March 23, 2019
Members News Blog, 1-2019
I hope each of you and your loved ones are doing well.
Our postal association is still viable, but not much is going on at this time. I do have plans to develop a detailed article on the Navy Postal Service from the beginning to present time, which I will add to the postal website.
Total membership in the postal association currently consists of 130 people. Life members 107, honorary 3, surviving spouses 7, inactive 12, and 1 two-year member. FYI, I have been reviewing the Navy Postal Clerk master roster against my email distribution list and noticed some changes do need to be made. At this time it appears membership will decrease by approximately 8 people. It is difficult to keep updated lists because normally I am not notified when a person moves to a new address, changes their phone number or email address. Please let me if you do have changes to your contact information.
For those of you who have been retired for some time, and/or may not know, Navy Postal is under the Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) in Mechanicsburg, PA. This now includes mail routing for Navy ships. Also, the Navy’s Official Mail Program is administered by NAVSUP.
Living in the Mechanicsburg area gives me the opportunity to occasionally have lunch with retired Postal Clerks. Some of who are working in civilian positions at NAVSUP. And, others who still work in postal at other Government agencies, or Navy commands, who travel to Mechanicsburg for meetings. There are also other retired Postal Clerks living in this area who I see on occasion. I find it enjoyable to talk about postal and the good old days, as long as it is not all the time.
Most recently my wife Ruby and I had the pleasure of having lunch with a number of PCs. Present at our luncheon was LtCol (Ret) Gabe Telles, Director for Navy Postal, and his wife Amara, PCCM Alan L. Hass, PCCM Tom Rittle, PCCM Jimmy Collins, PCCM Dale Pinchart, PCCM Sid Dawson, PCCS Ed Larson, PCCS Craig Houlette, PCCS Stan Healy, PCC Hector Riveria, PC1/LS1 Edward Donald Uptagrafft, and PC1/LS1 David Sulli. All of them are retired and work for the Government except for Sid Dawson.
I wish I had more information to share with you, but I don’t at this time. Other than a reminder that our reunion planners are finalizing our 2020 Portland, Oregon schedule. More to come on the reunion, but most likely it will be near the end of April or first part of May next year. I hope some of you will be able to attend. It is nice to reconnect with shipmates from the past and enjoy what the reunions have to offer. Everyone seems to have a good time.
Have a great year.
Members News Blog, 3-2018:
2020 Portland, Oregon Reunion – Planning for our 2020 reunion in Portland, Oregon has begun. Our reunion planners Jack Kaperka and Ron Stevens recently attended a Your Military Reunion Connection workshop in Portland, Oregon. They really enjoyed their visit and all Portland has to offer, including the area’s beautiful scenery. A hotel has been selected and planning is underway to arrange for some events. Not much else to say at this time. Except that sometime next year, around the May time-frame, I will post information on the our website regarding the reunion and include a registration sign-up sheet.
I just wanted to keep everyone in the loop from the start. This hopefully will get you all thinking about your vacation plans in 2020. Never to early to plan. We had a great turn-out at this year’s reunion in San Antonio with several members attending for the first time. Our membership has grown over the past 4 years and I am hoping for more sign-ups in the future.
One of our events in Portland will be a two hour lunch cruise aboard the Portland Spirit on the Willamette River. Should be a great event to be enjoyed by all.
New NPCA Life Members – Since my last blog we gained four (5) new life members: PCCM Mark DeDomenic, PCC Trent Keffer, PC2 Richard (Rick) Smalley, PC3 Scott Reinhart, and PC3 Jeff Swearngin. Jeff and I were stationed together at TNPO Yokohama in the 65-67 time-frame. Jeff got out of the Navy for a few years and then came back in. He retired as an HTC. He sent me several pictures from those days, which brought back some good memories. Both of us would like to find some old shipmates, in particular Burt Bosley. Burt was a PC2. If any of you old timers know of him, let me know. Sure would like to get in contact with him again.
Shipmates Forever – Recently added to our Shipmates Forever list on the this web site were PC1 Charlie Noel, PC1 Leonard Belcher, and PC1/TEYN2 Robert Eugene Brokaw (Bob). Bob was one of the original 644 Navy Postal Clerks. They will be honored at out next reunion.
Ordering Navy Postal Clerk Memorabilia – As a reminder for those of you who are interested you can order a number of items by going to the links tab of the NPCA website and clicking on Navy Postal Clerk Association Merchandise or you can go to http://www.cafepress.com/NPCA
Members News Blog, 2-2018:
Keeping you up-to-date. Here’s what has been happening since my last blog.
