- Carl Friberg -

http://freepages.misc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~slowbell/slowbel2.htm

http://freepages.misc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~slowbell/trough.htm

 

 

TOC

Carl Friberg 3/15/2007 Bondeson and his breed
3/14/2007 About Captain Bondeson, and other comments.
3/14/2007 T-AGS Crew List: The MSTS/MSC Crew
3/14/2007 A Commentary on the Civilian Captain ("Master")
on U.S. Navy-owned Ships
    3/11/2007 The Dutton, Southampton, England, early 1970s, and other comments.
    3/11/2007 Tsip, tsip, tsip - A Snow Job
Sea Legs...the Ladies That Sailed These Ships
      Bear Island
    More Sea Stories:
      The Ghost of  the Kane, Ghost Story #1
      The Pit, Ghost Story #2
      Graveyard. Ghost Story #3
      Nail Polish
      Chief Warrant Bos'n
      Seventeen Knots
      Anchor Chain, and Rusty Evidence
      Arctic Games
      The Doom Ops
      More Ice Capades
      Dream
      Monster Wave
      Party on the Ice (and Ham Radio W2ZK)
      Navy Rep
      Charlie Taylor C/E
      The Kane Rudder Incident
      The Geiger UFO Encounter
      Oakland An A Foggy Night
      Moon Set In Brooklyn

 

3/15/2007
Bondeson and his breed
 
  There were so many Scandinavians - "Square-heads" - "Box Heads" in ATS, later MSTS it was called "The Boxhead Navy". If you were a Swede especially ( Norwegian, Danes, and many others from the Slavik countries would do ) you were in rock solid...Torning - "Mr. Army Transport" - the Port Captain was a Swede, as was Bondeson.

Torning owned alot of property, and many bought property from him...so many a small town cropped up called "Torningville". Another thing was that Torning was a Mason, and wouldn't you know, most upper level Ship's Officers were also. They all belonged to the "Marine Square Club".

I didn't join MSTS until '58...well after the Navy took over from the Army in '49, and I met Torning...he was still around into the early sixties. He didn't do anything, like I said the Navy put him behind a desk in a bare room with a Non Comm staring at him. He had no official function, but he sure still carried alot of weight...he was "Mr. Army Transport" and still most of MSTS's mariners were from ATS.

I remember meeting him leisurely walking down Pier One in the Brooklyn Army Terminal. It was the only "open" pier - it had no shed like the other three piers. I was checking the draft as he came along. I never met him before, but sure knew of him. He asked me who the skipper was, I told him - "Saffer". "Oh...he's tough." Torning said. He asked me what I was, and I told him Chief Mate. "Oh...he fires Chief Mates." Torning said. We were getting ready to sail, and I just got word my wife was soon ready to have a baby...I wanted "off", but they had no one to relieve me. I told Torning that, and said: "Well...I hope he fires me.", and hearing that Torning said: "With that attitude he never will.", and laughed. He went aboard to visit with Saffer...like a mob "God Father"...just a chat.

Now that I think about all this, it wasn't until either Torning died, or retired...he was quite old, there was a mysterious bunch of old-timer "Assistant Port Captains" that met the ships in Brooklyn. They were officially called that...on the Navy payroll, and all. They didn't do anything except maybe bring aboard a cargo manifest, or papers, or whatever...nice old guys, though one was a beligerent old fart...even wanted to be addressed as "Captain" ( Capt Steen? ), though I don't think he was ever a real captain.

I guess these guys were "Untouchables"...like Torning. Spooky...what?
When Torning "went" they disappeared.

It had to have been tough for the Navy to "inherit" all those ship's and CivMars - Civil Service Mariners. The Navy didn't know diddly about running what was essentially a "shipping company"...a company also in the passenger ship ( troop ships ) business. Not only did they have to contend with the Civil Service Commission, but the Coast Guard...which in those days the Coast Guard itself still had old-timers from the Steam Boat Inspection Service.

Stories I heard from some of the old-timers about ATS was that it was one big "club". Vessel inspections were a laugh...these old "Inspectors" from the same "school" as the ATS mariners weren't too much worried about lifeboats, nor firefighting equipment...just keep it painted. Well, the old Navy wasn't much different either...if it didn't move - paint it. Like the ATS, some of those old Navy ships had paint so thick the ships were ready to capsize.

