|The primary mission of the Gunnery Department was to destroy any target objective,
land, sea or air. Firing the guns required the coordinated effort of several hundred
crew. The principal responsibility for maintaining the guns fell on the Gunner's
Mates, who were typically part of the 7 different topside, or deck divisions. Every
recruit learned to load the 5"38 at boot camp, and every crewmember, from Captain to
mess cook, could be called upon to "man the guns".
The actual aiming and firing of the guns was the responsibility of the Fire Control Technicians (Fox Division), who used both optical sighting and radar for target acquisition. In the case of a loss of the primary fire control director, control could be switched to another director or even given to the mount itself, which had pointer (elevation) and trainer (bearing) controls on the mount.
Many skills were brought into play. Maintaining the gun mounts and turrets required knowledge of mechanics, electrical, & hydraulic systems. Maintain the fire control equipment called on skills in electronics and analog computer systems. We all chipped paint, cleaned, lubricated, and otherwise kept the gear ready to thunder.
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