|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|
A Commentary on the Civilian
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|
|More Sea Stories:|
|The Ghost of the Kane, Ghost Story #1|
|The Pit, Ghost Story #2|
|Graveyard. Ghost Story #3|
|Chief Warrant Bos'n|
|Anchor Chain, and Rusty Evidence|
|The Doom Ops|
|More Ice Capades|
|Party on the Ice (and Ham Radio W2ZK)|
|Charlie Taylor C/E|
|The Kane Rudder Incident|
|The Geiger UFO Encounter|
|Oakland An A Foggy Night|
|Moon Set In Brooklyn|
|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:
|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
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
|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
So much for looking for old photos.
|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".
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.
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.
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)
Second Cook and Baker (same man...cooked and Baked)
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.)
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.
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.
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.
|(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
|The Dutton, Southampton, England, early 1970s, and other comments.|
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.
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
|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:
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.
|(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?????