In 1970, I attended MK 42 "C" School at THE Gun School! That's the way the pro football players do it and I always wanted to highlight where I got my education; "THE Gun School" Cool!!
In any case, there were many good Gunner's Mates at Gun school at that time. Many who made Chief, Senior Chief, or Master Chief. Many I have written about in this Blog. But today, I thought of Red Mills when I was getting a cup of coffee. In Gun School, we sat at two man tables. We all had coffee cups, most has ash trays. Our tech manuals were on the tables and our notebooks. Red was an avid coffee drinker. He would come into the classroom in the morning, make a bee line for his desk, grab his coffee cup without stopping and head for the coffee mess on the carrier deck of the MK 42 Mod 7 training stand. We decided we would pull a trick on Red, who was also our Class Leader. One Friday afternoon, as we were doing field day on the classroom, we decided to RTV his coffee cup to the table top. On Monday morning, we were all in the classroom early, Ted came into the classroom, made a bee line to his table, grabbed his coffee cup while still in motion, and came to an abrupt STOP!! The table tried t follow him, but he stopped when he felt the resistance. We all burst into laughter! It was truly funny!
I also remember when we came back from Christmas leave, Red had left some coffee in his cup, and over two weeks of fermenting, he had a pretty good science experiment growing in his coffee cup. He picked up his cup, looked at the fuzzy green stuff growing on top of the left over coffee, and drank it down!! Coffee is coffee.
RE was an ASROC Gunner's Mate who changed over to gun mounts and went to MK 42 "C" school. He went to the USS Benjamin Stoddard, a DDG, and deployed to WESTPAC, and the gun line off the coast of Viet Nam to provide Naval Gun Fire Support to the ground troops. He had very little gun mount experience and that lack of experience lead to his death. He experienced a Foul Bore with a HOT GUN in Mount 51. During the process of the Foul Bore, he decided the problem was with the firing lock, (firing pin assembly). He removed the firing lock, leaving a 2.5 inch hole in the breech block. Just as Red removed the firing lock, the gun cooked off!! It killed Red, the young GMGSN in the carrier room, and Master Chief Gunner's Mate Hass who was standing behind the gun mount. The soft patch on the back of the gun, the place where the Gunnar Radar Equipment was mounted in the old days, smashed the Masted Chief between the soft patch and the superstructure of the ship.
That was 1971. I still miss Red Mills and all the guys I went to "C" school with. Those were very good days.