Member News for 17 January 2017
Well another year has come and gone. Time to reflect on the past and look forward to all the challenges and promises of 2017. Intent of this blog is to provide an update on items of interest since the August 2016 posting.
New Members: The association gained four (4) new members; PC1 Robert Alexander, PC1 William Hill, PC3 William (Bill) Otenti, and Sgt/PC3 Jerry Buchan.
Shipmates Forever: Three shipmates have departed for eternal life. They are PCC Jim Marsh, PC2 Jermaine Jackson, and Mr. Van Bean (Honorary member as well as an honorary Chief Petty Officer). Mr. Van Bean was in charge of Navy Postal for many years when postal was under CNO (OP 09-B1). They will be honored along with other deceased shipmates during the 2018 reunion.
Membership Note: Spouses of deceased shipmates are considered part of the postal family and are encouraged to attend postal reunions.
Website Additions: Added the following to the site: Under the Links tab added a link to Benefits for Elderly Veterans.
2018 San Antonio Reunion: Reunion planner Jack Kaperka, and coordinator Ron Stevens are making a site visit to San Antonio in February. Preparations are well underway to ensure a successful reunion. In the April time-frame I plan on putting information on our website regarding the reunion.
Member News for 20 August 2016:
Membership Update: My data base indicates we have over 100 members, with two new members; PCCS (Ret) Butch Thornrose and PC3 Paul Barger. Two other PCs have also indicated a desire to join. I will provide a future update when available.
PCCM (Ret) Tommie Kelley’s Arlington Burial Date: Services have been set for September 19th at 3pm at Arlington cemetery. Tommie was known throughout the Military Postal Service and had many friends. Three weeks out from that date the family will be providing additional instructions for the ceremony. Anyone who wishes to say farewell to our shipmate is welcome to attend. I plan on attending the service.
Shipmates Forever: Since our May reunion in Nashville, 4 of our shipmates have departed this earth for eternal life. They were PCC Harold Nida, PC1 Domenic McGlade, MaM1 Edward Rickgauer, and PC2 Robert Cook. They will be honored at our 2018 reunion in San Antonio.
Veterans Day Bed & Breakfast Free Nights Stay: As noted in a previous email to members, veterans Day is almost here.
For those interested you can check to see if there are any Bread & Breakfast Inns in your area offering a free nights stay over Veterans Day. My wife and I have taken advantage of this opportunity the past two years and found the experience to be enjoyable. For this year we have selected an Inn in Lancaster, PA. It is close to home and a great area to visit. If interested, sign up early, as the rooms go fast.
Ordering of Postal Clerk Decals: Previously I forwarded an email from Joe Martin regarding ordering Postal Clerk Decals for those PCs who were interested. Joe had a good response and sold out all of the 20 he had. Joe plans on donating $100.00 from the sales toward our next reunion. For those of us who still have not ordered a decal, but would like one, you can contact Joe’s niece. Her email address is: cottermarKB@gmail.com. Her phone numbers are (704) 489-8242 (Store) or 704-914-5336.
Web Site Additions: Under “Naval Postal Service on the Home Page” and under the “Links” tab added the URL for the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. It is an interesting site with good information on Military Postal Operations (Good Navy representation).
Also, under “Members News” (Current News) added a picture, with a brief write-up, of PCCM (Ret) Gil Hough’s 1977 trip to the Antarctica. I thought some of you might enjoy seeing the picture of Gil and the PCs who were assigned there. Most Postal Clerks did not have an opportunity to be assigned to such a unique location. A once in a life time experience. FYI, postal personnel are no longer assigned to the Antarctica, just memories now.
2018 San Antonio Reunion: Our reunion planner Jack Kaperka, and coordinator Ron Stevens will be attending the Your Military Reunion Connection (YMRC) event 24-29 August in Reno, NV. Good start to getting them prepared for the challenge of setting up the San Antonio reunion. Terry Baardsgaard and I are standing by to provide assistance if/when necessary. Sometime next year Jack and Ron will make a site visit to San Antonio to begin the heavy lifting of selecting a hotel, arranging for tours, and all the other things that must be done to pull off a successful reunion. We have the right people for this effort!
Thoughts of the Day – 21 April 2016
The time is drawing near for our 1-5 May 2016 Nashville reunion.
Fritz Loeffler, Terry Baardsgaard, myself, and our wife’s (advance party) will be in Nashville on 28 April to make final preparations for the reunion. Everything is basically done, but we want to make sure everything is good to go.
Including members and guests there will be over 50 attendees. The list is located on the website. The number of attendees is comparable to the 2014 reunion. I was hoping more of our members would have signed up, but maybe in the future. I do realize people are so busy with younger members still working, and others involved with family. However, I will continue to promote future reunions. Since the reunions are only every two years I am confident many more members will make plans to attend the 2018 reunion.
