Sea Stories

“Below decks it was HOT, no air conditioning. Air was taken from topside (outside) and blown into the living compartments. At night when you slept in your bunk, you sweat. Your mattress would get real damp. When you got up the first thing you did was cover up your mattress with a fireproof cover. This would be almost airtight and after a few weeks your bunk became pretty ripe. First chance you had the ship would air bedding. You would take your bedding topside and air it. I had a large air duct alongside my bunk. I cut a small hole in it and fitted a piece of a tin can to divert some air onto me. It helped.”

-William Taylor, Boatswain’s Mate 1/c


“When I came off watch at midnight, I’d get a blanket and a pillow and go up by the forward 16-inch guns and sleep on the deck until it was time to go on watch again or breakfast. That’s the only way you could stay cool.”

-Ortho Farrar, Machinist’s Mate 1/c


“They let me work in flag plot. It was a small place. I can remember it was air- conditioned. I was so lucky to be able to work in there and I even had a little canvas cot and I slept in there at night.”

-Lieutenant Ben Blee, Combat Intelligence Officer


“The trick was to take a shower, go quietly in your bunk, even though the ship itself might have been a 100 degrees, to go to bed before you start sweating again, to get at least a half hour sleep before you wake up again from the sweat and everything else and continue on the day.”

-Leo Neumann, Machinist’s Mate 1/c


“A lot of times we’d be very tired. You got very little sleep. I’ve actually gone on my gun stations like some of the other men. I’ve seen them do it. You’d lie down as soon as you could get a break. I’d hang my arms over the gun’s shield and just dose off. I could go to sleep standing up. When we were allowed to, we’d lie down on top of one of the 40mm gun boxes and get some sleep.

-Ollie Goad


“I slept outside. Everybody slept more or less near their battle stations, and I slept outside. “

-Paul Wieser, Boatswain’s Mate 1/c


“Routine was to bring your mattress up from the bunk down below because nobody wanted to get caught below if we got torpedoed. Sleep up on the Signal Bridge. Every once in a while you wake up in a puddle. It would rain in on you.”

-Jackson Belford, Signalman 3/c