THE BLUE BONNET : -
A weekly publication of the ship's company
of the U. S. S. Houston, Captain G. N. Barker,
U. S. N., Commanding and Comma" der C. A.
Bailey, U. S. N., Executive Officer.
Editor, Lieut. ( jg) E. A. McDonald, U. S. N.
Assistant Editor: R. C. Ball, Ch. Pay Clerk
Associate Editors: Stefan Sivak, Jr., SK2c
R. B. Thompson, SK3c
Cartoonist: W. C. Ridll'e
Circulation: John Borla, Y3c
4 March 1938
I WISH TO THANK THE GUNNERY
DEPARTMENT FOR THEIR SPLENDID
WORK AND COOPERATION SHOWN
W. J. STROTHER, Jr., Lt. Comdr., U. S. N.
The Big- Gunners
( From Pall'e 1.)
will recall, perhaps quite vividly, that
there was such a thing as a director
check; but all during the gunnery year
the men of the Battery have been industriously
working along towards becoming
a finer and smoother organization.
We had pretty bad training conditions
for our first practices - a bit too much
of that nice soupy vapor which only
the more unkindly critics of California
call fog - but sometimes the only
way we could tell we were near San
Pedro was by the smell. Presently we
found clear weather and then came
the many hour:; of perching on bicycle
saddles and plow seats in turrets
Telephones clal'! lped to the ears, eyes
to the telescopes. If I wasn't a gunner,
I wouldn't be here. " Stand by.
Coming up. Mark! Coming down,
mark! Coming down, mark, mark,
mark! Boy, thai.' s swell, Billy. Excellent.
Let's get a couple more."
We got ' em. A dozen of ' em. Until
late one afternoon, Tolson stretched
and rubbed his eyes. " Ten hours up
here today," h2 yawned. " Think I'll
put in for : fiigh': pay."
Finally, we had her all lined up, until
the first salvo of the practice; then we
had it to do all over again.
Nights steaming down the ocean past
San Clemente, shooting under the
THE BLUE BONNET
moon. And days " Whistling" our way
through " light haze and variable" variable
up to a thick fog- looking
for that elusive visibility again. Aviators
flying around the ship " blinkng"
at us and squattng at Pyramid Cove
until long afte::: dark.
Experienced gurmers paid off and new
men to be broken in. " We're going to
have the same gun crews we had last
practice," crowed one of our turret
captains. And then we couldn't shoot
one week and he had to break in a
new gun captain over the week- end.
Such is the life of a big- gunner.
The Admiral came over to inspect one
Tuesday. We sure were some bushfighters
in the snappy coffee brown
leggins and belts which the Gunner
and Mr.. Long cooked up for. us down
in the laundry. And did we really
learn how to stow lockers and layout
bunks for inspection? We abandoned
ship and rescued a man- overboard,
and then we went back to our big
It's been a pretty strenuous schedule.
Sometimes, we woke ourselves up
turning in. As one leading seaman
asked, " What time tonight is reveille
tomorrow?" Now we've fired our last
practice of the current year. As during
every gunnery year, some firings
have been good, some have been bad,
but from everyone of them we've
learned something about this interesting
business of shooting the big guns.
The guns crews and the control parties
have shaken down into a smoothly
functioning organization. Next
year, we'll show ' em something about
the way to shoot these cruiser big
FAMOUS LAST WORDS: " Now hear
this . . . man your stations for a
director check MAIN BATTEREE!"
WORDS & DEFINITIONS
FIRE: ( One of the many meanings.)
To cause to explode, as a mine; discharge
as a gun; also, to project by
discharging from a gun or firearm,
to hurl by force a project. A firearm
is any portable weapon that from
which a shot is discharged by an explosive.
CANNON: Is a Latin word canna,
which means a tube or reed. A piece
of ordnance or artillery; a firearm
discharged from a carriage or mount,
If old Aunt Agatha'd been ' round
these parts lately she'd shure felt tha
ache in her bones a good twenty- four
hours afore tha weather man's indicators
had even started to twitch, and
been able to tEll there was a rough
storm headed this way. This rain we
been havin' her~ sorta remindsJne 0'
tha way water use to poke down outa
tha skies back on tha farm. It doesn't
rain much out here but when it does
it's shure more'n a pesky drizzle.
' Tis mighty funny to some ignorant
souls what tha feathered fowl do when
it's stormin'. Tha sea birds fly on tha
double away from tha briny and a
body Clln see them a sittin' down in
fields a takin' it easy till there's better
air for flyin'. They shure pack a heap
Birds are smart but there's cases
0' tha critters bein' fooled just like
humans. Tha pelican, a sea fowl with
a big beak and a stowage pantry a
hangin' from its neck, looks smarl'n
old Nelly when she's agin bein' hitched
to a plow, but they have their unlucky
Once there was one 0' these birds,
a baby hatched from tha shell. His
mother, a noticin' an aviator a learnin'
_ t< Lfly Qld tha little one toiullo~ haplane
and do just exactly what it done.
" When it turns, you turn. When it
lands, you land. You'll be a smart
pelican by tha time he has finished his
course and you'll make your mother
mighty proud 0' tha likes 0' you.
So tha little pelican took off with
tha young aviator each day. He learned
to " s" turn, fly in figure eights,
a pointin' his wings at tha stumps just
as tha plane done. It learned to
chandelle, loop tha loop, fly formation,
do barrel rolls, dive down outa tha
skies in bombin' attacks, and do a
thousand trick:; no other bird afore
had even thought of. And he was
shure a sight to see, him bein' so
( Continued on pall'e 4.)