USS Thomaston Divisions...

Auxiliary Division

The Auxiliary Division consisted of Enginemen, Machinist Mates, Ship Fitters and Machine Repairmen

The EN, MM, and SF ratings assigned to the "A" division are responsible for all auxiliary machinery outside the actual engineering spaces. The maintenance operation, and repair of such equipment as the boat engines, cranes, capstans, laundry equipment, pumps, and the ship's whistle are assigned the men of the Auxiliary division.
When spare parts are not on hand, the MR will be the men to make an entire new gear, shaft, or pin when the worn out parts are beyond repair. The two shipboard shops, the boat shop and the machine shop, are noted for turning out quality work from the basic materials on hand. Day and night, the men of the "A" division keep the machinery running properly.

Boiler Division

The Boiler Division consisted of Boiler Tenders

The BT's main and foremost function on board is the operation of the ship's boilers to supply steam to the main engines, galley, laundry, water evaporators, and heating system.
The "Black Gang", or more commonly known today, the "Snipes", derived their name from the soot which covers the BT from head to foot after emerging from a boiler cleaning and repair session. The Boiler Tender stands a 24-hour watch on the boilers to assure constant steam pressure, water level, and fuel consumption. Another task of the BT is refueling, either from pier side or tanker. In either case, the fuel or "Black Oil" must be kept topped off and the tanks full to assure the ship's sailing on a few hours notice.

Deck Division

The Deck Division consisted of Boatswain's Mates

The BM and his men, the deck seamen, probably sleep the least, work the most, and complain more than any other gang aboard any ship in the U.S. Navy.

The Deck Force may complain, but they are happy as they perform: loading and unloading cargo; embarking and debarking various sizes of landing craft; underway replenishment; high-lining of personnel; re-fueling details; working on the stern gate; hauling up or dropping the anchors; mooring to piers and buoys; raising and lowering the gangway and accommodation ladders; working in the sail locker mending and making canvas articles; tending to the appearance of the sides of the ship; coxwaining the ship's boats; standing underway and import watches; and last but not least, maintaining the decks, bulkheads, and equipment of the well deck, boat decks, and the main deck.

At all hours of the day or night approximately one-third of the First and Second division is at work at some detail or another or standing watch.

Electrical Division

The Electrical Division consisted of Electrician's Mates and Interior Communications Electricians

The EM of "E" division have control of the electrical portion of the ship's service and emergency generators, auxiliary machinery, distilling plant, ballast control system, ventilation system, anchor windlass, cranes, galley cooking and cleaning machinery and the wiring of boats which are on board. Also, in the field of lighting, the electricians maintain the emergency battle lanterns, navigational lights, anchor lights, and the ship's signal lights. Along the miles of electrical wiring and in the hundreds of control boxes, transfer panels, and motors there are problems arising constantly and it is the job of the Electrician Mates to trace down, repair, and re-energize the circuit.

The IC of "E" division operated and performed organizational and intermediate maintenance on alarm, warning, and indicator systems; interior communications; and ship's control, entertainment, and navigation systems. The IC areas include equipment all the way forward, all the way aft, all the way up the mast and on the bottom of the ship. Members of this rating are commonly referred to as "IC-men" by Navy personnel.

Gunnery Division

The Gunnery Division consisted of Gunner's Mates and Fire Control Technicians

The GM, which was one of the oldest ratings in the Navy, are responsible for the proper maintenance, operations, and alignment of the ship's 40MM or 3"50 anti-aircraft gun batterys. Also, the small arms, magazine sprinkler system, and powder samples of ammunitions are maintained by the "Gunners" of the Third division.
Standing watch as Petty Officer of the Watch in port and as the Helmsman at sea are the secondary duties of the Gunner's Mates. The GM are in charge of the gun crews and "Fire Power" when general quarters are sounded.

The FT third division rating is responsible for the maintenance and operation of the fire control systems and gun directors on board. The FT, having an electronics background, work at the complicated masses of wiring, panels, motors, and switches of the gun mounts, directors, and the general fire control system of the ship.
The Gunnersmate and Fire Control Technician also stands watch as Petty Officer of the Watch and Helmsman.

Machinery Division

The Machinery Division consisted of Machinist Mates

The MM aboard ship serves in the capacity of operating and maintaining the main propulsion machinery; producing power that runs the generators; compressing air for shipboard use; distilling water for general consumption; manipulating the pumps which transfer water in the scores of ballast tanks; and last, but not least, handling the paperwork for engineering administration. Spare parts storerooms are maintained by the Machinist Mates. The men of "Mike" division care for and maintain the 4 plants assigned, the port and starboard pump and engine rooms, each side being completely independent of the other. In the event of an engineering casualty to one of these plants, it is the Machinist Mates that cross connect the engineering plants to maintain use of both engines.

