Views from the Upper Deck

Growing up in Brooklyn near the ships and piers, hearing foghorns and ships' whistles, Carl Friberg always wanted to go to sea. From a Norwegian-American family, he had a long career as as seaman, spending a total of 37 years at sea, including 21 years as a captain.

His maritime career began as a teenage radio officer at the end of WW II, later going to sea as a messman, an ordinary seaman (OS), and able seaman (AB) aboard commercial vessels. Joining the Army Transport Service (ATS) after the war, he worked his was up "through the hawse pipe" to become a deck officer with ATS's successors, the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) and then the Military Sealift Command (MSC).

During 1961-62 Friberg served variously as 2nd, 3rd and 4th mate aboard USNS Michelson under Captain Wilhelm Bondeson, He left the ship in Belfast on November 26, 1962, the same day that I reported aboard as a Navy ET Seaman.

After retiring from MSC in 1988 Friberg built an elaborate website documenting his career from tugboats to captain of the last of the big P-2 troop transports. His humorous stories and personal memories amount to an important historical document of military sea transport.

From his website Views from te Upper Deck, here are his observations about the USNS Michelson and it's sister ships Bowditch and Dutton.

And here's an amusing story about how the Dutton's civilian captain overruled the Navy detachment commander regarding a port call c. 1970, stopping at Southhampton rather than venturing through the North Sea to Newcastle.

His complete ship list. Click to read.
Click to read about Carl Friberg as a radio officer.

Friberg kept meticulous records of all his ships, including dates, his positions and his captains. It looks like he sailed on nearly all of the MSTS/MSC fleet, support ships, supply vessels and the scientific ones, such as USNS Michelson.