luck in finding any of my old shipmates.
LOCKER: In my office there was a large locker full of keys. I had the key to the locker but I'm not sure that anyone else
did. You can see the locker on the classmates.com site where I have the photo album of the Barrett. It's the one over my
left shoulder in the picture of me and my brother. There were just tons of keys in there and not a one of them was marked!
And this was in 1955. The B had only been in service for about three years. I wonder what that key locker looked like at
the end of her service! Anyway, out of boredom, two or three times per trip I would grab a bunch of keys and set out to find
what they fit. If I found something I would label the key. If I didn't I would put the key in a section that indicated I
had tried it in some doors, but not all, and couldn't find what it went to. I think in the course of my time aboard I had
labeled quite a few keys. And keys: they were a story in themselves. We all had a bunch of them and most of us had master
keys. Most of us had received our key ring from our predecessor. There'a sort of funny story about master keys that I'll
post somewhere when I get the time. (JUN 2006): I was permitted on board for about a four hour tour and photo session.
While there I saw no keys at all anywhere. Perhaps MARAD has them all in their office on shore. I did write the story about
the keys. It's on the WWW.FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/JONSAN site under the photo of me and my brother in my office.
Weren't the MSTS Headquarters the most beautiful of buildings there at Fort Mason with such a beautiful and commanding view
of the bay? NOT! I guess I never got there because I don't remember them. And from what Silver tells me of them I think I
would have remembered them if I had ever been there. I think I went directly from Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard to report
aboard the BARRETT at Fort Mason on March 15, 1955 even though the headquarteers were right along my way. And I think I went
directly from the BARRETT to the receiving station at Treasure Island in late March or early April of 1956 to get processed
for discharge. Even after all these years Silver remembered the address and the building. 33 Berry Street. Walter Gray and
Sheldon Sidlow also mentioned the address but not the building. It was in that grungy part of town down by the Southern Pacific
Depot near that part of the harbor known as China Basin. Berry Street paralleled the S.P. tracks. It was south of Market,
down third street like you were going to Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard. Silver said it was a very old, dark, dirty, dingy
building that created such a bad first impression that he wondered what he had gotten himself into when he first reported
there. He wondered how the Navy or any part of the Navy could publicly associate itself with such a miserable building and
location. And there does not come to my mind any reason why their headquarters should be in such a location or such a building.
It certainly was not convenient to anything or on the way to anything worthwhile. I wonder if it is still there? Maybe it
was because much of the merchant mariners were congregated in that area. You would have thought that HQ would have been on
Fort Mason, even though that was Army, or at the Oakland Army base, even though that was also Army. We spent hardly any time
at all docked at Fort Mason as I recall. We were always docked over at the Oakland Army Base! (Ugh!). But whenever the ship
was in Oakland I don't remember ever spending any time aboard. Maybe overnight before it sailed to Fort Mason for loading
and departure. I do remember getting off at Fort Mason whenever we came in and heading for home down in San Luis Obispo County.
I don't think we even docked overnight at Fort Mason.
March 27, 2004: I heard from Walt Gray today who worked in the
MSTS HQ mailroom. He said that MSTS HQ was moved to Fort Mason in 1953. I knew I would have remembered that gruesome old building
that Silver described if I had ever been there. And I always sort of vaguely recalled that MSTS HQ was at Fort Mason. I'm
sure that I must have been there but I just can't recall that and I don't recall getting to know anyone there. Walt may have
some photos for me later. I guess that I was such a "short-timer" when I went aboard the BARRETT (March 15, 1955; I had only
about 13 months before discharge), and the duty assignment there was so pleasant, that I didn't bother to get to know anybody
there to try to wrangle something else. As more of this information comes to light I just vaguely remember reporting there
for a few minutes before I wandered on down to the ship which I think was docked there at the time but.....maybe it was docked
at the Oakland Army Base. Sure wish I had taken more pictures and kept a log!
THE SEA BREEZE: Carole O'Neil's father-in-law,
LeRoy, was on the BARRETT in 1958. He died about ten years ago. I'm not yet sure but I think he was part of the merchant marine
crew. Carole sent to me the "Souvenir Edition" of "The Sea Breeze" that she found in LeRoy's belongings. It claims to be a
daily mimeographed newspaper. This one is dated June 18, 1958 and is identified as being on the "inbound voyage". Presumably
inbound to San Francisco. It looks like there has been a complete change of personnel from the twenty seven months since I
had been on board. But this is consistent with my experience on board that nobody stayed aboard very long. The Master was
Henry T. Burnham whereas it had been S. J. Reddy in my time. The COMILDEPT was LCDR W. R. RUSSELL. The Chaplain was V. D.
JEFFERS. The editor was W. H. COATS, PNSN. The typist was DINSEL COSSEY, SP/3. (What's a SP/3?) The mimeographist was ROLAND
FOWLER, SP/3. And the artist was ARTHUR B. OSTROFF, PFC. Arthur was probably a guest artist for the trip. We never did anything
like that that I can remember. We did do a "Plan of the Day". I don't know what we did for world news. Nothing that I can
remember. If shipboard "culture" in 1958 was anything like it was in '55-'56, the Sea Breeze was probably very short-lived.