Operations (Communications) and Navigation Divisions

The Operations (Communications) and Navigation Division consisted of Signalmen, Radiomen and Quartermasters

The Signalmen are the "eyes and ears of the ship." The SM, along with being a lookout and recognition trainee, performs the duties involving visual communications. The Morse Code of flashing lights, the special arm positions of semaphore, the work and speed of tactical flag hoisting, and the colors of pyrotechnics are some of the primary responsibilities of the Signalmen. These methods of visual communications are used to pass administrative, operational, tactical, and emergency information which is necessary for a fleet, task force, or squadron of ships to maintain their readiness in any situation. Signalmen repair and make flags, correct and maintain a complex publication system, serve as members of boat crews, and are responsible for honors and ceremonies to civil and naval leaders.

The RM are the only men in contact with the outside areas surrounding the high seas. The Radiomen operate and maintain the transmitters, receivers, teletypewriters, and radiotelephones used in the vast Naval Communications System which link ships to ships and ships to shore. Along with the never ending flow of naval messages, the Radiomen find time to copy press releases on teletypewriter for the ship's newspaper, operate an amateur "HAM" radio station for the crew to call home, and work with the American Red Cross and Communications Activities ashore in receiving, writing-up, and delivering personal messages of births, deaths, and disasters or emergencies which may arise where a crew member has to be notified immediately. Typing, filing, and teletypewriting are some of the fundamentals of the Radiomen.

The QM of the Navigation division are the secretaries, assistants, and general right-hand men of the Officer of the Deck and the Navigator in all matters concerning the navigation and conning of the ship. Weather observations, chronometers, clocks, and optical equipment are the equipment responsibilities of the QM. The Quartermaster of the Watch is responsible for the keeping of a complete chronological record of events in the ship's log. A quartermaster assists the Navigator in keeping the ship's current position plotted, shooting stars, figuring tides and currents, and celestial data processing. Along with the primary duty of assistant to the Navigator, the Quartermasters correct and maintain charts, publications and Sailing Directions.

Operations (Intelligence) Division

The Operations (Intelligence) Division consisted of Radarmen, Electronics Technicians, Yeomen, Personnelmen, Hospital Corpsmen, and Postal Clerks

The RD working in the Combat Information Center (CIC) have the primary responsibility to collect, display, evaluate, and disseminate vital information received from the radar, lookouts, Signal Bridge, Radio Central, and Intelligence reports. The RD teams in CIC control waves of landing craft in an Amphibious Assault; pilot and navigate a fog-obscured harbor by radar; direct and control helicopter landings and take-offs from the ship's flight deck; and with the precision of threading a needle, navigate through a fleet of fishing boats at night. While the ship is steaming in formation, the Radarmen plot courses and speeds of shipping in the area, work out tactical situations on a maneuvering plotting sheet, and have control of the tactical radiotelephone circuits which maneuvers the entire formation.

The ET's maintain, repair, calibrate, tune, and adjust all the electronic equipment used in communications, detection and tracking, recognition and identification, and electronic aids to navigation equipment. The primary responsibility of the ET Gang is to make daily, weekly, and monthly inspections of electronics equipment and maintain it's peak operating efficiency at all times. Equipment performance and operation cards and logs must be kept accurate by the Electronics Technicians. During General Quarters, Special Sea Detail, and other evolutions, the Electronics Technicians are on station in Radio Central, The Combat Information Center, and other various stations where electronic equipment is in operation.

The YN and PN ratings are assigned to perform the clerical functions of the Ship's Office". The Yeomen and Personnelmen must be familiar with the maintenance of officer and enlisted service records, official correspondence, legal matters, instructions and directives, and most administrative duties of a seagoing command. The impressions of other commands, concerning the efficiency of the ship, depends in many ways upon the correspondence, records, reports, and the continuous "wave of paperwork" necessary to maintain an organization as large as the U.S. Navy. "What is my GCT?; What chance is there for me to enter into the Officer's program?; Where are my orders to school?; How about typing a letter to the Bureau for me?... are asked to and answered by the "Gang" in the ship's office daily.

