USS Kidd has had a lot of water under her keel since 1943 but now the water is a few feet under most of the time. Baton Rouge is up the Mississippi River approx 70 miles north-west of New Orleans and a long way from the ocean waters she sailed for many years. The river isn't tidal but it does get high at times as can be seen by the muddy water marks on her hull. Kidd is kept in top shape by a crew of hard working and dedicated volunteers, mostly older retired men who spend a few weekends a year volunteering for the Tin Can Sailors Field Days. Volunteers eat and sleep aboard the ship and do any number of jobs like painting, electrical, plumbing and everything else. Ships, whether active or museums need a lot of mantenance and anyone who has ever been on one of these field days knows the satisfaction of helping to preserve our own history and going back in time too. For more information on field days around the country look on the Quarterdeck page for field days, or look in Tin Can Sailors quarterly newspaper or Tin Can Sailors website.
One of the tours was to the USS Kidd DD 661 a Fletcher class destroyer and veteran of WW II, Korea and Vietnam as well as the Cold War. Named for Rear Admiral Isaac Campbell Kidd, Sr. (1884 - 1941) who lost his life on the USS Arizona on Dec. 7, 1941 and was awarded the Medal of Honor.
USS Kidd Website
Sideview of Kidd sitting high and dry
Top Picture. Some of us who have served on these small ships have been in heavey seas and have seen these screws out of the water on surrounding ships and felt the ship vibrate hard when ours came out. Then we watched the sonar domes come into plain view before the whole ship was submerged in Green Water. Larger ships like carriers and cruisers would remark on the radio that the "small boys" looked like submarines. Much smaller than the Morton they were an experience that few would trade anything for. I know I wouldn't. I know when I reported aboard Morton it felt like a cruiser to me after serving on these smaller cans.
View of forward business end of Kidd. 2 five inch 38 single mounts forward and three aft. Mortons more modern five inch 54 could fire a lot quicker with less men manning a gun.
Speaking of guns Crew of Kidd fire a salute for Morton sailors below.
Entrance to USS Kidd
Touring the ship to see how the other half lived.
Above is one pair of Kidds 40 MM anti air guns. They could put up clouds of Flak that could rip a Jap Zero to shreds. Some made it thru. Morton was built with three inch which were removed in late 60's.
Above, getting closer to the five inch.
Mess decks were below the main deck. Notice berthing racks on the sides. These were small ships and still packed nearly 300 men wartime compliment. Messcooks would berth here after meal hours. I never could understand why sailors came from cruisers and carriers to these ships and didn't like it.
Not exactly wide open spaces.
Below is forward head. Yep, that is Navy Life aboard a Tin Can. To add to the excitement, everything moves. Side to side, up and down, to and fro. Hang on now.
Above. Don't worry, the table and seat are welded to the deck. For more than one reason too. Trays aren't tho and when seas got a little rough you had to hold on to your meal. Also your coffee cup. Glasses for milk and bowls for cerial was also available if you were lucky enough to have milk. Canned milk could suffice but never did have that good of a milk taste to it. Bug Juice, (kool aid) was usually on the menu when at sea for a couple days. Not a lot of cold storage on these ships. But that was a sailors life.
The pilot house was small but functional. Port holes for windows restricted the view but the OOD was on the bridge wings a lot of the time. Another conn was in the after part of the ship just behind the after stack in case the bridge and pilot house took a hit. There was after steering below the main deck on the fantail also. The skipper could also conn the ship from the signal bridge just above the pilot house.
Tables are for plotting. ( or spilling coffee) The one in background is the DRT, dead reckoning tracer. We kept track of surface contact and could plot their course and speeds on it. It had a thin removable paper with a light under a glass panel that followed the course and speed of the ship. Bearing and range were taken from the radar operator to the plotter and transferred to the paper by a parrallel arm and marked rule for distance. Sub targets were also plotted and during gunfire support a chart was layed down and targets plotted from coordinates radioed by a spotter on the beach near the target area. Any mistakes could result in fire being directed to the wrong area.
The lady is behind a clear plastic plotting board used mainly for anti air. It had radial lines in 360 degree circle with circular range grids to plot bearing and range of targets. The ship was always in center. Mainly used for keeping track of incoming air traffic it could be used for surface tracking or formation plotting also. Unknown or enemy air contacts are known as bogeys. Not named for Humphry either. Bogey as in the Bogey man is more like it. It had a light on the edges and when turned on the yellow maker could be seen quite bright and the CIC officer could make his recomendations to the bridge and keep them well informed. CIC was a busy place when underway.
USS Kidd DD 661
USS Kidd DD 661