A Beautiful and Storied Ship, Part Three

I have been meaning to put up the rest of the photos from my tour of the USS Cassin Young, but I just hadn’t been able to get around to it yet.

View from the fantail
View from the fantail

So here are more of the photos from the tour, in no particular order.

Living spaces are one of those things that actually interest me a great deal, because learning about daily life in different historical settings has always been a big thing for me.  So I am fascinated by the way living spaces were economized on board the ship.  Below is the laundry room, which would have been the only laundry for the 20 or so officers and 300 or so enlisted men on board.

Uniforms pressed there on the left, with the industrial washer there on the left.  Dryer (not pictured) is to the right of the hatch when you enter the room.
Uniforms pressed there on the left, with the industrial washer there on the left. Dryer is barely visible and just to the right of the hatch when you enter the room.

The kitchen is of course fascinating too, and I can’t imagine how busy the cramped space must have been.

Those are some big pots.  Soup, anyone?
Those are some big pots. Soup, anyone?

There are also cooking surfaces and ovens, and I remember reading about all the bread and other baked goods that would be made daily on board, at least while the ingredients lasted.  The quality of the basic food provided was generally pretty good, although from what I have read the quality of the cooking could vary pretty widely.  If you had good cooks, you generally ate pretty well, and from what I have heard, submariners generally ate the best (and apparently still do).  My understanding is that several World War Two museum ships (USS Cod and USS Iowa are the ones I know about for sure) still prepare meals in their kitchens as part of their living history programs.  Honestly, I would love to try a “typical” U.S. Navy meal from that era sometime.

One thing I noticed is that in order to take food from the kitchen to the chief petty officers’ mess, food would have to be carried out onto deck, then through a hatch in the deck down a “ladder” (name for really steep stairs that are so common on board) and then to the chiefs’ mess.

The hatch in question, on the foredeck in front of No. 51 Mount.
The hatch in question, on the foredeck in front of No. 51 Mount.

Wow.  That must have been the sort of thing that took some practice and generally getting used to doing.  But the Chief’s mess seemed pretty nice at least.

Not the wardroom, but still pretty nice.
Not the wardroom, but still pretty nice.

The other side of the chiefs’ mess looked like this.

Looks like the have their own little kitchenette, too.
Looks like the have their own little kitchenette, too.

Of course the officers have the nicest and roomiest quarters.  Comparatively speaking, it looks pretty comfy.  A fair bit of space for books and personal belongings and the ability to actually hang uniforms up was probably nice too.

Even officers had a roommate, except for the captain and the XO.
Even officers had a roommate, except for the captain and the XO.

The captain had his own room, as did the executive officer or XO, and had his own “head”, or bathroom, as well.  The exec had to share a bathroom, though.

The captain also had what was known as a sea cabin, located near the bridge.  Not as nice as his other cabin, still, it was a space where the captain could relax with a bit of privacy.

View of the captain's sea cabin showing door to his private head.  Note the helmet on the shelf.
View of the captain’s sea cabin showing door to his private head. Note the helmet on the shelf.

The purpose of the sea cabin is to give the captain a chance to rest while also giving him nearly immediate access to the bridge, which is connected to the sea cabin by a small corridor.

View of the bridge from the starboard side bridge wing.  The wind screens and roof were added post-World War Two.
View of the bridge from the starboard side bridge wing. The wind screens and roof were added post-World War Two.

You can see what the bridge would have originally looked like below.  This photo is from World War Two, showing the bridge of USS Charles Ausburne (DD 570) which was then flagship of one of the most famous destroyermen of the US Navy, Arleigh Burke, for whom a current class of US Navy destroyers is named.  You can actually see the future admiral in the photo, to left center in profile.

Seems like quite a crowded place.
Seems like quite a crowded place.  Note the “tally” on the main gun director. 

Inside, the bridge is also pretty crowded, with all sorts of equipment not only for controlling the ship but also for communicating with the rest of the ship.

The main engine telegraph.  I believe that chair was for the captain while he was on the bridge.
The main engine telegraph. I believe that chair was for the captain while he was on the bridge.
Each  phone communicates with a different compartment.
Each phone communicates with a different compartment.

Note the special alarms: collision and general [quarters].
Note the special alarms: collision and general [quarters].
The old general quarters alarm was pretty distinctive sounding.  I don’t know what the collision alarm sounded like.

The bridge also had an inclinometer for showing how much the ship was rolling.

No idea why it came out so blurry.  But you get the idea.
No idea why it came out so blurry. But you get the idea.

Of course, in a storm (like Typhoon Cobra) small ships like this one would roll quite a bit.  In that particular storm in December 1944, three destroyers were sunk, two from the older Farragut class, and one Fletcher-class destroyer, the USS Spence (DD-512), which rolled over so far she could not recover.  She had already rolled more than 70 degrees when she lost power.  This caused her to lose power to her pumps and steering, and soon after she capsized and went down.  There were only 24 survivors from the crew of 339.  Altogether there were less than 100 survivors from the more than 800 men that made up the three crews.

Sick bay, showing the generally small size of the room.  In combat the wardroom would sometimes become an operating room.
Sick bay, showing the generally small size of the room. In combat the wardroom would sometimes become an operating room.
The radio room, on the same small corridor as he sick bay.
The radio room, on the same small corridor as he sick bay.

So as you can see, I got to see quite a bit of the ship, and I did not even get pictures of everything that I saw.  It was a real treat.

Perhaps one day I will get to do history volunteer work again.

-Geoff

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