I was in the Amphibs in the early fifties, and the Captain - a four-striper was an old-timer from the Great Patriotic War, and he was a great guy...a real sailor. He'd come up on the bridge while we'd be anchored out, and I'd have the signal watch, and have a cup of coffee with me. He always smelled like a brewery. I knew he was boozin'...but never sloshed. That was a good ship - the USS Arneb - AKA-56.

So the Navy that took over ATS were of the old school too at that time. MSTS had it's boozers left over from the old days, as did the Navy, and if anything you took care of your own. You never ratted on a "nice" boozer. The Navy covered for alot of outright drunks in MSTS in those days.

"Shoe Shine Johnson" who later wound up in the Far East, and the Admiral behind the desk ashore when the Pueblo got in trouble, got his handle from the MSTS mariners. Johnson always looked for shined shoes like his. He also noticed ribbons. He questioned one Chief Engineer's ribbons saying no one could have that many ribbons, and made a big ussue out of it. He had to later personally appologize to the Chief ( Tony Quezeraga aka Tough Tony ). Tony spent four-years in Europe, and held almost as many decorations as that movie star did.

Over time the Navy Brass began to learn what type of men many of these "Merchies" were.

Speaking of Tough Tony...for my first command at the age of thirty-three I had him as my Chief Engineer. Tony held a Maritime Administration license as "Captain". How he came about that is a mystery. Anyways, for someone like myself who considered the ship's engines mine ( I used them...the Chief just took care of them for me ).

I figured there'd be fireworks over that. Guess there was no problem...maybe it's because I was a Brooklyn kid...raised on the waterfront. Ha ha. Anyways, while on Tony, he "came over" as an immigrant from the Basque country in Spain. He was sort of "adopted" by Sam Uriarte's father ( Basques too ). Sam was an ATSl/MSTS R/O from the old school. A "brass pounder", but technically "challenged".

Sam's real name was Sen, but even that wasn't right...it was supposed to be Zen...but that's neither here nor there. Tony married an Army Nurse...had a family, and later "dumped" the Nurse for an heiress in the Progresso Food family. As Tony put it, the lady "dressed him up some". Sam, and his family was a bit annoyed by that...after all Sam's Dad did for Tony. Neeless to say, Tony became a "celeb" of sorts...living the good life...big house, fancy car, etc., but he never gave up his black trench coat.

I had Tony again on the Vanguard down in Rio. Gone now...just part of history, but like yesterday...all those guys. Hmmmmm.

Oh. One thing about what Ramon brings up about "Chief Officer", and "First Officer'. That's ATS stuph which the Navy continued, but no one really knew the difference. The problem lay in using those terms loosely. Like the Army, the Navy used Sea Service Record Books...little booklets in which was recorded each Mariner's assignment.

In the "real" Merchant Marine - the Commercial side...when you left a ship you got what was called a "Discharge"...a certificate stating position held, and dates. You just kept all these separate slips of paper...they looked like large Dollar Bills...nicely engraved, and all that. Anyhow, what you were licensed as, was what was put on the "Discharge". No...not the Army, nor the Navy, for "Mate" which we are licensed as, they had to use "Officer", and to confuse it more "First Officer". This didn't mean diddly to the U.S. Coast Guard Licensing People. They wanted to see your "sea time" as "Chief Mate"...what the License said you were when you applied to sit for your Master's license. The dopey "Sea Service Record Book" said "First Officer". Maybe if it said "Chief Officer" it might not have been so bad, but they never used that. Boy!...did I have a tough time convincing the Coast Guard I was a Chief Mate, or First Mate...Mate, Mate, Mate...not Officer...suh. Ha ha.

It was really all so dumb. I told that SubLant Admiral after that Lt. Cmdr "appologized" for playing Captain that I'd be glad to, when I retire, teach the Navy how to man these non-combatants using Navy people. No licensing, no nothing required...the Navy guys know their fields in Deck, Engine, and Steward...just teach them confidence...how to run their ships using the Manning Scale the Merchant Marine uses...what the Coast Guard requires. The biggest hurdle would be with the C/Os...they would have to learn how to sleep at night with just a couple of guys on the Bridge; in the ER; and in the Galley. May have to do his own "Purser's" work, but what the hell...he'd have his own ship.

Doesn't that make sense. Gheeeeeeeeeeeez!

You may enjoy this:
http://freepages.misc.rootsweb.com/~slowbell/trough26.htm

Carl

 

3/14/2007
About Captain Bondeson, and other comments.
 