It's likely the "Souvenir Edition" was the first and last edition! Movies on board were "The Barretts of Wimpole Street" (ironic,
huh?), "East of Eden", "The Revolt of Mamie Stover" "A Man Alone", and "Cockleshell Heroes". Wouldn't it be even more ironic
if the Barretts in the movie would have been ancestors of General Barrett after whom the ship was named? The movie appears
to be a movie about Elizabeth Barrett Browning who was a well known person in literature. I think that I later read somewhere
that General Barrett was related to Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The Master's Noon Log showed an average speed of 18.5 (knots,
I presume), distance to San Francisco 417 (nautical miles, I presume), distance from Yokohama 4,181 and the sea smooth. It
also shows latitude, longitude, air and sea temperature, barometric reading, and winds. So it seems the B was returning from
Japan. I never got to Japan. During the year that I was on it, the run was always the same: to the Philippines and back with
stops in between.
16 APR 05: UPDATE: I just heard from Neil Reed who left SF bound for Vietnam on January 31, 1967. Neil
was with the 31st Engineer Battalion. Neil says that the Sea Breeze was still being published then!
22 DEC 2005: UPDATE:
I recently heard from Bill H. Butler. He was a CT3 (Communications Tech) troop passenger in April of 1953. Bill is one of
the earliest people I have heard from who were connected with the BARRETT. I can remember only Joe Colon having been earlier
('52-'53 as I recall). Bill was on his way to somewhere in the Far East. He has provided me with an immense amount of information
and documents that I will try to get posted. He sent me a copy of the Sea Breeze from April 21, 1953. From what I can make
out the ship is docking in Guam the next day. The Ship's Master is S. J. REDDY (same as when I was aboard) and the COMILDEP
was J.B. RENFRO (gone by the time I got there). It looks like the Sea Breeze was put together by volunteer troop class passengers.
I don't think it was ever published during my time aboard (APR 55 - APR 56). We did a Plan of the Day which, as I recall,
was my only responsibility aboard. I think I typed it, mimeographed it, and distributed it throughout the ship. The co-editors
of this edition were T. P. Flanders and B. I. Twiggs, both YN3's. The Art Editor was M. T. Davies, DM3. On board movies for
this leg of the trip were "Meet Captain Kidd", "Day at the Races", "The Raiders", and "On Borrowed Time". I can't say that
I remember any of them.
CASUALTIES: The MSTS Society website doesn't come up anymore. I'm trying to find it somewhere
else and I hope that it isn't gone forever. I don't know who maintained it but it was really good. It had a lot of history
of MSTS and the various ships and a lot of good pictures. They also produced a video that I have. It wasn't very good of
the BARRETT but it was quite good overall of the MSTS and the various ships. I found this problem when I was trying to build
my "links" page. If I find the site again, I'll for sure put it on the "links" page. It was probably the best of all the sites.
It seems to have only very recently "disappeared" and it may be that their server is temporarily "down" and it will reappear
7-23-04 Update: Good News! The site is coming up again but it says that it is under construction. I'm hoping
that the new site will be everything the old one was and then some! I have added it back in on my "LINK" page.
22 DEC 05
UPDATE: Bad news! I think the site is completely gone now. 28 NOV 06: If you click on that site it will take you somewhere
but you won't see the old content of the MSTS Society. Somebody is using the URL to promote something else. And that's a
bit of a sad note. The MSTS page was one of the oldest and, most likely, one of the best sites. So I have decided to remove
that link from my links page. All of these sites, including mine, are only one or two person operations and will probably
shut down with the death or disability of the webmaster. I keep my site paid five or six years in advance so it won't go dead
right away when I do but there won't be anyone here to pick up the phone when I'm gone. And there seem to be yet other reasons
for sites or parts of sites to become unavailable.
PILOTS: I had to watch one of those education channels about
ship's pilots to finally remember that we used a ship's pilot to take us into and out of SF Bay. Coming in, the relatively
little pilot boat was waiting for us. We came to a stop, threw down a Jacob's ladder, the boat came alongside, and the pilot
scampered aboard. On the way out, the little pilot boat was waiting for us again. This time, we came to a stop, ladder goes
down, pilot boat pulls alongside, pilot scampers off and then we get underway again. I don't remember a pilot at other ports
but maybe there was. Did I take any pictures of this or the tugs? Naturally, not. How was I to know fifty years later that
I should have?
TUGS: And remember all those tugs pushing and pulling in order to get us safely into and out of
the dock area? Well, in '02 or '03 Sandy and I did one of those seven day Alaskan cruises on the Staatendam. A much bigger,
heavier ship. No tugs. As you know, these big ships now have thrusters, front and back, port and starboard, that maneuver
the ship even better and safer than the tugs did. I guess that's all run by some sort of controller on the bridge. It must
be fun. Sort of like an arcade game.