U.S.S. LITTLE ROCK Crew Member's
Oral History given by

Richard G. Bartell - F1/c


Page last updated: 24 September, 2016

Old Salts



U.S.S. Little Rock Association
ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM


Interviewee:  Richard G. Bartell

Interviewer:  Gus Karlsen

Interview Transcript:

KARLSEN: Okay we will start right in. I am Gus Karlsen and I will be interviewing Richard G. Bartell who served in CL 92. This is tape number one; we are at the 14th Annual Reunion of the USS Little Rock Association at the Adams Mark Hotel in Buffalo, New York. The date is July 16, 2005.

The purpose of the interview is to get to know Richard and from his recollections learn more about life and duty as a sailor aboard the USS Little Rock, CL 92, during a part of its period of service from 1945-1949.

Okay, Richard, can I call you Dick?

BARTELL: Certainly.

KARLSEN: Okay. Dick, when, where, and why did you join the Navy?

BARTELL: It was in February of 1946 and I graduated from High School in the class of 1945. The draft was on and everyone was going into the service. They were all coming back telling me stories, and that sort of encouraged me. I joined in Dubois, Pennsylvania and went out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I guess I just joined because that was the thing to do at the time.

KARLSEN: Was that sort of so as not to go in the Army?

BARTELL: Well, yeah. I was going to join something. My father was highly against me; one of the few times I went against him in my life. He was deathly afraid of water.

KARLSEN: Really?

BARTELL: I really wanted to be in the Navy. I wanted to be aboard a ship. My father was an excavator, I could run bulldozers and shovels and such. When I told the recruiter that, he said “Well we will put that on your record.” I said, “I would sooner you did not,” because I did not want to go to the Seabees. It ended up that I got on a ship, and everything worked out for me.

KARLSEN: Great! So, when and where did you report to the USS Little Rock?

BARTELL: I reported at Philadelphia. Actually, I reported to USS Portsmouth right out of boot camp. They said it was a sister ship of the Little Rock, they were tied side by side. I did not even unpack and they came around and asked if the Little Rock was going to Europe and would any of us be interested. I was interested. They needed engineers and I wanted to be an engineer, turned into a snipe. So, every- thing really worked out fine for me.

KARLSEN: Wow, that is great. So, what was your initial impression of the ship?

BARTELL: Large!

KARLSEN: Yeah!

BARTELL: I came from a small town, and I was not on the seashore or anything, I had never seen a ship that big. I liked it! It had been part of the stories the ones coming back from the war had told me.

KARLSEN: I imagine it was still pretty new?

BARTELL: Oh, yeah! It was not even a year old. It was very nice, all clean and shiny.

KARLSEN: Then you found out it was your job to keep it that way!

BARTELL: Yeah. I actually ended up on the repair crew to the boilers. That is what I wanted. It was hot down there, but I liked it.

KARLSEN: What was your division assignment, your job, your watch station and your battle station?

BARTELL: Watch stations we all stood four on, eight off.

KARLSEN: Down in the engine room?

BARTELL: In the fire room.

KARLSEN: The fire room, yeah.

BARTELL: Actually, my duty was on the repair crew. I started the first day I was aboard cleaning bilges. That is sort of a funny story. Being that my father was an excavator, I had been around machinery. I was quite familiar with diesel oil and everything. There were three of us coming on and they would put us down there in the bilge with different places to clean with diesel oil. We were under the deck plates, and no one could see you under there. I was used to it, and I guess it was the way I was raised, but I cleaned all day. Diesel oil did not bother me, but the others it did. They did not do anything so when we got out; they picked up all the floor plates. We did not know what they were going to do…I cleaned mine and the other two had not. They were looking for mess cooks and compartment cleaner. I did not get it, and I never did.

In boot camp, I was company clerk, one of only four of the Pittsburgh draft that was a high school graduate. I was only seventeen years older. I never did get assigned as a mess cook or compartment cleaner…

KARLSEN: You did not feel cheated did you?

BARTELL: No, no, no. (laughter)

KARLSEN: What division were you in?

BARTELL: B.

KARLSEN: B Division.

BARTELL: A water cleaner striker. They do not have such things anymore.

KARLSEN: What was your battle station?

BARTELL: I cannot remember what it was, but it was up above the remote controls that turn off valves in the fire room. It was a hydraulic device and you had to crank there. I think it was on the second deck down, I think. I am not sure of that anymore. I see places when I went on it today, but I am not sure that is the one I was at.

KARLSEN: There are a lot of changes I think.

