|right by the Main Brace so at least they could get a cold one before heading back into the fire|
|you have to know ship fires to realize just how pointless this is|
Back then in my world the switchboard watch could terminate most class charlie (electrical fires) by simply opening the breaker on the switchboard for that piece of gear/part of ship. It was the Chiefs who had trained them to do that instantly without looking around for somebody to tell them what to do. A good engineer would hold fire fighting training every single day in port and at sea so the duty sections which changed every so often knew how to deal with it as a team. You used to be able to drive ships OK without a spec of electricity. Boilers didn't care. Neither did diesels. I can't recall running a gas turbine without electricity. I kind of doubt it could be done but I could also be wrong.
I wrote the watch bills for the whole ship and yet one of the things I never really had to bother with was the repair locker leader assignments to the crew. There was a number one nozzleman, there was a hoseman, there was a backup nozzle man for the applicator and hosemen for him as well. I was supposed to know each of their qualifications and when it reached idiotic levels, their dates of qualification or expected date if not quite qualified in writing. I didn't worry about it too much.
What the navy had was an ethos that required one truly good petty officer in place at the right time to deal with anything. We did that. Maybe we got lucky but there were only a couple of times that I can remember so well when I thought maybe we'd screwed up. That was back when I was trying to fight a ship with just 23 men on it when it was designed to be fought by a full crew of 100. 18 of them didn't appear to have any qualifications at all but still our Group commander insisted that we keep our schedule and get underway. We did once do it for four days and nights and I had to explain to the CO that this would mean me being fast asleep on watch since I was the only Engineering Officer of the Watch, Top Watch, etc and that we had probably better be at anchor at those times so the qualified guys minding the generators were awake and on watch. Power and light 24 hours a day, oh, and firemain pressure of at least 100 psi.
There was a big difference between my experience and that of the crew in the ship above. I knew from reading the history of my last ship class that any one of the hundred we had built could burn to the waterline and sink in under 12 minutes. The idea of fighting fires for 4 days and not sinking were not in the cards. We knew exactly how long it took to burn one down to the waterline because we did it a couple of times over the decades. The only survivor I remember was Enhance. It burned quite a bit during OPERATION ENDSWEEP and then it did it again later in SOCAL. Most of the rest that burned hard were simply discarded. There were, after all, a hundred of them.
The thing about the little ships was they had big fire fighting systems. It starts with fire hoses and huge pumps, CO2 smothering, HALON smothering and our favorite, Twin Agent which was a mix of water and foam to smother fires and our least favorite which was huge flasks of PKP; in both engine rooms and oddly enough, on the Damage Control deck above.
I did enjoy reading just a moment ago in the link that Pinnacle got hit by USS Forrestal way back when and
Atlantic 01/20/56: The USS James V. Forrestal (CVA-59) collides with the USS Pinnacle (MSO-462) at Norfolk, Virginia, slightly damaging the Pinnacle.We kind of did that once when a new CO was trying to moor the ship his first time driving in 3 years and we kind of ran into USS Wainwright in Mina Sulman and left an insignificant tiny dent in her stern. Very embarrassing. At some point one simply accepts that the old skills have atrophied by neglect and the passage of time and every ship handles differently.