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Gallery of War

Page 7

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5" Gun Mount
USS TAYLOR. Pearl Harbor, Hawaii 1968
Archival Print #H-PH115TGM
(c)2003 L. Nollenberger

Reveille sounded at 0430 A.M. and I assembled for muster on the main deck. Before me was a big burley guy who looked like an lumberjack. I whispered to the guy next to me, "who's that?" "That's old Red," he said. "First Class Boatswains Mate." "He will work you to death, if you give him a chance." It was not long before I found myself perched on a scaffold, hanging over the edge of the ship. Someone handed me a metal object and said, "put this thing against the hull and push the button." "Watch Monkey back on the stern, he's a master, makes it look like an art." I did as told and paint chips went flying everywhere. By the end of the day my ears rang, my head hurt and I was covered with paint chips from head to toe. To this day, I still think I have paint chips embedded in my body somewhere. After we knocked off ship's work, I wandered onto the fantail to check out the guns. A huge 5" mount sat squarely in the middle of the fantail. Little did I know I was staring down the barrel of what soon would become my battle station. It had been a rough day. I headed below decks, still picking paint chips out of my hair.