BARTELL: Yeah, oh yeah.

KARLSEN: Great okay. Can you describe the ship’s employment and operations while you were aboard?

BARTELL: We went on that good will cruise to Europe which was beautiful, I mean it was really nice to visit all the countries. I am of Italian ancestry; all four of my grandparents were born in Northern Italy. My grandfathers were stonecutters. My mother and dad were both born in the United States. When we got into Naples, I got a four-day pass and we went to Rome. That was very nice. We stayed in the Army rest center.

KARLSEN: Did you ever happen to find family relations?

BARTELL: No, they were clear up North. They lived in a place where Switzerland, France, and Italy come together.

KARLSEN: What other ports did you hit on that European voyage?

BARTELL: Copenhagen, Sweden, England, Scotland, Greece, and I cannot even remember them all. The people were really nice; you could not believe how nice they were to us. In Copenhagen, I opened my mouth too much.

They came around and said you are going to volunteer. A family is going to take you around. I was sort of bashful, and I really did not like to go anywhere by myself. So, when they said you are going to volunteer to go with…but they were so nice to me and took me to the beach. It was a family, and they accepted me as a family member. I stayed there over night. I came back and said how great it was, they showed me all over Copenhagen and gas was expensive for them. I shot off my mouth and said that and people started volunteering.

KARLSEN: Was the ship steaming alone, most of the time you were on board?

BARTELL: Oh no, we always had a destroyer named the Cone and we traveled with the FDR, the Corsage, and the Missouri. We put a star shell right over the Missouri.

KARLSEN: You did not mean too though?

BARTELL: No. Well it was an accident; it was a hang fire the way I understand it. They fired it when the ship was rolling one way and then it rolled back and it was fired. I did not understand that because I was a snipe.

KARLSEN: Where was that?

BARTELL: I don’t know I was just talking to the others in the division, seems to me it was in the Med, but I am not sure. It killed a man on the Missouri; it was in the paper. I used have the clipping; I thought I donated it, but I do not remember seeing it.

KARLSEN: Was the ship involved in any exercises in the Mediterranean, or was it primarily just a good will program?

BARTELL: It was primarily a good will cruise, with the exception of Greece. Greece was involved in the Cold War  They invited us in, and Russia had a ship in there. They said to stay out. It was supposed to be, and I cannot confirm this, but that is when Harry Truman said, “The United States Navy will go where it damn pleases, if invited!” So, we went in under general quarters, but there was no trouble.

KARLSEN: Wow! Was that in Athens?

BARTELL: Athens, yes. Greece was really nice to us. That is another thing that sticks in my mind. When we went ashore, they gave us money to spend. Their government gave it to us, it was in their money we had to spend it, we could not cash it back. I remember I got my grandmother some little gifts including a handkerchief--something I could send later. I still remember she got a big kick out of that.

KARLSEN: That was nice.

BARTELL: They were so nice and then I had a cousin that went into the Navy about seven or eight years later and they spit on them in Greece.

KARLSEN: Really, boy things change don’t they?

BARTELL: Yeah, change in a hurry I guess.  I always felt guilty all these ports we went to, there were bands out and girls would come and get you and take your picture like you were a celebrity. I was eighteen then. That was kind of new to me; I was a small town boy.

KARLSEN: So did you get to see all the famous buildings and stuff in Greece?

BARTELL: Yeah. My problem was I did not study enough in school. I lost a lot in Rome. There was a lot more…

KARLSEN: Well there is so much to see anyway.

BARTELL: Yeah. I was a little bit raw. My best friend, when I was in, went with me. You know there was quite a few of us went, and I got sick on the train.

KARLSEN: Oh jeez.

BARTELL: Never got sea sick, but I got sick on the train.

KARLSEN: Where was that from and to?

BARTELL: From Naples to Rome.

KARLSEN: Oh, right, yeah. So, you had quite a time too then didn’t you?

BARTELL: Yeah, it was not time wasted. It was very educational and helped me grow up and taught me an awful lot, a lot of the things I still practice today.

KARLSEN: Good for you. Tell me about the living conditions on the ship, and things like the quality of the ship’s chow and things like that.

BARTELL: Well, on the chow, I think I was a minority because I liked their chow. I really liked their chow. They did not mix things. At home, we had an awful lot of casseroles and things like that. I still do not like that. I am a meat and potatoes man. I always thought they had good…I liked their soup especially. They always had a couple kinds of meat. I am a picky eater and I drive my wife crazy. I do not eat fish and I do not eat chicken and that does not leave much.

