Thursday, December 15, 2016

Chauncey Penfold, the USS Halford DD-480 & Puget Sound Naval Shipyard

A Naval Officer met us at the train station in Seattle on March 5, 1943. We ferried over to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard at Bremerton, Washington (30 to 40 minute ferry ride). We checked in at the barracks. The next morning, I met a machinist mate who had been there a couple months and he knew his way around. He was assigned to the same ship. He took me down to the office to get a pass for permission to go aboard the USS Halford DD-480 so that we could learn about the ship. We had never been on a ship before. So each day we would go down to the ship and try to learn more. Each day we would look at a different part of the ship. The welders and ship fitters were working hard to finish the ship.

We learned the following:
  • There were 2 engine rooms – each room with a 50,000 HP power steam engine and 450 KW AC 3 phase 440 volt generator to supply electricity for the ship. 440 volt was stepped down to 120 volt for lighting.
  • There was an emergency room with a diesel engine with a 1000 KW generator for emergency power.
  • There were 2 boiler rooms - each had two oil fired boilers that produced 600 PSI of super heated steam to power the ship’s two 50,000 HP steam engines.
  • There the I.C. room where the fire control computer was to control the 5 inch guns when on automatic. They had a fire control director on top of the bridge where two people sat. One controlled the elevation and one controlled the deflection. And when the guns were on automatic, this would feed into the computer for automatic aiming to direct the 5 inch guns for their targets.
  • Also in the I.C. was the PA for the ship.
  • Also in the I.C. was the gyro compass which let the Quartermaster(helmsman) steering the ship know where the ship was at to that he could set the ship’s course. There were two MG sets that powered the rotors on the compass (one to run and the other for backup).
  • Also in the I.C. was a control panel with switches to supply power to all the devices in the room.
  • The gyro compass feeds ship’s speed into the fire control computer and it also feed into a dead reckoning which plots position of the ship.
  • Bendix Underwater Log determined the ship’s speed by water pressure. There was sword that was located near front of the ship and stuck about 3 feet. It had a small hole in the front and a small hole in the back. The front hole measured the water pressure from the ship moving forward. The back hole recorded the static pressure of the water. One pressure sensor was connected to the front hole and another pressure sensor was connected to the back. The balance between the two pressure sensors determined the ship’s speed.
  • Both fed data into the speed indicator on the bridge, the fire control computer, the gyro compass, and the dead reckoning.
  • There was a Radar Room with the controls for the radar (above water to locate other ships).
  • There was a Sound Gear where a ping was sent to detect ships under water.
  • There was a Steering Gear Room where you could manually steer the ship if the automatic system is not working on the Bridge. The Steering Gear Room had a selector switch for automatic or manual.
  • There was a Control Room for the Anchor Windlass which controlled the motors that lifts the two anchors (one on each side). The anchors could also be controlled from the Bridge.
  • There was a Bridge for steering the ship.
  • There was a mess hall with a walk-in freezer room, officers mess hall, a galley, a storage room for supplies, a sick bay, a supply officer room, a laundry room, an evaporator (to evaporate sea water into fresh water, sleeping quarters for enlisted men (two in the rear and one in the front) and officers’ quarters, and three heads (one for the captain, one for the officers, and one for the rest of the crew. The head for the rest of the crew had four stalls with seats and two showers.
  • There were also four 20 mm guns, one twin 40 mm anti-aircraft gun, four 5 inch guns, 250 lb. depth charges (air guns to shoot them out) and 500 lb. depth charges (rolled off the back of the ship).
  • There was a Vought OS2U Kingfisher scout floatplane with its catapult. But a 5 inch gun, the after torpedo mount with five torpedo tubes, and the 20 mm mounts on the fantail were sacrificed to put the seaplane and catapult on.

The education I received in exploring and learning as the USS Halford DD-480 was being built was very valuable to my service as Electrician’s Mate in World War II.

Chauncey Penfold Trained at Electrician School at University of Minnesota

On the first Monday of December 1942, Chauncey Penfold commenced his twelve weeks of U.S. Navy’s Electrician School at the University of Minnesota at City of Minneapolis. That morning the commander called a meeting for the 120 (divided into groups of 10) of our company to inform us of what we needed to do. Each group was given their schedule of classes. So while one group of ten attended math, another group went to blueprint reading class. We had math, wiring lab, blueprint reading, electrical theory, and motor/generator testing lab.

The whole company had breakfast, lunch and dinner together. Our laundry was sent out. We had dress inspection on Saturday mornings. For the first two months, the co-eds (ladies) served the food. After that, the Navy cooks and cook strikers took over and the lines moved a lot faster.

In the wiring lab, they assigned us our lab partner and gave us a list of what we needed for the wiring project. My lab partner was smart. He instructed me to get two of the first half of the list and he got two of each of the last half of the list. With this time management technique, we finished first and received another lab project which we usually completed. My lab partner did house wiring before he joined the U.S. Navy. In one of the labs, they gave us the mechanical parts to a small motor. We had to wire it up and make it run.

