Sunday, July 27, 2008

USS Turner Joy

Last Sunday the family ate lunch at the Boat Shed, a seafood restaurant located on the east anchorage of the Manette Bridge in Bremerton, Washington. Since it was a pleasant day (as Washington days go, I'm told), we ate on the deck.

From our seats I could see the USS Turner Joy (DD 951) birthed across the bay in the Port of Bremerton. After lunch, Debbie and I headed over and toured the ship for an hour and a half.

Two things about the Turner Joy struck me as we walked her decks. First, I remember the ship from my time in the 7th Fleet. During three WestPac cruises in 1972-74, we saw the Turner Joy several times at Subic Bay and other places.

The Turner Joy is the half-sister ship the my third ship, the USS Robison (DDG 12). The Robison is the 11th of 23 ships in the Charles F. Adams class of guided missile destroyers. The Turner Joy was the last of 18 ships in the Forrest Sherman class of destroyers.

Almost every aspect of the ship -- from aft berthing under Mount 53 (Supply Division birthing on the Robison) to the galley and main deck passageway -- was as I remembered it on the Robison. The two classes were so close in design that I easily navigated the Turner Joy with my wife.

As the watch captain of one of two galley watches in 1978-79 on the Robison, I spent considerable time on the Turner Joy's mess decks, located mid-ships on the main deck. The arrangement of the galley with the deep sinks and bread locker forward, griddle and ovens in the mid-section, and coppers and prep area aft, is basically the same for both ships.

The galley is located on the port side of the main deck housing on both ships. To eat, the enlisted sailor (seaman recruit through petty office first class) entered the mess decks from the forward passageway. The the steam line was situated along two-thirds the length of the galley on the port side for both ships. Officers ate in the wardroom mess, located forward while chief petty officers ate in their own mess aft.

When you look through the line you see an efficient use of space. Every flat surface, with the exception of prep surfaces, was used to mount food service equipment.

The meat slicer was tucked in along the bulkhead to the left of the ovens. Sandwiched between the griddle and bulkhead was the warming box. The two drawers held utensils. A 20-quart mixer was bolted to the surface of the centerboard, which had plenty of drawers and slots for sheet pans and hotel pans.

If you look carefully, you can see the meat slicer, mixer and ovens in the second photo.

As watch captain, I could select any job during my shift. In addition to directing the work of the shift, I usually worked the coppers -- called the "copper king" by Navy cooks.

It was my favorite duty of all my assignments in eight and one-half years of active duty. The copper king prepared all the major components of the meal. Anything that would be cooked in a stock pot or sauce pan ashore was cooked in the coppers (steam jacketed kettles to land-lubbers), including all sauces, braised meats (like pot roast or cornned beef) and vegetables.

One aspect of working in the galley on these two ships are the close quarters. On the Robison, three cooks could safely and comfortably work in the galley during one watch (or shift). Any more and you were elbow-to-elbow.

The on-coming watch on the Robison arrived in the galley just before lunch. The leading chief kept the out-going watch on duty until after lunch was served. In that two-hour period, six cooks plus the chief crowded into the galley.

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