KARLSEN: No, it does not.

BARTELL: I liked the food. You were crowded sleeping. I got used to it, some would snore, I got used to it and I slept well. My nickname was “Horizontal”. If I was not on duty, I was horizontal.

KARLSEN: That is pretty good.
 
 Compared to what you see today on board, how would you describe your living conditions compared to what they are today on board or what you see today on the Little Rock?

BARTELL: Toilets were a whole lot worse, they had the troughs. I do not know if you have ever seen them.

KARLSEN: No.

BARTELL: They had a trough like pigs eat out of at the fair and then water would come in this end and go out this end, it ran from the fire and flushing pump it ran down there all the time. We had a nasty thing we used to do. I suppose you have heard of it?

KARLSEN: I am waiting.

BARTELL: Oh, crumble up some toilet paper up where it comes in and light it and throw it in there and see what... When we would get somebody new on board…

(laughing)

BARTELL: I never heard of it burning anyone.

KARLSEN: No, they got the message though! I have not heard of that one that is a good one.

BARTELL: The troughs come the whole way down. I suppose there must have been about 12 or 15 seats on it, I could be wrong.

KARLSEN: Not much privacy then?

BARTELL: No. Showers were private and we had our own shower room because snipes perspired so much. I would change clothes sometimes two or three times a day.

KARLSEN: How about some of your close buddies, can you think of any stories about some of the close buddies you had, colorful shipmates or anything?
 
BARTELL: My closest friend is gone. We had the same likes. When we were in New York (that is when the Dodgers and Giants were still there and the Yankees) we would go to the ballgames and the shows. They had a Pepsi-Cola Canteen at Times Square and we could get free tickets. Everything was half price, trains and everything.
   
I had one gentleman, he was a First-Class Water Tender and I was interested in mechanics or whatever. I was willing to learn and he saw that. He picked me up and he taught me an awful lot. I tried to get in touch with him, he got out before I did. Whether he rejoined I could never find out. He lived in New York City.

KARLSEN: He was kind of a mentor then?

BARTELL: Yeah. He taught me changing valves and how you had to sand them, stone them; you had to get every mark out of them. He emphasized this on me, and I did it. I never had a valve leak. I was proud of that.

KARLSEN: I would guess you should be, that is pretty good.

BARTELL: I was the kind that when I did something that I liked I was proud of it. When we won the oil consumption award we really worked at it. We changed the nipples on the burners. We changed them to low so they did not use much oil, and we thought we were going to speed up we would pull the burners out and put new ones in. But we won it, won the flag.

KARLSEN: Competing with other cruisers?

BARTELL: With the fleet.

KARLSEN: Oh, I see.

BARTELL: Well yeah they took into consideration the carriers and such. I guess maybe we were most improved or something, I am really not sure but we won the old flag.

KARLSEN: That is pretty good, makes you feel good doesn’t it?

BARTELL: Oh yeah, especially now. I do not know if it was then, but you are kind of proud of what you do.
   
I was on the gangplank, and I was feeling pretty cocky, put it that way. Walking up I had my sea bag; guys were up on the lifeline. I heard the one guy say, “Look at that, the guy coming up there now, they are scraping the bottom of the barrel.” I looked up and he was pointing right at me. I did not have a hair on my face.
   
In boot camp we had to shave every morning, but I found out you did not put a blade in. I was very young looking. In fact, I had to get my dad to sign a working permit when I joined.

KARLSEN: Well, that is not a bad thing at all to look so young, you still look young.

BARTELL: I do not know about that.

KARLSEN: Good shape.

BARTELL: Getting wrinkled, but I am happy.

KARLSEN: Well that is good. Were there any times when you were on board Little Rock that you could recall that you had moments of great shock or fear or excitement?

BARTELL: When we went across the Artic Circle that ship rocked. I sometimes felt it was going to go clear over.

KARLSEN: Really, wow, big waves?

BARTELL: Yeah. We had sandwiches for two days, because you could not cook. I never experienced wind, up in the North Atlantic, but nothing like that.

KARLSEN: Where was that?

BARTELL: Across the Article Circle.

KARLSEN: But where did you cross the Circle?

BARTELL: I do not even know. I have a map of it. I did not bring it with me. We stopped at Greenland, and then we went from Greenland up. My friend told me that we had liberty someplace up there, but I do not think we did, but I am not going to argue. I think we just crossed.

KARLSEN: So somewhere around Greenland then?

BARTELL: Yeah. We got certificates for it.

