USS Whitehurst Logo by: Pat Stephens, Webmaster, DESA

How I Shut Down the Whitehurst Post Office And Still Stood No Deck Watches


By: Ken "AK" Baroa


Ken Baroa RDSN, 1955

Ken boarded the Whitehurst in mid 1955 as RDSN and left the ship in 1958 as Radarman Second Class. Now retired in Fremont, CA, he is a performing musician who plays Tenor Sax and Clarinet in big bands and leads his own quartet.  mc 2000

I always felt like old Howe (Quartermaster) conned me into replacing him as mailman. He made it look good by saying things like: "Most duties in Port." " You can go in the Post Office and do what you want." "No watches in port." etc. He forgot to tell me that I had to make sure that the mail was picked up and delivered EVERY DAY and that I had to sell stamps and money orders several times a month, have to inventory the entire Post Office once a month etc.

Anyway during my last year, 1958, the Whitehurst always docked at pier 91 which was walking distance from the Navy Base that I had to walk to every day and pick up the mail.

I asked Lt. Walker, our former Operations Officer and then XO, if I could get rid of the Post Office and my duties as mailman. I further told him that we've become a reserve training ship and were cutting down to a skeleton crew. I also said that the base Post Office was right across the street from the COM (communications) Building where the radio men had to take their daily Com runs anyway, so they could pick up the regular mail as well. (That didn't set good with the radiomen) And the guys could walk to the base Post Office to buy stamps and money orders.

Lt. Walker said that he didn't know if I could. The Post Office was not Navy Property and Navy Regs said only a Post Master could authorize that. But he allowed me to find out.

I went to the Main Post Office in downtown Seattle and talked with the Postmaster there. He said I could shut down the ship's Post Office if I would inventory all the stamps and money, have our disbursing officer issue a check in that amount to the Postmaster General.
Then the ship's safe and scale would have to be delivered to his Post Office.

Learning this, and with the help of the duty driver, I got it all done immediately. Next thing I knew, there was NO More Post Office, although I did a few mail runs they were soon done by the radiomen, still No Inport Watches and Everything was Great! On my last day aboard, old Chief Haney discovered my
"availability" and gave me a mid watch to stand fours before I left the ship.

To my knowledge, the Whitehurst may be the only active duty ship who's Post Office was shut down by its own postman.   
Ken Baroa, April 2000

For "The Rest of the Story" see this link P.O. Reopens then Closes Again

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