  Good ol' Bondeson...he was no slouch. Son of gun worked for the OSS during the Great Patriotic War...his brother or uncle was Port Captain of a Swedish port ( Gotenburg ). He sailed in the Swedish Merchant Marine, was an Academy Grad, sailed aboard passenger vessels as a ship's officer...actually played deck tennis with Greta Garbo. Few ever beat him in chess. However the source...that damn booze...poor guy went through hell with that.
 
Some of it was explained in the story he told me about his one true love...he never married. After the War ( WW2 ) he settled in the U.S. and went to work for the Army Transport Service ( ATS ). I forget the circumstances but one of the New York newspapers did an editorial on him. He had been for ages looking for his love, but she vanished...like so many after the war. It was that editorial which she found, and was able to contact him. They did meet, but it wasn't long after she died...I forget from what. It was devistating to him...she apparently meant everything to him. He blamed that for his boozing.
 
I had occasion to sail with him a few years later after the Michelson aboard the USNS Towle - a Victory Cargo Ship. We made a trip to the Antarctic and back, then over to Japan, and the Pacific. After a year I got off, leaving the ship in Philly. Bondeson remained, but was relieved some time after...the booze finally forced him to retire.
 
Just about fifteen years ago I heard he was in his nineties, and living comfortably in St. Peterburg, Florida...no other details.

Here's a photo of him ( wearing piss-cutter ) I just found this morning. It's taken on the bridge of the Michelson...the fellow with him I don't remember...maybe the C/O of the Detachment:
 
 
  The photo was taken around 1961, or 2. The next photo shows the Michelson in calm seas, gulls lifting off all in unison. To get that photo I held the camera at the ready, and flipped the control for the ship's whistle.
 
 
  While searching for photos, I came across this one of me from that era...a profile:
 
 
  I took that photo myself using the timer on my Zeiss Icon ContraFlex Super. Blasted time has really shattered that image......good grief.
So much for looking for old photos.

 

3/14/2007

T-AGS Crew List: The MSTS/MSC Crew

 
  Master. This is interesting, as only on government owned ships is the Captain ( Master ) listed on the crew list. On Merchant Marine ( commercial ) ships the Captain ( Master ) isn't listed as he/she isn't considered crew...he/she signs the Crew List, but isn't on it.

1st Officer ( Though Licensed as Chief Mate; Second Mate; Third Mate, MSTS preferred "Officer".
2nd Officer
3rd Officer
4th Officer

Bos'n (The Boatswain - Bos'n was ordinarily an Able Seaman documented as such, but MSTS could assign a less rated seaman to the position, but that was unusual. Strange thing, but in the early sixties the Michelson's Bos'n lived in Belfast, N. Ireland...wasn't even an American. Though later changed, non-citizens could hold American documents.

Carpenter (Same here as with Bos'n, usually a document Able Bodied Seaman).

Two ABMs (Able Seamen Maintenance  Day workers.

Six ABs (Able Bodied Seamen  - Watch Standers. These are the fellows who worked on deck, and steered. ( Required to be Able Seaman "Green" (professional), except for two which may be "Blue" ticketed).

Three Ordinary Seaman (Entry level Deck Department Seamen . Watchstanders also, and also steered...but not in confined waters.

Each bridge watch had the Officer of the watch (Mate), Two ABs, and One Ordinary...for a total of four for the Bridge Watch. They stood four hours on, eight off.

Chief Engineer
First Assistant Engineer (Same as the mates - Watch Standers, but in the ER...four on, eight off). The Watch consisted of the Engineer, Oiler, and FWT.
Second Assistant Engineer
Third Assistant Engineer and at first (on the onset of bringing the T-AGSs online) a Fourth Assistant Engineer....the First Asst. being a DayWorker.

I say here "at first" to mean when the ships first came online. In the late seventies the government began cutting out ratings deemed "unnecessary". First to go were the plumbers, second electricians, machinists, carpenters, jr. pursers, even pursers in some cases. Then the Fourth Mates, and Engineers...the Chief Mates, and First Assistant Engineers being placed on watch. These positions weren't on the U.S. Coast Guard manning requirements. The USCG being the licensing authority even though Navy owned the ships.