KARLSEN: Blue Nose.

BARTELL: Blue Nose, yeah. They could not initiate us because there was no one that had it yet.

KARLSEN: So, you lucked out there then?

BARTELL: Yeap, we just got them.

KARLSEN: So, your time on board was after the South American cruise, is that right?

BARTELL: That is when I got on is when they got back from South America.

KARLSEN: Then you went to Europe?

BARTELL: Yeah.

KARLSEN: Now, was that part of the European occupation, or was that…?

BARTELL: No, it was just a good will cruise.

KARLSEN: I see.

BARTELL: I do not know, I got a World War II Victory Medal but I did not get into any combat or occupation… They asked me to join the VFW, and I told them I did not have any. When I went over there  I had two or three friends that went over with the Army and they got occupation medals. On my discharge, it says I had sea duty during World War II, I don’t know. I don’t belong anymore anyhow.

KARLSEN: That is interesting. Do you remember your Skipper or Executive Officer or any of the others…?

BARTELL: I remember their names. I had a couple of Captain Masts for coming back late. I had one from Miller. A whole bunch of us from Pennsylvania, we were in Philly, we took a train for the weekend and when we came back, it had snowed. It was late. We all got explanations from the conductor, explaining everything. When we went up to Captain’s Mast, there were two or three of them ahead of me and every time, they would give that to Miller he would just crumble it up and throw it in the waste basket, then award 10 hours extra duty. So, when it came my turn I just stuck in my pocket, and I figured it did not do any good. He said, "What is the excuse?" I said, “No excusable excuse.” Five hours extra duty. That five hours extra duty out of ten hours extra meant nothing to us. As far as the repair crew, we put in a lot of hours anyway.

KARLSEN: So you did not work eight hours then like everybody? In CLG 4 we only worked eight hours then forget it, we had a better union I guess.

BARTELL: I guess so.

    I remember once we were punching tubes and another boiler went out so we had to get that back. They put us inside that boiler punching tubes. We stayed in there, and they brought us our meals and everything.

KARLSEN: No kidding, inside a boiler, wow.

BARTELL: We got it done, then cleaned it up and put the other one on the line.

KARLSEN: So how many hours strait did you work?

BARTELL: Oh we must have been in there 24 hours.

KARLSEN: No kidding, wow!

BARTELL: Then we got off and after we were done they gave us time off. I always thought I was treated pretty fair. When you had to do something, you had to do it, that is all.

KARLSEN: So you mentioned the Skipper because you got to know him (laugh). How about the XO, do you remember him, Executive Officer?

BARTELL: I do not remember his name, but I remember I saw him. We did not see too much of the officers truthfully. They had more brains, than we had. They did not come down that far very much, it was too hot. We sort of had one of the Chiefs in there to run it mostly. I think it was successful because we never had too much trouble.

KARLSEN: Well they were the experts, they were the people who were on the scene and worked there long, and really knew what was up.

    When and where did you detach from Little Rock?

BARTELL: I detached at Norfolk and had three more months in my enlistment, two months to go, I guess it was. They put me on an APA in Norfolk. I was on that two months and then I was discharged.

KARLSEN: When was that?

BARTELL: I was discharged January 2, 1948, so it would be two months before that. I laugh at it now because from where I lived in Pennsylvania to Norfolk it is not all that far, yet I was there for two weeks waiting to get discharged while they were giving Christmas and New Years leave. I could have had leave, but I thought, not much use in going home, I am going home right after. I thought it was too far. Of course Norfolk was hard to get out of, no one had cars. Hitchhiking was good, once you got out of Norfolk, where you would not get caught.

KARLSEN: How did you feel about leaving Little Rock, she was your home for…?

BARTELL: Well, I figured I was on there about a year and a half. I was glad to get off, and get home.

KARLSEN: Yeah, I am sure.

BARTELL: That is another thing, all the guys coming back from the war, they were so happy to get home and back to our jobs. Of course, I had a girlfriend.

KARLSEN: Well, there you go. That made you real happy to get home.

BARTELL: Yeah.

KARLSEN: What was the overall impression of your tour on the Little Rock?

BARTELL: I thought it was very educational for me. I thought I learned an awful lot. It helped me grow up. When I went to the Navy, my dad told me three things. He said, “Do what they tell you. Keep your nose clean, and do not volunteer for anything.” That worked out pretty good.

I never had any trouble with anyone else on the ship. I think snipes get a little bit closer. I don’t know, maybe I am wrong because when you are jammed in close, you get a little bit more respect for each other. I do not know if that is right.

