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.