Chief Electrician
Second Electrician

Reefer Engineer

Machinist

Plumber (at first)

Three Oilers (Watch Standers in the Engine Room)
Three FWT (Fireman Watertender Watch Standers in the Boiler Room )
Two Wipers (Entry level rating for Engine Dept. Day workers)

Chief Steward
Chief Cook
Second Cook and Baker (same man...cooked and Baked)
Third Cook

Galley man (Messman level who worked in the galley)

Two Crew Messmen
Two Officers' Messmen
Two Navy Mess Messmen
Two Utility Men (Messman entry level rating - made bunks, and cleaned rooms, and passageways.)

Laundryman

Purser
Junior Purser (at first)

Three Yeoman (One for each Department. Came under the Purser but answered to the Department Head - Chief Mate (Deck) ; Chief Engineer (Engine), and Chief Steward (Steward) .

This position - Yeoman was reduced eventually to one...for all departments.

Radio Officer (R/O  Stands a daywatch of eight hours bracketed between 0800, and 2000). During the night, if he's not busy with incoming comms, and not in the radio shack, he puts the radio gear on Auto Alarm. If there's an SOS, an alarm goes off on the Bridge, and in his room.

In later years when R/Os were getting scarce, they too were eliminated. When I had the Hess I had no R/O, but I kept the Radio Shack "on". The Navy unit handled comms through satellite. On the USNS Vanguard working for SubLant, when Navy comms went down, though I didn't have an R/O, I had HF, and Satellite, and I did comms for the Navy myself until they got back up. The Navy didn't particularly like being without an R/O...an R/O still held that Warm Fuzzy feeling for all hands especially if ever emergencies should arise. However, the people ashore couldn't care less.

PX operator could be anyone. A collateral job for which the operator got a percentage of the take. It counted towards Social Security quarters. Even some Captains have been known to "take" the PX.
 

 

3/14/2007
A Commentary on the Civilian Captain ("Master")
on U.S. Navy-owned Ships
   
  Now...speaking of Captains. Merchant Mariner Captains are titled as Masters... an old English tradition going back centuries. Captain Bligh of the Bounty was at one time a civilian Captain. When he joined the Navy, he was given the title of "Sailing Master"...he "sailed" the ship. The Captain "fought" the ship. The Sailing Master worked under the Captain. When Bligh was given Command of the Bounty he was a Lieutenant, but was "Captain" of the Bounty. That was Military Tradition... the U.S. Navy adopting it also. A Captain of Navy ships, and Units can be of any rank, or rate... a lot of small craft like tugs have non-coms as Captains. However, unless of the Rank of Captain, none can call themselves Captain...for example answering a phone and saying "Captain Jones". It's Commanding Officer; C/O; or answer with his rank, and name. Captain is a rank and reserved to those of that rank. It's perfectly alright for those under the C/O to call the C/O Captain, but he can't himself (unless of Captain rank himself).

Now the "Master" thing. It's not like "Master Chief Jones"... you call Jones "Master Chief", but Merchant Captains are not called Master... they are "the Master", but called Captain... supposedly an "Honor" placed on them by the Senior Service... which in England is the Navy... in the U.S. the "Senior Service" is the Army...used to be anyways.

Where the "Master" fits in, like on the T-AGS, used to be defined in NAVREGS - Article 0733. Today it is found in the Code of Federal Regulations (Title 32 CFR PART 700 Subpart H 700.847) (1). In 1949 Congress transferred the U.S. Army Transport Service - ATS to the Navy - MSTS. At one time the largest assemblage of ships ever in maritime history, the ATS ran the organization like a commercial shipping outfit...even to one Port Captain ... a real Merchant Marine Captain himself. "Mr. Army Transport", Captain Torning was affectionately called. He at one time conferred with Roosevelt himself.

Ships weren't the Army's "thing", and left operations to the Port Captain. Though the Army did keep its Army Transportation Corps...a small batch of harbor craft mostly, they were glad to get out of the big ship business. So... all these grand ships, and their civilian Mariners, who pulled us through the Great Patriotic War so well, went to the Navy.

Now the Navy, which understands ships...combatants especially, winds up with these thousands of civilian "Merchies" - professional seamen, and their civilian Port Captain, overnight. They plunk down a Vice Admiral to head up the outfit in D.C., and for the Lant, and Pac Commands they assign a Rear Admiral each. The Navy with its "Pride And Professionalism" motto, note: Pride first, is in a dilemma. The "Merchies" with their motto of  just "Professionalism"... pride doesn't make money, just sit and wait...most very apprehensive.

