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Friday, June 5, 2009

We're Ready!!

When I was on the USS Mullinnix, we had three 5"/54 Mk 42 Mod 7&8 gun mounts and a twin mount 3"/50. The 3"/50 was aft and between mount 52 and the after stack. It was the source of many funny stories. One time, we were shooting mount 31. I was in mount 52, Mount 31 had stopped firing and they had a foul bore condition in the right gun. The manual fire would not work, for reasons I don't remember, so the GMG1 in charge of the gun decided to use a "Stinger" from one of the 5"/54 mounts. We had "Stinger" in the 5" guns to fire the gun if the electrical circuit failed. It basically was a Ten Cap Blasting generator from demolition charges that had a long metal rod connected to a 6 foot lead of wire. To make the voltage you had to crank a handle that in turn turned a small generator in the unit. The GMG3 got the "Stinger" from mount 52. I know, because I handed it to him. I decided to sit in the left hand gun door and watch this circus. Now remember, I have told you before, that the chain of command, through the Fire Controlmen, have a inane ability to ask the same question, "What is the ETR of the casualty?" in a hundred different ways. Well, mount 31 had a large speaker on the bulkhead of the ready service magazine, and it was blaring stupid questions. Mean while, the GMG1 has the Blasting Machine in his hands and he is cranking the handle, unbeknownst to the GMG3. Why, I don't know. I guess it was fun. In any case, on the other end of this "Stinger" was the GMG3 who was trying to find a safe way to touch the "Stinger" to the firing pin, while not being in the way of all the recoiling mass of components that were going to come at him when the gun went "BOOM:".. The Fire Controlmen in Plot asked, "When are you going to be ready to clear the gun through the muzzle?" The GMG3 replied, "I will call you when I am ready." Just about that time, the GMG3 found the firing pin, at the same time the GMG1 cranked the generator on the Blasting Machine. BOOM!!! The gun fired. Plot immediately called mount 31 and asked, "What was that?!" Not even flustered, the GMG3 replied, "We're Ready!"

On another occasion, I remember the ship had some expanded metal bins mounted around teh gun tub of mount 31, The purpose of these bins was to store onions and potatoes. I don't know if storing fresh potatoes and onions outside, in the ocean air is good or bad. But, that's what we did. Just after the bins were installed and stocked with fresh onions, we got underway. As was the Captain's habit, as soon as we cleared the sea buoy, we shot all guns. When it came time to shoot mount 31, an interesting thing happened. With the first round from that twin mount, onion skins filled the air!! There were onion skins everywhere as they continued to shoot. I don't remember how may rounds mount 31 shot, but the Stew Burner's did not need to peel onions for a while!

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