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Thread: Destroyers - Fletcher Class

  1. #3421
    Senior Contributor blidgepump's Avatar
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    Excellent color photos ....

    Thank you for posting these photos. Note the clean crisp images and color to boot.
    The wear and tear on the Stoddard is very evident and brings to life the exposure a DD is subjected too.

    Quote Originally Posted by bbvet View Post
    BM9 Wrote:


    Yes, that was the way to go concerning garbage & trash back in the '60s while underway. Here is a shot of STODDARD in port with our "Classified Info Disposal Unit" in place:
    Attachment 45284
    I can't recall where or when that photo was made, but sometime between 1966-68. Here is another shot of the fantail of the ship during our '66-67 Westpac cruise awaiting highlining to off load spent canisters. The chute is visible at the bottom:
    Attachment 45285
    As you can see, we also had a 55 gal drum located next door for burning "other debris", etc.

  2. #3422
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    Yea, those colors photos are quite nice! You can also get an appreciation for the "pancaking" effects on the hull from the years of service and sandblasting that take their toll on the hull steel. 1/4" thk. plate isn't all that much. I recall the welding up and grinding of holes from rust was an ongoing task.

    On the model front, I've finally found a gentleman in AZ (who BTW is a model RR Custom Decal Maker) to make a set of 1/144 scale decals for the Revell 1/144 scale FLETCHER kit with the 1950s/60s era shaded numbers/draft marks/ship's lettering etc. In addition, he has created a sheet of Helo Pad decals for me as well from my dimensioned CAD drawing. So, I am back in business with the the pad's completion (hopefully) this coming week on my NEW JERSEY model. The 1/144 kit is in my upcoming projects and not under construction yet.

  3. #3423
    Senior Contributor blidgepump's Avatar
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    Life size model ...

    You don't often get inside the main battery gun director... so I'm sharing this photo from a recent work day aboard the USS KIDD.
    I toured the KIDD in 2004; this lead to the bucket list of touring all the remaining Fletchers displayed in US waters. No offence against Greece, I just haven't figured a way to get there.

    "Staff member Hank Doughty works to rotate the main battery gun director aboard USS KIDD (DD-661) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on February 02, 2018. A group of volunteers from AmeriCorps NCCC FEMA Delta Team 1 helped the museum to restore motion to the gun director. (Photo by Rachel Rudebock)"
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  4. #3424
    Senior Contributor blidgepump's Avatar
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    Director close ups....

    The USS KIDD was the first on my Fletcher list and I learned quite a bit about photographing, seeking access, cataloging and generally making sense of what I was looking at on a 2100 Ton DD.

    By the time I got to THE SULLIVANS many friends from the WAB came forward to assist in teaching and making connections when I toured this DD the day before it closed for the season in Buffalo, NY. Yes it was a brisk day on the water. Luckily I passed the P.T. test and was granted access. These photos are from the top of the main battery gun director. As you can tell not many folks have been there from the paint. The interior was stripped of equipment with a plexiglass cover on one of the hatches.
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  5. #3425
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    BP,

    The STODDARD Reunion group held one of their reunions in Baton Rouge, LA in the '90s and we attended. KIDD, of course, was the main attraction but we didn't get into these spaces at all. All these years I was under the impression that the ship was in 1st Class Condition (actually "operable condition") according to the publicized accounts. I guess they still do have some areas (such as the MK. 37 FC Director) that need total renewal - I was rather surprised to see your photo of its sad condition. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, there is still plenty of work to do.

    Your 2nd/3rd photos of THE SULLIVANS MK 37 doesn't surprise me in that I would imagine that most, if not all of the FC Directors on museum ships have been sealed since decommissioning and that restoring them would be extremely time consuming and possibly expensive. I don't think any of the battleship museum ships have done any work on these items. To be honest, with insurance companies calling the visitation shots on these ships, who could afford the premiums to allow the public any type of access?

    Personally, I would love to see at least one of the IOWA museums open up and refurbish their forward Mk. 13 Main Battery FC and make the entire conning tower available on a limited basis to those that are able - the 011 Level is quite spectacular to visit!!!

    Hank

    ps - if I got the photo id wrong - set me straight!! Also, post any more photos you may have!

