General Quarters

USS Long Beach guns
General Quarters (also known as Battle Stations) is a ship wide event. It begins with an announcement over the ship's address system to prepare the crew to ready the ship for battle or imminent danger. Whatever a sailor or Marine is doing at the time general quarters is ordered is terminated and all unnecessary gear is stowed, sleeping crewmembers are roused and an intense sense of urgency overtakes the ship as sailors and Marines take to their posts and responsibilities. Certain water tight hatches are secured, weapon systems and damage control are manned and readied. Chow preparations are suspended and sometimes even water becomes unavailable. Once word is given through the chain of command to the Captain the ship stands at GQ, all hands all over the ship are ready for anything. USS Long Beach would go to GQ for drills and live fire exercises. The guns would be manned during missile firings as the Marines were responsible to shoot down any missiles launched by Long Beach that might unexpectedly return.


For the Marines of Long Beach this meant the GQ squad went on duty in the guard shack taking the Sgt/Guard, Cpl/Guard, Roving Patrol stations and posting guards at the entrances to the Terrier missile system, the anti-submarine ASROC system and before 1980, the Talos system. A Marine was posted on the bridge for the security of the Captain. The other 2 squads manned the 2 - 5"/38 caliber Mk30 guns and their radars. MarDet's CO and XO were in the radars along with a Marine operating the radar. Squad leaders were the guns leadership of the gun crews. Marines loaded the powder and projectiles to be fired and were assisted in the lower decks by Gunners Mates.

Communication from magazine to the bridge was by way of headphones via the man in charge of the compartment with the radar being in the center of this line. Orders where transferred from the bridge to the CO or XO of the port or starboard radar. Then given to the radar operator who relayed it the the gun NCO. The officers were in contact with the bridge. The radar operator was in contact with the gun NCO, the handling room and radar. The gun NCO pulled the trigger for sea or land targets, the radar operator for air targets.

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So let's secure from GQ and get to some pictures!
Marine Detachment CGN9