First to go is the Civilian Port Captain...he's put behind a desk with a Yeoman to stare at him 'til he retires. Then the "Training" branch had to be established. These Merchies had to learn the "Navy Way". It all went along fine for a few years when all of a sudden COMSTSLANT, and  PAC...remember those two Rear Admirals ... had to go. All they did was play golf, and left the running of the outfits to civilian "Navy sanctioned" Port Captains. No good!

When one reaches Admiral, you have risen above it all...you don't even relate to seamanship, or knot-tying... you've "made it".  The Admirals had to go... in place came the "Captains", which they called "Commodores". These "Commodores"... really just Captains, though Navy, put their sights on all these Civvy Merchy Captains. Jealousy... perhaps... disdain... for sure.  First of all here you have these Merchies manning "their'' ( the Navy's ) ships... commanding "their" ships. Deep water commands... big ships lost to Merchies. Bottoms that should be manned by Navy skippers, and manned by sailors...not merchant seamen...and who don't even salute.

Now you can't fault them...I can understand that well. Actually, these ships should have been placed under a Civilian Agency... like NASA is. Being a "support" group in transportation, I often thought an acronym like "FLASH" would have been appropriate - "Forces' Logistic And Support Hegemony"... sounds nice. Civilian run from top to bottom... as it almost was with the Army ATS. No Navy animosity in that case...hell, they're not Navy ships... they belong to FLASH. I proposed this, but who am I but a lowly "Merchie".

No...for years good Navy men had to sit in offices while civilians had the fun running Navy ships...it wasn't right. It wasn't easy for the Mariners either... working under those you know secretly hated your guts... and rightly so. I know the feeling. I was in the Navy... I was a Quartermaster; Quartermaster Signalman... had both ratings down pat. I remember the moment like it was this morning. Over the top of the pier in Naples, Italy in the early fifties I could see this Victory ship...similar to the C-2 I was on... all gray, and spiffy looking, but with black, blue, and yellow bands on the stack, and with USNS
preceding its name.

"What the hell is that" I asked a shipmate. "Oh... that's a Navy ship run by civilians... an MSTS ship." he said. "That's a lot of crap!" I said. I thought that was awful... and really still do. Though I left the Navy, but wound up working for them some years later on "their" ships, how much nicer it would have been if it was straight "Merchie"... like in an agency like "FLASH".

So, to conclude this, MSTS...now MSC with mixed crews - Civilian, and Navy are a strange mix. The poor "C/O" of the unit, his/her crew calling him/her "Captain", and way up there in his/her lofty perch is the "Master"... who is the Captain. How many times have I heard Navy lads standing in my doorway opening with: "Mastuh suh"...like some servant from years ago addressing his Master. Pity the C/O who may encourage such. In one case, after assuming command of a SubLant tracking ship, I had occasion to touch base with the Unit Commander... a Lt. Cmdr... nice guy. We later became good friends/shipmates. I called down on the phone. "Captain" someone answers... I hear it right off. I asked who I was speaking with. "Lt. Cmdr ( he gives his name ). I asked him if he always answers directly with "Captain". He said he did. I told him who I was and suggested he report to my office.

Though he was six decks down, he was in my doorway in less than a half-minute. I told him to come in, introduced my self to him. He accepted the offer of a cup of coffee, and sat down. I then tipped him off to the "Captain" thing. I explained how SubLant likes things on the ship...especially the "one Captain" rule. Since SubLant calls me "Captain"... one captain is enough for them. I explained NavRegs to him. Others under him may call him "Captain", but he himself doesn't get that privilege until he becomes a Captain. "Captain" is a Rank in the Navy. Being a Unit Commander he can answer with C/O; or Lt. Cmdr Smith ... but not Captain. Nor is he to imply that he is any of the above of the ship... especially captain of the ship... which he isn't.

I also told him it made no difference to me, and that I was just tipping him off... most people aboard have a pretty good handle on who the captain of the ship is... which included him. Told him not to feel bad... every ship I take over I have to get through a half-dozen "Captains" first. He thanked me. With that said, we changed the subject, and got to know a bit about each other.