  6. #3426
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbvet View Post
    BP,

    The STODDARD Reunion group held one of their reunions in Baton Rouge, LA in the '90s and we attended. KIDD, of course, was the main attraction but we didn't get into these spaces at all. All these years I was under the impression that the ship was in 1st Class Condition (actually "operable condition") according to the publicized accounts. I guess they still do have some areas (such as the MK. 37 FC Director) that need total renewal - I was rather surprised to see your photo of its sad condition. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, there is still plenty of work to do.

    Your 2nd/3rd photos of THE SULLIVANS MK 37 doesn't surprise me in that I would imagine that most, if not all of the FC Directors on museum ships have been sealed since decommissioning and that restoring them would be extremely time consuming and possibly expensive. I don't think any of the battleship museum ships have done any work on these items. To be honest, with insurance companies calling the visitation shots on these ships, who could afford the premiums to allow the public any type of access?

    Personally, I would love to see at least one of the IOWA museums open up and refurbish their forward Mk. 13 Main Battery FC and make the entire conning tower available on a limited basis to those that are able - the 011 Level is quite spectacular to visit!!!

    Hank

    ps - if I got the photo id wrong - set me straight!! Also, post any more photos you may have!
    An alternative approach perhaps is open up some of the hard to get to spaces to Museum Members under very controlled circumstances. And then appeal to those very well healed members for contributions to restore those same spaces.

  7. #3427
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    FD Wrote:
    An alternative approach perhaps is open up some of the hard to get to spaces to Museum Members under very controlled circumstances. And then appeal to those very well healed members for contributions to restore those same spaces.
    Well, a few of the museum ships DO offer special tours for members into areas that are NORMALLY off-limits to the general public. And yes, the cash flow is the main conduit to getting things done quicker, if at all. While it would be impractical to try to open the MK.37 directors on the sides of ALABAMA, MASSECHEUSETTS, and NORTH CAROLINA (and the IOWAs, as well), I could see getting the conning towers of all those ships refurbished and open (including the forward MK. 37 director) AND limiting access to those who are PHYICALLY able to do so. Of course, this would probably be unacceptable to the ACLU, yada, yada, yada!!! So, it more than likely will never happen. Just my opinion, for what it's worth.

  8. #3428
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbvet View Post
    FD Wrote:


    Well, a few of the museum ships DO offer special tours for members into areas that are NORMALLY off-limits to the general public. And yes, the cash flow is the main conduit to getting things done quicker, if at all. While it would be impractical to try to open the MK.37 directors on the sides of ALABAMA, MASSECHEUSETTS, and NORTH CAROLINA (and the IOWAs, as well), I could see getting the conning towers of all those ships refurbished and open (including the forward MK. 37 director) AND limiting access to those who are PHYICALLY able to do so. Of course, this would probably be unacceptable to the ACLU, yada, yada, yada!!! So, it more than likely will never happen. Just my opinion, for what it's worth.
    I have spent many hours in a MK 37 Director and would love a rematch................if I can get in! A good stereoscopic rangefinder operator was also pretty handy and often almost as accurate as the Mk-25 radar. Good backup!

    "Behind the Scenes" tours are a good way to engender interest in the Museum Ship and make membership special and unique.

  9. #3429
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    Behind the scenes....

    Quote Originally Posted by FlankDestroyer View Post
    I have spent many hours in a MK 37 Director and would love a rematch................if I can get in! A good stereoscopic rangefinder operator was also pretty handy and often almost as accurate as the Mk-25 radar. Good backup!

    "Behind the Scenes" tours are a good way to engender interest in the Museum Ship and make membership special and unique.
    A real bare bones tour includes the stuff museum ships aren't as proud.... as an example when company comes on the holidays and I've got to hide all the stuff to insure the guests don't think we live in such a manner....
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  10. #3430
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    Great (?) photos, BP!!

    I've seen some from NORTH CAROLINA that are very similar in nature. When you figure the ship had several dozens or hundreds of crew while the museums operate on a volunteer miniscule force, well....it's obvious that things will never be touched, painted, or maintained in the proper fashion - just what's VISIBLE to the public.

  11. #3431
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    Manpower ...

