By Leo Block
This publication describes the lifetime of the enlisted guy aboard a Farragut classification destroyer throughout the pre-World conflict II years; the conflict instruction interval in 1941; and the wartime years. It positive factors first-person narrations amassed from interviews and correspondence with the few last Farragut type destroyer sailors, and in brief describes the evolution of the destroyer and the Farragut category destroyers, 5 of which survived the conflict.
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Additional info for Aboard the Farragut Class Destroyers in World War II: A History With First-Person Accounts of Enlisted Men
The Dungaree Navy concept did not in any way detract from military smartness or discipline. In port the quarterdeck (not a true deck but a location designated by the captain)1 was always the altar of the ship. There was no smoking or loitering on the quarterdeck and the gangway watch (usually a petty ofﬁcer of the seaman branch) and his messenger were always in an immaculate uniform of the day and on their feet, constantly alert, for the entire four hour period of their watch. Each member of the liberty party was inspected for proper uniform and haircut before permission was granted to leave the ship.
The gunnery ofﬁcer (called the gun boss) was a senior lieutenant and the department included enlisted gunner’s mates, ﬁre control men, torpedomen, and seamen (strikers) that were eventually to advance to one of these ratings. 50-caliber machine guns (later the 20 and 40 millimeter anti-aircraft guns), all small arms (riﬂes and pistols), magazines, ammunition, magazine ammunition hoists and the magazine sprinkling systems. Fire controlmen maintained all ﬁre control electrical circuits as well as the ﬁre control director and computer and the range ﬁnders.
I thought of the ofﬁcers as being old wise men, but they were only 4 or 5 years older than we were. An Ensign was usually about 5 years older as they went to 4 years college, and in the Navy about a year. The education and those few years made them look important to me. The ofﬁcers had access to the crew’s quarters so it was easier for them to see how the enlisted men lived than it was the other way around. Ofﬁcers were also better informed as to what was actually going on versus the swabbie and his scuttlebutt (which many times was accurate).