Months went by. Captains of ships for some reason or other, if like myself are open, and friendly with crew, civilian, and military contingents onboard, and occasionally have to listen to gripes. Whether it's on the bridge, or behind the desk (my office door was always open), if someone, whether military, or civilian feels he has to get something off his chest, who better than the man on top. As twenty years as Captain I have "counseled" untold crew, Navy, and sponsor. In most cases, especially outside of the crew, there isn't much I can do except listen...and that's all that's wanted in most cases. Anyhow, the man who would be captain had some disgruntled men...particularly one Chief... his Senior Chief. "This guy calls himself Captain... you know!" "Oh." I answered. "Yeah, and not only that, ashore he tells everyone he's Captain of the ship." "Oh." again I answer. He wasn't the first... I heard it from others. It may have disappointed them that I didn't really care... but it seemed to bother some. I heard this on other ships. In fact, there have been untold others other than the captains themselves who have played captain in bars, brothels, and even with their families.

We were ordered to sail for New York for the Bi-Centennial, anchor out in the harbor, and play host to numerous guests. We were but one of hundreds of other ships. After the fireworks a grizzled old-timer like Andy Rooney drops into my office to thank us for the hospitality. He then launched into telling me about some Lt. Cmdr claiming to be Captain of the ship; told me he was from Public Affairs in COMSC Washington, and was going to report him. An actual chill ran through me... this man was bordering on livid. I laughed it off, telling him to forget it, that the fellow was actually a very nice
guy... a good shipmate, and all that. It went on deaf ears...he was determined to "report him"... had his name, rank, and all. This didn't look good. My thoughts went back to when I had warned him. I could only hope this fellow was blowing smoke, but the next morning after we cleared New York I called him up to my office, and told him about the night before. I forget his reaction, but this time he did seem to listen.

On arrival back to our home port, the local MSC Commander...a woman, popped into my office. Said they got a message that COMSUBGROUP whatever was paying the ship a visit... had something to do with the Unit Commander.
 
In tow of  his Admiral boss, and right up to my desk, my now dear friend Lt. Cmdr was made to apologize for playing Captain. Worse, he was passed over twice after that... never made Full Cmdr. Such is life.

 
  (1) Code of Federal Regulations
TITLE 32 --National Defense
Subtitle A --DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
CHAPTER VI --DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY
SUBCHAPTER A --UNITED STATES NAVY REGULATIONS AND OFFICIAL RECORDS
PART 700 --UNITED STATES NAVY REGULATIONS AND OFFICIAL RECORDS
Subpart H --THE COMMANDING OFFICER
700.847 --Responsibility of a master of an in-service ship of the Military Sealift Command.

(a) In an in-service ship of the Military Sealift Command, the master's responsibility is absolute, except when, and to the extent, relieved therefrom by competent authority. The authority of the master is commensurate with the master's responsibility. The master is responsible for the safety of the ship and all persons on board. He or she is responsible for the safe navigation and technical operation of the ship and has paramount authority over all persons on board. He or she is responsible for the preparation of the abandon ship bill and has exclusive authority to order the ship abandoned. The master may, using discretion, and when not contrary to law or regulation, delegate authority for operation of shipboard functions to competent subordinates. However, such delegation of authority shall in no way relieve the master of continued responsibility for the safety, well-being, and efficiency of the ship.

(b) All orders and instructions of the master shall be in accordance with appropriate laws of the United States, and all applicable orders and regulations of the Navy, Military Sealift Command, and the Office of Personnel Management. A master who departs from the orders or instructions of competent authority or takes official action contrary to such orders or instructions, shall report immediately the circumstances to the authority from whom the prior orders or instructions were received.

[Title 32 CFR PART 700 Subpart H 700.847]

Current as of November 21, 2007

 

3/11/2007
The Dutton, Southampton, England, early 1970s, and other comments.
 
  Hi Earl,
Welcome to the club...that is Ramon's ( Ramon was a NAVO guy ), and mine...and a few others who have archived to our best ability that which has become forgotten...ships like Michelson, Dutton, and Bowditch.

It's spooky, but just about a week ago Ramon emailed me about someone who suggested chronicling the history of the program under which the Michelson, Dutton, and Bowditch...amongst other forgotten ships operated. A large task, actually impossible since too much has been "forgotten".

We wonder about "forgotten"...though all of this stuph is ancient history, and de-classified it just isn't to be found. To put it simply, whatever remains lies in the memory of us old timers...and time is fast running out.

I applaud your attempt at recovering through former shipmates the human side of these ships...we all have our story to tell..."sea stories" that can go on seemingly forever. That was my intention when I first posted my home pages over ten years ago...I thought it would become a "watering hole"...all my old pals discovering it, and adding to it.

