Part of life aboard ship it involves standing watch. What kind of watches you stood depended on your job. Those in the engine room head watches around the clock so we could keep the engines going so we could keep the engines going day and night. Others, like myself and the other fire control man, only stood watch under way if our ship was set to condition three steaming. Condition three is a readiness condition for a time of war. When we went to the Indian ocean including the golf region we always stand at condition three.
So part of the task of the division leaders was to create a watch bill which would cover all of the required positions for conditions three.
The nice thing about the Missouri was it’s redundant systems. For example the main battery plot rooms were located both forward and aft. We had to for crews for operating the fire control equipment.
So by having to complete cruise it made standing watch easier. Usually we band the equipment in the forward main battery potting room. It was somewhat larger compartment.
Planned maintenance system
We had a planned maintenance system or PMS that we followed to keep our equipment in tiptop shape. It involved testing and checking the operation of our equipment.
One test that was a daily test, usually reserved for the junior fire control man, was transmission tests. T. checks. A teacher basically in vault pulling the firing key and making sure that the firing mechanism worked. To do that we would pop a primer. That is we would shoot a primer but not a full charge. The primer is the small charts it sets off the bigger powder charge the fires the guns. We had to do that for each gun on the ship every morning first thing.