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Operations and Departments of a Ship

Heroes Remember

Operations and Departments of a Ship

There’s about six departments in a ship and the sailors have a speciality in each of those departments and weapons, for instance, is one of them so there would be guns to man, missiles systems to operate, the close-in weapons systems, the air to air weapon systems, so all of these have to be active twenty four hours a day so you have to have two groups that are operating them twenty four hours a day. In peacetime we usually have three groups in a ship that are operating all the departments all the time. So in this case most of the time we were sailing one and two watch systems so you would be on the job eyes looking, you know, having that weapons system fully functional under your control for five hours then you would be off for seven hours and then you’d be on for seven hours and then off for five hours. And you would do that and when you’re off, that’s when you eat. That’s when you try and get some rest. But a normal day’s activity of keeping the ship clean and functional and all of the compartments closed when you have to have them closed, all of that happens on your off watch so the amount of sleep you get is minimal for any sailor on board. The engineers, they are running the engine room, right? The deck department is looking after the boats. They’re going away all the time and coming back. The logistics department is trying to figure out how much food have we already eaten, when do we have to get more food and how do we do that. And it’s up to the ship to figure out when that has to happen and then the task group commander says, “Okay, you guys better go fuel off of this, off Protector and get your food and fuel and then come back.” And that had to be a schedule so when you do that another team comes up to accept the fuel from the supply ship which sends a probe over at sea and it goes into a receptacle and they pump fuel into the ship. It’s just like a gas tank basically. You go to fuel your car, same thing only it comes over on lines and there have to be sailors on each end and they have to be awake and they have to be knowing what they are doing. So that’s part of it, the finances, the payment of sailors during this particular, all of that has to carry on. And we had to have maintainers who fix things, all the electronic systems, if anything happened, we had the electricians to fix it. The ship is a moving city and it moves on a daily basis. It’s like asking me what happens in a city on a day to day basis? Well, in a ship, everything happens on a day to day basis.

Vice Admiral Miller gives a detailed review of responsibilities of all six departments on the ship and daily operations that have to be continuously monitored and exercised.

Duncan “Dusty” Miller

Born in the United Kingdom, Duncan “Dusty” Miller immigrated to Canada in 1954. At the age of 15 and having a strong desire to join the military, Mr. Miller went to the recruiting centre but could not be accepted until 16 years of age. He then attended Bishop’s University in Lennoxville. During his career, Mr. Miller rose to the rank of Vice Admiral where he became the Naval Task Commander aboard HMCS Athabaskan during the Persian Gulf War. Vice Admiral Miller later retired from the military and now resides in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
February 26, 2016
Person Interviewed:
Duncan “Dusty” Miller
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Persian Gulf
Gulf War
HMCS Athabascan

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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