Thank You For Your Service
by Jan Barrett
This issue’s Honoree is Charles(Chuck) W. Barrett
Chuck was born in Texarkana, Texas, on July 18, 1940. He started out being self-disciplined early in life. He earned his Eagle Scout badge at the age of 14, in Wake Village Texas.
In 1958 he enlisted in the Navy and was sent to Great Lakes, Illinois, for basic training. Then he was assigned to Norman, Oklahoma Technical Naval Training Center, for basic electrical mechanical training. Upon graduation he was assigned to NAS in Memphis, Tennessee, for Aviation Electronics school for nine months. From there to NAS North Island at San Diego, Survival and Flight school training.
After graduation he spent 21 days on a troop transport, the USS Henrico, headed to Japan. He vividly remembers going through a typhoon on that voyage. He said the storm was so severe, that it tore the dental chair out of the floor and flooded the troop compartments.
After arrival in Japan, Chuck was flown to Naha, Okinawa, and spent the next eighteen months assigned to patrol squadron 4.
He was assigned to flight crew the P2V patrol aircraft. The squadron’s primary job was anti-submarine warfare.
He accumulated several hundred hours of flight time over the China sea checking shipping and reconnaissance. In order to get vital information, the plane would sometimes fly so close to the water that Chuck could see the faces of the crewmen on board the ships.
His primary duty was radioman. All communication was done by coded Morris Code messages. He was responsible for sending and receiving all messages to their Base in Okinawa. It was surprising to discover that Morse Code is not obsolete today. It continues to be taught in Pensacola Florida. Those who master this are now referred to as cryptologic technicians.
In 1960, Dickey Chapelle, a female war correspondent from Readers Digest, spent time on the base and flew with Chucks crew on a couple missions to obtain information for her articles. Dickey flew with them the day they were dispatched to help a Japanese freighter that was sinking. She watched as the crew flew over the ship and released life rafts to the men below. Sadly, the rafts were blown away by the storm before they could be used. In 1965, while still on the job, Dickey was unfortunately killed in Vietnam on November 4th. For more information about this photojournalist go to Dickey Chappelle Wickipedia)
In 1960 Chuck returned to the States and was assigned to heavy attack squadron 6. He was released from active duty in July 1961 and continued active in the Reserves for the next two years as crew on R5D aircraft.
After release from active duty Chuck returned to civilian life. He served a four-year lineman apprenticeship in Chicago with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and earned his Journeyman ticket in 1966. In 1970 he moved to Phoenix Arizona and worked for Arizona Public Service. Chuck’s father, Aaron was also a Lineman as is Chuck’s son Michael, who became a lineman in 1997.
In January 1974 he was hired by Local 387 as an Assistant Business Manager, where he remained for 29 years.
Now retired, he spends his time fishing or traveling. He and his wife Jan have five adult children, thirteen grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.December 31, 2017