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That everyone is new to Mississippi comes as no surprise. What may surprise some, though, is the fact that over half the crew had never been to sea. Gunner’s Mate (Guns) Seaman Mike McNamara, himself a newcomer to sea duty and keeper of Mississippi’s aft 5-inch 54-caliber mount, thinks that’s all right. I like it here and I like going to sea,” he said. Another sidelight of PRECOM duty is gaining an appreciation for the shipbuilder’s work. Chief Fullmer described how one day a welder came into his empty office space. The welder pulled out a schematic diagram, took a few measurements and proceeded to weld a small piece of metal to the bulkhead.  (below), Getting ready for helicopter operationsbecome new tasks when done on Mississippi the  first time. Left: The Mississippi mess decks. Everyone in the compartment immediately had their own ideas of what it was to be.  The next day their interest was aroused further when another welder, carrying another diagram, came in and repeated the process. Finally, with interest at its peak and friendly bets flowing, the workers came in and installed a watertight bulkhead in the compartment. As the ship began to resemble more than “just a hull,” equipment for the various ship’s systems and department requirements began to arrive. Computers were installed, desks moved in and bolted down, tools, typewriters and thousands of other day-to-day pieces of equipment soon began transforming empty spaces into ship’s divisions and departments. The crew was particularly interested in the equipment being installed because much of it had been selected as a result of recommendations they had made. “We’ve had the opportunity, within guidelines, to pick out and purchase the equipment we believe will best benefit the ship,” Chief Fulmer said. Since Mississippi is the third ship of her class-she was preceded by USS Virginia (CGN 38) and USS Texas (CGN 39)-the crew turned to her sister ships for information. This made at least one of Chief Fullmer’s jobs a bit easier. “One of the hardest things for us to do during PRECOM is to put together the ship’s organization and regulation manuals,” he said. “We were able to use our sister ships’ manuals as guides, though, and that was a big help. We also found out what their experiences had been-good and bad-so we could plan accordingly.”
Old Navy seagoing tasks, like preparing boats for launch
Rigging the anchor chain.
This article appearned on All Hands Magazine- November 1978  Issue 472
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