Chauncey Penfold, USS Halford DD-480 & Puget Sound Naval Shipyard

A Naval Officer met us at the train station in Seattle on March 5, 1943. We ferried over to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard at Bremerton, Washington (30 to 40-minute ferry ride). We checked in at the barracks. The next morning, I met a machinist mate who had been there a couple months and he knew his way around. He was assigned to the same ship. He took me down to the office to get a pass for permission to go aboard the USS Halford DD-480 so that we could learn about the ship. We had never been on a ship before. So each day we would go down to the ship and try to learn more. Each day we would look at a different part of the ship. The welders and ship-fitters were working hard to finish the ship.

USS Halford DD-480 with Vought OS2U Kingfisher catapult-launched observation floatplane
USS Halford DD-480 with Vought OS2U Kingfisher catapult-launched observation floatplane

We learned the following:

  • There were 2 engine rooms – each room with a 50,000 HP power steam engine and 450 KW AC 3 phase 440 volt generator to supply electricity for the ship. 440 volts was stepped down to 120 volts for lighting.
  • There was an emergency room with a diesel engine with a 1000 KW generator for emergency power.
  • There were 2 boiler rooms – each had two oil-fired boilers that produced 600 PSI of superheated steam to power the ship’s two 50,000 HP steam engines.
  • There the I.C. room where the fire control computer was to control the 5-inch guns when on automatic. They had a fire control director on top of the bridge where two people sat. One controlled the elevation and one controlled the deflection. And when the guns were on automatic, this would feed into the computer for automatic aiming to direct the 5-inch guns for their targets.
  • Also in the I.C. was the PA for the ship.
  • Also in the I.C. was the gyro compass which let the Quartermaster(helmsman) steering the ship know where the ship was at to that he could set the ship’s course. There were two MG sets that powered the rotors on the compass (one to run and the other for backup).
  • Also in the I.C. was a control panel with switches to supply power to all the devices in the room.
  • The gyro compass feeds ship’s speed into the fire control computer and it also feeds into a dead reckoning which plots the position of the ship.
  • Bendix Underwater Log determined the ship’s speed by water pressure. There was a sword that was located near the front of the ship and stuck about 3 feet. It had a small hole in the front and a small hole in the back. The front hole measured the water pressure from the ship moving forward. The back hole recorded the static pressure of the water. One pressure sensor was connected to the front hole and another pressure sensor was connected to the back. The balance between the two pressure sensors determined the ship’s speed.
  • Both fed data into the speed indicator on the bridge, the fire control computer, the gyro compass, and the dead reckoning.
  • There was a Radar Room with the controls for the radar (above water to locate other ships).
  • There was a Sound Gear where a ping was sent to detect ships under water.
  • There was a Steering Gear Room where you could manually steer the ship if the automatic system is not working on the Bridge. The Steering Gear Room had a selector switch for automatic or manual.
  • There was a Control Room for the Anchor Windlass which controlled the motors that lift the two anchors (one on each side). The anchors could also be controlled from the Bridge.
  • There was a Bridge for steering the ship.
  • There was a mess hall with a walk-in freezer room, officers mess hall, a galley, a storage room for supplies, a sick bay, a supply officer room, a laundry room, an evaporator (to evaporate sea water into fresh water, sleeping quarters for enlisted men (two in the rear and one in the front) and officers’ quarters, and three heads (one for the captain, one for the officers, and one for the rest of the crew. The head for the rest of the crew had four stalls with seats and two showers.
  • There were also four 20 mm guns, one twin 40 mm anti-aircraft gun, four 5 inch guns, 250 lb. depth charges (air guns to shoot them out) and 500 lb. depth charges (rolled off the back of the ship).
  • There was a Vought OS2U Kingfisher scout floatplane with its catapult. But a 5-inch gun, the after torpedo mount with five torpedo tubes, and the 20 mm mounts on the fantail were sacrificed to put the seaplane and catapult on.
Vought OS2U Kingfisher catapult-launched observation floatplane
Vought OS2U Kingfisher catapult-launched observation floatplane

The education I received in exploring and learning as the USS Halford DD-480 was being built was very valuable to my service as Electrician’s Mate in World War II.

Note: The above is the best that I can recollect/remember.

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