    Quote Originally Posted by bbvet View Post
    Great (?) photos, BP!!

    I've seen some from NORTH CAROLINA that are very similar in nature. When you figure the ship had several dozens or hundreds of crew while the museums operate on a volunteer miniscule force, well....it's obvious that things will never be touched, painted, or maintained in the proper fashion - just what's VISIBLE to the public.
    Manpower is key when sustaining a ship and that usually means dollars $$$.

    I just got notified that I'll be in Charleston in April and I'm trying to waggle an extra day to tour Patriots Point.
    Perhaps capture some photos of the Laffey a cousin to the Fletcher - DD's ???
    Quite a lot has been covered on WAB about the Yorktown so I'm looking forward to another adventure and inspect the condition as time permits.

  12. #3432
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    Foiled again....

    Well the trip to Charleston is out ! I got bumped and will make the detour to Augusta via Nashville. No DD's on displayed but the chance to study some more prevails.
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    Quote Originally Posted by blidgepump View Post
    Well the trip to Charleston is out ! I got bumped and will make the detour to Augusta via Nashville. No DD's on displayed but the chance to study some more prevails.
    Good evening bilgepump. Sorry you got bumped after looking at your photo I believe it is mislabeled as that photo I’d of the port side fwd fire room whisk is about frame 82. Which has the weather break. The stbd side was open protected by the superstructure sea/weather break. The drawing you used is very hard to read I found one for the Fletcher at https://maritime.org/doc/plans/dd445.pdf it is a little clearer and easier to read. Hope this helps.

  14. #3434
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    Quote Originally Posted by blidgepump View Post
    A real bare bones tour includes the stuff museum ships aren't as proud.... as an example when company comes on the holidays and I've got to hide all the stuff to insure the guests don't think we live in such a manner....
    In the 70’s while stationed at inact ships in Philadelphia. We were required to be present when sailors or shipyard came to canabalize the ships. Those people did not care what they took nor didtheybotherto clean up the mess they made. We triedtoinforce cleanliness however it very seldom worked. Most of the ships were going to scrap or such as Kid, museums they were never going to be lit off again so there was a general lax attitude back then. Those ships slated for museums were taken better care of but still lax. The spaces you show are direct evidence of that. I think the attitude was keep her water tight and let the next proprietor worry about it. We knew the general public would not get access to many of the spaces because of the vertical ladders, safety and liability concerns. Particularly engineering spaces they were the worst for the most part. Although that evaporator I looks pretty clean. I think in some of the ships they cut anaccess door from the emergency diesel to the aft engine room didn’t they? Any way I believe there are rules governing access to spaces that hav only vertical ladders not sure but I believe so.

  15. #3435
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    BM9,

    Your comments re. the cannibalization of mothballed ships for parts brings up a similar situation from my DD days: I got my Division Officer & Weapons Dept. head's approval to request a replacement door for my 01 Level Gunnery Office watertight door and it was subsequently approved by the people at the inactive ship facility in San Diego - this was in the spring of 1968, and there were many FLETCHER class DD's still in mothballs. We got the ship's pickup truck and after removing the door and putting it in the truck, drove down the coast from 5th St. Naval Station to the inactive fleet facility and to the ship we were getting the replacement door from. In those days you had to replace one for one, every item that was taken off the ship. They were strict about following the regs and no funny business was tolerated (the way it SHOULD be!). I can't recall the hull number of the ship we got the door from, but she had never seen a day of service. Without elec. power (lights) our short tour of this ship didn't get us far, but I did go into the Mt. 54 Upper Handling Room (this was a 5 gun FLETCHER, WWII configuration) - it was absolutely pristine - everything bright brass, unpainted, and covered in cosmoline for protection. If only our ship had looked this good!!! Luckily, it was a sunny day and we were able to get up on the bridge/pilot house - also, in mint condition. Alas, that ship has long since gone to the breakers, having never served in active duty. One note, we were checked by the guard coming into the facility and also checked by him when we left - just to make sure we didn't have anything else that was not on the authorization form. They did not accompany us while we cannibalized the part, but were very aware of what we came for and left with.
    Last edited by bbvet; 22 Feb 18, at 11:17.

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