Life aboard a fletcher class destroyer

Thanks to Command Master Chief, FTCM Jon Jacques (Ret)

USS Halsey Powell
(Approx: 1962-1964)

I will always remember being on or around the fantail while the ship was above 20 knots.  Above 30 and you get the hell outof there.  The rooster tail was above the deck as the stern dropped down.  Sometimes when on after lookout we would stand the watch on the 01 level next to MT 54, since you might get washed overboard if you were on the main deck.  Watching the whole fantail disappear under water when the rudder came over full right or full left.  God almighty could she go fast.

Standing Helm or Lee Helm watch when the ship would roll hard port or starboard and a big wave would launch itself rightthrough the bridge and we would be knee deep in salt water. I stood after steering watches that almost vibrated the fillings out of my teeth.  It was hot. noisy, and smelled of hydraulicfluid.  It was all one could do to stay awake.  You couldn't even read a novel because everything was bouncing.

A five gun salvo would rattle crap out of the vents in gun plot, and light bulbs would shatter, pipes would break.  I thinkthe dirt and crud remained from WWII. Nights spent doing battery alignment, the Allen wrench tied to my wrist so I wouldn't drop it into the train receiverregulator.  The skin on my wrist all chafed off from having my hand stuck up in there. 

Using the split ring on the gears to get the alignment within a minute or so. Hoping that the line we were using to pull the fueling hose over wouldn't drag us all back through the block whenthe ship and the oiler swayed apart. Making a BT drop at night when we were at "darken ship" and the moon was hidden ........ the phrase "darker thanthe inside of a cow's ass" applies here.  The waves would come up over the deck, it was cold and I knew thatthe huge squid from 20000 Leagues Under the Sea was about to send a big tentacle up over the lifelinesand drag my dumb ass into the sea. The smell of hot yeasty bread on the 4 to 8 watch.  Gobbling down big chunks of it with butter and hot coffee. Hearing what Doppler shift was when we pinged on an inbound Mark 14 torpedo during sub PCO quals.  Watching a huge Mark 14 broach and leap right across our wake. The memories go on and on and on.........


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