Never happened. You well remember those dinosaurs we had for computers back in those days...didn't even have BBS let alone email. It wasn't until email, and the internet popped up on the horizon that most of us became interested in computers. It was just a flash in the pan...dozens of my old shipmates, MSTS guys got online...whoopty-doo, but it fizzled. I learned way back then sailors just love bs'ing, but to sit down and put their memories in print, forget it.

So I just went my merry way posting my memories for "posterity"...it was fun...killed time, and I'm still at it, though not as much...I think I have just about reverted to email for the occasional "sea story" between old friends. If I took all those emails, or even saved them, yes, then I could have written a book...a large book. However, though some of us are, I'm not into books. I remember it all...maybe that's the problem...it all comes crashing down in one lump...fatiquing to even think about. Ha ha.

I looked at your site, and it looks like a good start...like the format. Now to get your "shipmates" interested. About the fate of these three ships, I probably heard, but didn't dwell on it. It's too bad
http://www.navsource.org/ is in the midst of re-doing their site...it was probably the best site for Navy ship's history.

You have evidently browsed my site:
http://freepages.misc.rootsweb.com/~slowbell/trough.htm , and are welcome to link to it, or use any of the graphics, and/or stories.

Ramon's site:
http://patriot.net/~eastlnd2/ships.htm is very interesting, and though he hadn't sailed on the three ships, he did many others, and knows quite a bit about the three.

MSTS; Navy; or NAVO ( Sponsor ) we're definitely all ship mates. Most of my contacts relating to the three ships are Navy fellows...like yourself. It's the same with Ramon's...seems the military types maintain a tighter bond than civilian mariners do. NAVO types...forget it. Maybe I should have posted some stories about the NAVO guys...whoooooeeee...that would have been something. Ha ha.

Allow me to be amongst your first contributors. Here's the Dutton in the King George V drydock in Southampton, England early 70s.
 
 
  I took these photos myself processing them using the PhotoLab aboard Dutton.
 
 
  Like most WW2 Maritime Aministration ships, Dutton had a Floating Mine Cable Cutting device at its forefoot. This photo is from the early 70s.
 
 
  This is me aboard Dutton in the early 70's. I was Chief Mate...not too happy about being Chief Mate since I had been sailing Captain, but it was a job. I did eventually after this assignment get promoted to permanent skipper. No more Captains to have to answer to. Those who sailed with me may remember me as their "liaison" between them and the "big bad Mastuh". Ha ha.

Strange, but some years later I went on to take command of the USNS Hess...the larger class ( Mariner ) vessel that replaced the Michelson.

Ramon: Check out this Michelson Menu:
http://www.tags-21.info/graphics/tags23menu.jpg

So, Earl, good luck with your site. I'll check into it on occasion. Please keep in touch. If'n there's anything I can be of help with, no problemo...I'm right here.

Carl - Carl R. Friberg, Jr.

 

3/11/2007

Tsip, tsip, tsip - A Snow Job

 
(Used, with permission, from: http://freepages.misc.rootsweb.com/~slowbell/trough.htm#3 )
 
  "Tsip, tsip, tsip...err, ahem, err...you see here commander... err, tsip, tsip, tsip...we ain't goin' to New Castle. I changed the schedule... heh, heh, heh...tsip, tsip, tsip.'

The Dutton had been running in, and out of New Castle for many months, and needless to say, many of her crew had made "attachments" ashore. Christmas was coming up, and all had planned to be with their "loved" ones over the holidays. Of course that time of the year in the North Sea can be sometimes pretty wicked, if not storms, then fog, and just miserable weather.



The Captain - to the right - not wanting to go any further north than necessary, chose instead to "holiday" in Southampton, England, being we were coming up from the south anyways.
The fellow in the middle, being in charge of the small Navy group on board was vying for his men, and some of the civilians too, to stick to the planned schedule, and a fun time with "loved" ones.

Article 0733 of U.S. Naval Regs puts the civilian "master" ( Captain ) in charge of the welfare of everyone aboard - military, and civilian, and the ship. The fellow on the right is exercising that responsibility to the dismay of the fellow in the middle.

The fellow on the left ( the High Mate ) is just chuckling to himself. All turned out alright...dems wid "loved" ones jus' took a train to Newcastle, and dems widout enjoyed Southampton.

Who are these guys anyways...the year is around 1970?????