Although small, the medical team serves in a supervisory capacity on matters relating to the health and hygiene of the crew and in an advisory capacity on matters relating to the sanitary conditions of the ship.
The HM care for the sick and injured; the procurement, receipt, stowage, and issuing of medical and surgical supplies; and, in the indoctrination of personnel in accident prevention, first aid procedures, hygiene, and sanitation policies. The primary duties of the Hospital Corpsmen are the elimination of the physical unfit and the early restoration of the physically disabled to health and to duty.

The post office has an enlisted PC assigned such duties as receipt and delivery of mail; issuance of money orders; sale of stamps; acceptance of letters and packages for insured coverage against loss, damage, or rifling; and, registration of parcels and letters for maximum protections and security. Among the responsibilities not to be overlooked, is the mail directory service the Postal Clerk maintains for the personnel who have been discharged or transferred. Also, an ample amount of correspondence, reports, filing, and the security of classified matters are of great importance to the Postal Clerk. The PC works many hours - day and night. "The mail must go through".

Repair Division

The Repair Division consisted of Damage Controlmen and Shipfitters

The DC and SF of the Repair division maintain the shipfitter's shop, carpenter shop, Damage Control Central, which, working in conjunction with each other, play an all important role in keeping the ship in prime operating condition.
The ratings of "R" division work with all kinds, sizes, and shapes of steel plating, wood, pipe, and various other kinds of hard and soft metals.
Sheet metal work, wood work and repairing of landing craft; oxyacetylene and electrical welding; repairing leaks, maintaining water tight integrity, repairing doors, hatches, scuttles, and port holes; and caring for and using shipboard fire-fighting apparatus are the various responsibilities of the "R" division Damage Controlmen and Shifters.

The prime duty of the Repair division is the indoctrination, detection, and removal of atomic, biological, and chemical warfare agents and components which may be used in future naval warfare.

Supply Division

The Supply Division consisted of Storekeepers (SK), Ship's Servicemen (SHE), Disbursing Clerk (DKR), Stewards (SD) and Commissarymen (CS)

The SK's are responsible for issuing materials from stock and ordering special equipment, parts, and stores for use and consumption.
In the supply office, many records, card and catalog systems, and departmental budgets are corrected and maintained. The Storekeepers must be able to locate a specific item in any one of the nine storerooms on board.
Typing, calculating, filing, and posting are required as part of the work of the SK in keeping up with the purchase, storing, and distribution of stores and materials.
The Naval Supply System is a complicated one and it takes well trained Storekeepers to insure delivery of the needs of the command.

The SHE on board serve in the capacity of clerks, barbers, tailors, and "soda jerks".
The ship's services such as Clothing and Small Stores, Ship's Store, Soda Fountain, Barber Shop, Tailor Shop, and Laundry are managed by the Ship's Servicemen's rating.
The SHE serve on gun mount crews, repair parties, and at battle dressing stations during general quarters.
The Ship's Servicemen service and maintain the "Coke" and candy machines along with their operation of the Soda Fountain to insure "All Hands" have the opportunity to purchase soft drinks and "Gee-dunk" items on a 24-hour basis.

The DKR which serves on board as an assistant to the Disbursing Officer has his hands full maintaining the pay records of every man aboard.
Along with paying the crew twice per month, the DK makes disbursements for travel pay, separation allowances, leave rations, shore patrol expenses, and other expenses brought about by the execution of orders. Financial reports and disbursing manuals are corrected and kept up-to-date by the Disbursing Clerk as one of his many duties in the Disbursing Office.

The SD prepare and serve commissioned officers in the wardroom and cabin mess. Cleaning and maintaining officer's country staterooms, galley, pantry, lounge, and the standing of coffee watches are the primary duties of the Stewards. The serving of a banquet or the wrapping of a sandwich is an art in which SD takes pride.
The SD also serves on gun crews, as stretcher bearers, and on repair parties while the ship is at "Battle Stations".

The CS or "Cooks" and "Bakers" work long hours preparing the meals for the general mess.
Starting early in the morning, sometime during the mid-watch, the smell of freshly baked rolls and breads for breakfast start escaping from the ventilation ducts and drift over the ship.
Along toward sunrise, the smell of bacon and eggs tell the crew its time to "rise and shine".
Long after the noon and evening meals, the cooks are cleaning and maintaining the galley, mess decks, bakery, and scullery; preparing for the serving of the mid-watch rations of soup and sandwiches that are served to those standing watch from midnight to 0400. The CS, the "Men in White", man the gun mounts as ammunition passers and serve on repair parties as part of their duties as "Cookie".

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