Since the 2014 reunion, thirty-one (31) people have joined the association. Also, Henry Negishi, gave a life time membership donation. Henry worked at the Fleet Mail Center in Yokohama for his entire career and is a postal clerk at heart. We also had one member, PCC (Ret) Frank Rhodes who did the same in honor of his late wife Nobuko. Other donations were made by PCCM (Ret) Gil Hough and PCC (Ret) Bill Mitchell. I really appreciate the gesture of support on the part of each of these individuals.
On a more somber note 19 of our shipmates are no longer with us. We will be honoring these Shipmates Forever on the final day of the reunion, prior to the evening banquet.
After the reunion I hope to spend time on improving the website. I am kind of at a stalemate unless I get some input from members. So, think of different things you would like to see on the site. Ideas and suggestions you have will be taken under consideration. I would also like to resume sending greetings around the holidays and on special occasions. I have been unable to do so recently because of family commitments.
May each and everyone of you have a great summer!
Year 2015 Wrap-up Thoughts
Well another year has come to a close.
Despite some health issues and other challenges, 2015 was a good year for me and my family. My wife and I had the opportunity to travel quite often. Many times to visit family in Florida, Iowa, and Virginia. But, also trips to other locations such as Cartegena, Columbia, South America; Columbus, Ohio, Branson, Missouri, and Nashville, TN, in addition to various locations in Pennsylvania. I also visited one of my favorite locations several times (Gettysburg) and went on a few Volksmarches.
Speaking of Nashville, efforts are ongoing to prepare for our 1-5 May 2016 reunion. All the stars in the sky are starting to line-up. More work needs to be done, but the heavy lifting has been completed. Terry Baardsgaard, reunion planner, is doing a top-notch job. And, Fritz Loeffler, NPCA VP, will be taking the reins on ensuring the hospitality room at our hotel is set-up, with all the amenities needed to satisfy attendees. With Fritz in charge you know it will be done right!
What I need from each NPCA member, and others, is to spread the word on the reunion. It has been well advertised, but more push won’t hurt. If you cannot attend, encourage others to do so.
FYI, I just took over maintenance of the NPCA roster of members from Gil Hough. There are always changes that need to be made, but Gil has done an excellent job keeping it up-to-date. Contact me if you have mailing address, email address, or phone number changes. Also, Gil has done a great job as the Treasurer of our organization. During the reunion I will be looking for a volunteer to take over this responsibility. I also continue to work on my email distribution list and plan on doing a change in the extended future to put all members on the “To” line and all others on the “cc” list. This will help me keep things in perspective. If your not a member I recommend you join. The cost of $50.00 for a lifetime membership is hard to beat. The funds we have are used to fund a big portion of the reunion. The more money we generate the better we can do at future reunions.
Mike Bertalan (previous president) continues to help with postings on the web site. I am learning to take over this responsibility, but have to admit I still need Mike’s help. I do a lot of editing and am getting smarter in other areas. Ask one of the people who knows me best, (Ed Larson), I have always been challenged or perhaps intimidated by modern technology. I still hope to get a new webmaster in the future who has the talents to further improve the site. Ideas, suggestions, and recommendations submitted to me to improve the site are welcome and will be considered.
I wish each and everyone of you a Happy and prosperous New Year, and hope to see many of you in Nashville.
Navy Postal Clerks Association -Squelching a Rumor
In a few short sentences I will attempt to set the record straight on whether or not there are enough Navy Postal Clerks to keep the association alive, well, and relevant.
The short answer is yes? Contrary to some of the scuttlebutt I have heard, there are plenty of PCs that served over the years to keep our organization going for many more years. Since the establishment of the PC Rating in 1960 the Navy has had billets ranging between 700 (low point), and over 1,000, depending on how many ships were in the Navy’s inventory and/or what locations overseas were being built up.
Looking at the list of NPCA members it is apparent that, for whatever reason, few PCs after 1990 have joined our association. I am attempting to change this by encouraging people I know to join. Also, some of my old shipmates have been advocating on my behalf trying to also persuade people to join.
I am starting to see our efforts pay off. Since the May 2014 reunion a total of 24 PCs have either joined the association or became life members. Some of them will be attending the reunion
On the Road Again
Heading to Orange, Va, 10 November for a free night’s stay at a B&B which provides this benefit to veterans. Will see Grand-kids in the Charlottesville, VA area. On Veterans Day plan on taking advantage of a free meal from one of the restaurants who honor veterans. Then head back home again until December.
Off to Nashville first week of December to meet with NPCA VP Fritz Loeffler, our reunion planner Terry Baardsgaard, and spouses. Purpose of this trip is to continue work on our 2016 postal reunion. Also, to enjoy some of what Nashville has to offer during the Christmas season. We are staying at the GuestHouse Inn and Suites, our hotel of choice for next year’s reunion.
FYI, our reunion is now advertised under the Navy Postal Clerks Groups, both under Yahoo and on facebook. Also, it is now being advertised by the FRA on line. Then in January and February it will be in the FRA Magazine.
From Nashville we will be heading to Pensacola, Florida to have an early Christmas with family members and meet with old friends. This includes a night out with approximately 10 retired postal clerks and their spouses. I am looking forward to reuniting with people we have not seen for years. A good time will be had by all. Will take pictures and post on the NPCA website in the future.