We got liberty on Saturday afternoons and Sunday. I enjoyed going to the USO in St. Paul by streetcar on Saturday afternoon.  On Sunday, the laundry came back which I rolled my clothing and placed it in my seabag. I studied my homework and also the U.S. Navy’s basic handbook, The Bluejacket's Manual.

On liberty. I went with Richard Heater to his friends’ house for Christmas Dinner. Classes were not held on New Year’s Day. Because of World War II, training/education continued between Christmas and New Year's Day.

We finished our twelve weeks of Electrical School at the end of February 1943. I graduated and earned a rating of Third Class Electrician’s Mate. I was particularly good at labwork and reading blueprints.

The following Monday morning in a meeting of the 120 of us, the commander announced that all of us got delayed orders, except a few. I was standing with Richard Heater and Clifford Trezise, whom had come with me from Farragut NTS, Idaho. I said to them, “I am one of the few”. They asked me how I knew. I said, “Just wait and see”. Right after the meeting ended, I received the paperwork to go to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard at Bremerton, Washington along with four others who were cooks and cook strikers. I was assigned to the U.S.S. Halford DD-480. The five of us packed our seabags and were put on the train to Bremerton Washington.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Chauncey Penfold Trained at Farragut Naval Training Station, Idaho

A U.S. Naval Training Station was established at Farragut, Idaho to be far from possible coastal invasion and/or coastal bombings.  Our company was on the bottom floor of our barracks in Camp Waldron (one of six Camps).  Each  camp had between 20 and 22 two-story barracks, drill field, a mess hall, recreation building, sick bay and dispensary, administration building, and a drill hall with a swimming pool (ours was not finished).  In some areas/camps, not all of the barracks were finished.  When I was there, a lot of building was still being done.  After I left, they eventually finished even the hospital.  Also, there were very few WAVES while I was there.

We arrived at Farragut Naval Training Station (Farragut NTS) at the beginning of October, 1942.  The next morning after we arrived at Farragut Naval Training Station, they took two of us at a time to the Barber to get our hair cut.  The young man that I went with had 2 inch long hair and he asked the Barber to give him a light trim.  The Barber said, “O.K.” and then the Barber shaved a path from the front of his head over the top of his head and then down the back.  After that, the Barber shaved the rest of his hair off.  The Navy’s induction cut for new boot camp participants is a clipper cut with no guard (number 0) all over the head, leaving a short stubble-like finish.  Also on the first day at Farragut NTS, we had to mark all of our clothes, etc. with the stencils that were given to us with our clothes, etc. the night before.

We marched in the morning and in the afternoon.  We went to classes on Navy rules, regulations, and what was expected of us.  This included classes on knot tying, how to pack clothes in a seabag, etc.

On liberty, I went to see my sister Ruby and her husband Weston Justice in Spokane, Washington.  Weston was an instructor on airplane engine mechanics.  Weston took me back to Farragut NTS.

The first four companies were graduated on November 26, 1942 and Ross Hall took the company group pictures.  I belonged to Company 4, 11th Battalion, 3rd Regiment.  After graduation, we were all given seven days of leave.  I went home on the Greyhound Bus to help my parents with the dehorning and branding of the calves.

We were given aptitude tests before graduation.  So the morning after I arrived in Farragut NTS from my leave, I was put on a train with two others for electrical school training at the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis.  We were on the train for that day then the night and the following day.  It was really cold on the train through Montana even with our Navy Peacoats on and the heat on all the way because it was the beginning of December 1942.  We arrived into Minneapolis at 9:00 p.m. and we had a cold walk to the dormitory from the train station because the streetcars had stopped running.
Chauncey Penfold Trained at Farragut Naval Training Station, Idaho

Friday, August 19, 2016

Chauncey Penfold Joined the U.S. Navy!

There were only radios when Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941. Nonetheless, everyone was informed about it all across the United States and were talking about it.

I decided to enlist in the Navy so I pre-registered into the Navy in June of 1942, because I did not like the idea of carrying a pack. I was helping to thresh grain at Arnold’s in September of 1942. The Navy Recruiting Officer picked me up off the stack of grain and we passed by my house to pick up my suitcase that I had already packed. He drove me to Salt Lake City, Utah and put me up in a hotel that the Navy paid my bill. The next morning, the Navy Recruiter took me for a physical. When they check me, the Navy’s doctor found wax in my ear and said I would have to see a private doctor to have it removed. When I told the Navy Recruiter, he said, “You don’t have to go to a doctor. They can wash it out.” He sent me back in for them to wash it out. A couple of Pharmacist Mates washed it out. I signed the papers to join the Navy right after the wax was washed out of my ear.

The next day, I boarded a train with nine other enlisted men for Farragut Naval Training Station on the Southern end of Lake Pend Oreille in Farragut, Idaho in Northern Idaho. It took the train three days to get there because the train kept getting side-tracked so that other regular trains could pass.  We did not arrive until 9:00 P.M. at night. So they took us to the supply building and issued our clothes,etc. then took us to the barracks. It was late. The Commanding Officer asked if we had our bunk numbers and we said no. So he said, “Grab the closest bunk and we will straighten this out tomorrow.” A guy by the name of Day was standing next to me and he said, “You take the top bunk and I can have the bottom one.”