KARLSEN: The ship functioned well, and did not have any major malfunctions?

BARTELL: No, we had some moments. Once I was on watch and we were trying to miss this ship cutting across. All at once, we had an emergency astern. We had some old burners and everything. I guess they almost collided, I never found out. You did not find out too much about that down there.

KARLSEN: It was a near collision?

BARTELL: I guess, they thought it was going to be a collision or something. No one ever saw another ship or anything. I do not know if the radar malfunctioned or something. I do not know. They went to emergency astern and we no sooner got the burners back than they went back to standard. It made us very happy because it was pretty hard stopping.

KARLSEN: It sounds like you had a really good tour.
 
BARTELL: I enjoyed it, and I was ready to get out. When it was time to get out, I had a conference and they tried to talk me in… I said, I was fireman first and I took the test for Third-Class Water-Tender, and I passed it, but there was not an opening. I remember telling the Chief and he said, “They won’t make you a third-class if you stay in.”

    I said, “I already passed that and he told me there are no openings for third-class.” He laughed. We thought they were old. I cannot get over that. How times change.

KARLSEN: Your next assignment in the Navy was on an APA?

BARTELL: APA, yeah.

KARLSEN: Do you remember which one that was?

BARTELL: Yeah, the Cambria, APA 36. It was named after a county close to where I lived. I don’t know how they picked it but that is where Johnstown, Pennsylvania is.

KARLSEN: Is that Northern Pennsylvania?

BARTELL: No, that is Southern Pennsylvania, down near Pittsburgh and the West Virginia line.

KARLSEN: That is right, that is where they had the flood?

BARTELL: Yeah.

KARLSEN: That was just two months on Cambria?

BARTELL: Yeah, we took a bunch of Marines and landed them somewhere in Florida.

KARLSEN: They ever find them yet?

BARTELL: A couple of them got hurt pretty bad in heavy seas. We had jeeps on and one jeep broke loose and pinned them between…broke both legs. Of course they took them off the ship. I never heard anything.

    I didn’t like it there as much as I liked the Little Rock.

KARLSEN: Were you down in the hole again?

BARTELL: Oh, yeah. On that the fire room and engine room were all one. I was treated good there. The food was not near as good. Plus, you were setting to eat and everyone was late and ready to get out, and as soon as the crew was done eating they raised the tables up. When the Marines came and ate, they had to stand to eat.

KARLSEN: Really?

BARTELL: They were pushed.  I had “Pennsylvania” on my sea bag and a Marine spotted it and talked to me. So, I gave him a set of dungarees, so he could eat with us.

    He was from Pittsburgh, that is a hundred miles from where I lived, but we were just like brothers, same state.

KARLSEN: What did you do in civilian life, when you got out of the Navy?

BARTELL: When I first got out, I went up to where I am now in New York State, and my brother-in-law and my father and I started a business there. That did not last too long for me. I had just gotten out of the service and I had a girlfriend down in Pennsylvania. I did not like it up there. So, I went back. I drove semi for a couple of years, and I didn’t like that.

KARLSEN: Was that excavating with your brother and father?

BARTELL: Well, then I went…

KARLSEN: Oh, back again.

BARTELL: It was stripping clay. I went back with them.

    I worked stripping, while I was in high school. I drove the coal truck when I was fifteen. That was during the war, and they just looked the other way because they needed all the help they could get and I could do it.

    I bought a truck of my own, a ten-wheeler Mac, $9500.00. Can you believe that? I thought I will never get this paid.

    I did get married though. I was 26 years old. In fact, I saved [unclear] if you can believe that, you never hire a fireman first.

KARLSEN: Do you remember what you got paid?

BARTELL: I think it was like $42.00 one pay and then $40.00 then the next. We got paid twice a month. I didn’t go on leave much. I was too young to drink. Well, I guess in New York you could drink at that time, but anywhere else, even at Norfolk on the base, I really didn’t drink much.

KARLSEN: Well 40 bucks was probably not for a month, but it was 80 bucks wasn’t it?

BARTELL: Eighty bucks, yeah. I had [unclear] so nothing was taken off. I saved my…When I got out I got mustering out pay and the two years I was in I got boot leave and one Christmas leave so I got out with many days on the books, so I got paid for all of that.

    I went home and 7 of us built a hunting camp. We went together and I threw in my mustering out pay. I did not shoot or even hunt, but we partied.

KARLSEN: That is pretty interesting. What was your career then after you got out of the Navy?