Back home just before Christmas to celebrate this special holiday with one son, and our grandchildren who live in Virginia.
Honoring LS2 Randall Smith – Shipmate Forever
Shown below in bold letters is a write-up included in the Special Edition section of the July/August edition of the Navy Supply Corps Newsletter. The article in the newsletter is next to a picture of an internment ceremony held for LS2 Smith, and an article on LS2 Smith’s Naval service. LS2 Smith has been added to our Shipmates Forever list. At some time in the future, LS2 Smith would have been assigned to postal duties if not for the tragedy that took his life. Request you keep his family in your thoughts.
Navy Supply Corps Newsletter Article – The Navy Postal Clerks Association has honored LS2 Randall S. Smith, a victim of the shooting incident at the Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) in Chattanooga, Tennessee on Jul 16, 2015, by including him on their Shipmates Forever list. This list is in memory of postal clerks who received change of station orders to join the Supreme Commander’s Staff in Heaven. The LS Rating (Logistics Specialist) was formed on Oct. 1 2009, when the Postal Clerk and Storekeeper ratings were aligned and merged – Mr. Alan Hass, President of the Navy Postal Clerks Association.
Annual Meeting of the Minds
What has started to become an annual tradition is a social gathering of the current and two past Navy Postal Directors. Gabe Telles, Tom Rittle and Al Hass met at Carrabb’s Italian Grill for lunch on 15 July, 2015 in Mechanicsburg, PA. Joining them for lunch was Jim Pullen, retired Navy Supply Corps Captain. Jim is the Assistance Commander (ACOM) N10 (Safety & Security) at the Naval Supply Systems Command.
The food was good and the talk lively. Stories of changes in the Navy (especially in postal) were the hot topics. Tom did talk about living in the Philippines. We all enjoyed his stories and hope to get together again next year to hear some more.
Old Shipmates Meet for Lunch.
Before returning to his home in the Philippines, Tom Rittle and Al Hass got together for lunch in Mechanicsburg, PA on 15 July 2015. Tom and Al are both WESTPAC Sailors, both served on the USS Ranger (CV-61), and both served at the Fleet Mail Center in Subic Bay, Philippines at the same time, 1979-1980. Also, Tom and Al both held the position of the Navy’s Official Mail Manager and Director of the Navy’s Postal Policy Division at the Naval Supply Systems Command. They had plenty of shared experiences to talk about, most of it good.
Tom plans on joining the Navy Postal Clerk Association and indicated he will attempt to attend next year’s reunion in Nashville. Tom told me he is enjoying retirement to the fullest. It was great to see Tom as well as his wife Nell!
From your President, Al Hass – New Lifetime Member of the Navy Postal Clerk Association (NPCA)
Read the article below to get to know the latest lifetime member of the NPCA, Rich Vargas. Rich enjoyed a distinguished career in the Navy and continues supporting Sailors, family members, civilians, and military personnel from other branches of the Armed Forces as the Postal Officer for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He was gracious enough to develop a bio to put on the website to share with other NPCA members. I had the pleasure of getting to know Rich many years ago and respect him personally and as a professional. Below is a picture of Rich and me taken during my trip to Guantanamo Bay in January of 2013.
Mr. Vargas, a native of Bronx, New York, enlisted in the U.S. Navy in November 1986. Following completion of basic training at Great Lakes, Illinois, he reported to the USS BELKNAP CG-26 which was home ported at Gaeta, Italy where he became a designated Postal Clerk Striker and eventually promoted to Postal Clerk Third Class. He served for 15 years and attained the rank of Postal Clerk First Class Petty Officer. In 2002 he was promoted to the rank of Chief Postal Clerk onboard the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN-72). In addition, he also performed duties as one of the Command Career Counselors onboard LINCOLN and lead the Sales and Services Division.
He retired as a Chief Logistics Specialist (SW/AW) in November 2010 after 24 years of active service. He duty assignments included USS BELKNAP (CG-26); U.S. Naval Support Activity, Holy Lock, Scotland, UK; On-Site Inspection Agency, Washington, DC; USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV-67); Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan; USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN-72); Joint Military Postal Activity-Pacific; and finally the Fleet and Industrial Supply Center, Jacksonville, Detachment Guantanamo Bay Cuba.
His personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal (2), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal (6), Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Navy Unit Commendation, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, Navy E Ribbon (3), Navy Good Conduct Medal (7), National Defense Service Medal (2), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism (Expeditionary), Global War on Terrorism (Service) Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (9), Navy & Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon (10) and the Navy Pistol Expert Shot Medal.
After retirement and prior to accepting his current position, he worked as a Volunteer Fire Fighter for the Splendora Fire Department, Splendora, TX. He is married to the former Victoria Lea Clifton and has three amazing daughters, Samantha Nicole (2nd Lt, USAF), Veronica Lea and Rebecca Marie.
NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center Jacksonville
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba Site