Membership News: I renewed my efforts to recruit members, with two people signing up as life members since January, PC2 Gilberto Sanchez and SGT/PC3 Jerry Buchan. Their names have been added to the “active members list”.
I continue to remain optimistic that I can get some more PCs to come on-board. We need to increase our membership if we are to remain vibrant and continue to have reunions. You can help by encouraging some of your shipmates from the past to join.
San Antonio Reunion Recap:
Much time was spent working with reunion planners, Jack Kaperka and Ron Stevens, as well as with our association secretary/treasurer Terry Baardsgaard to finalize the San Antonio reunion.
Our efforts paid off. There was a good turnout. We had a total of 33 members attend along with their guests for a total of 61 people. Of the attendees three of them were new association members. You can view a list of all attendees by clicking on the Reunion News tab, followed by clicking on the Attended Previous Reunion sub-tab and opening the link to the 2018 San Antonio Reunion Attendees.
Feedback from attendees indicated everyone enjoyed themselves and were pleased with the scheduled events. Not only was the reunion itself a success but we raised enough money through the 50/50 drawing, and the raffling off of some great items to continue forward with the Association and plan for another great reunion. Winners were: James Johnson, 50/50 drawing; Alan Hass, Kbar knife engraved to reflect both the Navy Postal Clerk Rating and the 2018 San Antonio reunion; Bill Fults, two flag display cases, which include American Flags that will be flown over the USS Arizona & USS Missouri; Brenda Britton (guest of Ed Balusek), eagle oil painting; Bill Fults, quilt with Navy designs; Carl Montoya, fleece blanket with Navy scenes; George Card, Navy monogrammed decanter set; Ed Carter, Navy Postal Clerk Association monogrammed travel bag. There were also drawings for 10 challenge coins provided by USS San Antonio (LPD-17).
The 2020 reunion will be in Portland, Oregon. Tentatively the reunion will take place the last week of April. It is never to early to make plans to attend. For those of you who have not yet attended a reunion I am confident you would have a great time. Give it a try. Reunion planner Jack Kaperka will be starting the planning effort in July of this year by attending a Your Military Reunion Connection workshop. This first step is how we start preparing for the next reunion.
Shipmates Forever: Since my last blog I was informed the following shipmates have departed for eternal life: PCC Eugene Sauld, PC1 Dennis Pope, PC2 Larry Adams, PC3 Gregory Riojas, PC3/Lt Col Brooks “Carbo” Singfield, and PCC Gerald Lee Thompson. The names of these shipmates has been added to the Shipmates Forever list on this site.
Except for PCC Thompson they were all honored during the this year’s reunion. Because I was informed of Chief Thompson’s passing after I returned home from the reunion he will be honored at the 2020 reunion. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Members News Blog, 1-2018:
Time is moving at a fast pace. It has been a year since I last provided an update. I hope last year was good to you. And I hope this year, 2018, will be even better.
There is not much to report since last January. Main emphasis has been preparing for the San Antonio, TX reunion scheduled for 29 April to 3 May. Initial indications are that we will have a good turnout. Should be a fun time for all.
Items of interest, added to the web site include:
New Members: The association gained six (6) new life members;
PCCM George Card, PCC Randy Rittenhouse, PC1 Theodore Johnson, PC3 Richard Silbert, PC3 Ed Foth, and MailMan 3rd Class Osten Saugstad.
I have been in contact with other PCs who indicated they will be joining. I hope they do. It would nice if we could increase our membership. The NPCA is holding it’s own and I think we will become stronger
Shipmates Forever: Shipmates who have departed for eternal life over the past two years , and/or just reported are: PCCM John Peters, PCCM Ray Dorman, PCCM Lawrence Ben, PCCS George Burke, PCC Aybr Shepherd, PCC Charles Mize, PCC James Sheppard, PCC Charles Annis, NCC Noah Goff, PC1 Robert Cummings, PC1 William Reese, and PC3 Amade Ceralde. They will be honored during the 2018 reunion.
Website Additions: Added the following to the site: Under the “Links” tab added a link to the Mesotheliome Veterans Outreach website, added a link to the Navy Times Magazine, and (under the “Home” tab of the site) added the original letter from the fall 1960 article of the Naval Training Bulletin which established the Navy Postal Clerk Rating
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
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