BARTELL: I drove, then I went back up to Beaver’s Point, I got bored. After I got married then I was satisfied. When I was down there, I did not have a car; cars were scarce. I couldn’t buy a car. I was stuck out of town. So, I decided…after I got married that I was satisfied. I worked for him and I drove trailers of concrete, brick and block. I drove a truck for him, and then we got a lot bigger and ended up doing  drill press and the trucks. That is what I retired from.

KARLSEN: Oh, I see. So, you had a family?

BARTELL: Yes, I had four children--three boys and a girl. Three of them have Master’s degrees.

KARLSEN: No kidding.

BARTELL: All different colleges, no one went to the same college.

KARLSEN: Boy, you must be real proud?

BARTELL: Yeah. My other son is in China. He is teaching English at a medical school in China. He has been all over the world. I told him he should have been in the Navy. He travels by himself. They are all in computers. My daughter that didn’t go to college went to a school to fix computers, and she works for a computer server. She teaches school, that is what she wanted to do.

KARLSEN: Well that is pretty good.

BARTELL: She likes it, and she is getting ready to retire. She is the oldest. They are scattered all over. I live just south there of Buffalo, and we get some pretty severe winters there, and was one fellow, “Why don’t you get out of here, go South?”

    I said, “Well, I got enough heat down in that fire room!” I suppose if I could have a place there, then I might go, but now I do not need it, and my wife she is the same way.

    We have been married over 50 years.

KARLSEN: Wow, that is great, good for you.

BARTELL: She is still working. (Laughs) She is an RN, and she works at a doctor’s a day and a half a week. She likes the patients. There is a lot of kidding that my 73 year old wife is still working.

KARLSEN: Are you involved in the community at all?

BARTELL: Not anymore, I was involved in Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, and Little League baseball. When I was involved in Little League baseball I think it was a lot better than it is now. It was not a competition. We had girls. Everyone had to play, and no hollering and no trouble from the parents. We did not have uniforms; just bought a hat and t-shirt and they were really happy.

    After the boys all got out of Scouts, I got out of it too. It is time consuming, and sleeping on the ground was getting to me.

KARLSEN: How long have you been a member of the USS Little Rock Association? 

BARTELL: Since it started, I am member #26. I was at the first reunion we had before this association.

KARLSEN: Oh, you were at that one too, I was there.

BARTELL: Were you?

KARLSEN: Yeah.

BARTELL: Did you have your picture on the gang plank?

KARLSEN: Absolutely.

BARTELL: I thought I had a picture. I looked all over, but I can’t find it.

KARLSEN: So, you go way back then? Have you been to most of the reunions then?

BARTELL: Yeah, I missed some. I did not go out West. I went to Philadelphia, I went to Norfolk. I really enjoyed the one in Norfolk.

KARLSEN: I missed that one.

BARTELL: How much it has changed; none of those tattoo parlors and barrooms, one right after the other.

KARLSEN: You have been pretty active with the organization in terms of making the reunions. What do the reunions mean to you?

BARTELL: I enjoy them. I enjoy meeting other, because now there are only two of us that come from our division. Swatek was one and they interviewed him.

KARLSEN: So, did you serve together?

BARTELL: Yeah. There were some others from New Jersey, someone named Martin and I can’t remember the name. They don’t seem to come anymore. I don’t know what happened to them.

KARLSEN: Okay, I have to ask you this; do you swear that everything you told me is true?

BARTELL: Well, almost. (laughing)

    My younger son’s girlfriend, they’re not married, dropped me a little funny line that says, “The older I get, the better I used to be.” This is about it I guess.

KARLSEN: That is a good one. Dick do you have any final thoughts or observations about your service aboard Little Rock, or the association, or anything at all?

BARTELL: I enjoyed it. Of course, there were times I got disgusted, like any other job. There is no perfect job. I enjoyed it, and I feel that I really learned a lot. I feel that it did me an awful lot of good. It seems now, and well then too, that you get out of high school and have a tendency to get in trouble. I do not remember getting into trouble.

    As I said, I drove a trailer truck for two years and then I delivered down there for a few years and I only got one speeding ticket in all that time. It was for going 45 in a 35-mile zone. I was just trying to get it started to go up the hill.

    I enjoyed it and it was good for me. I felt proud. 

Editor’s Note:  This transcript ends abruptly because of a tape recording problem. The omission is just a “thank you” from Gus Karlsen to Dick Bartell for sitting for the interview, and a statement about how these interviews will be archived.
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