[Editors note: John
J. Mund, GM1 took a lot of kidding on the Daly during the Korean era. W.B.
Bledsoe of Weber City, VA, says Mund “wasn’t really all that comical, just
very approachable, and I don’t think there was a mean cell in his body.
Everybody liked him.” In this story Bledsoe cites one reason that he still
respects the Master-at-Arms, whom some of us heathens called “Squinty”.]
Maybe I was a little
more nervous than usual – not wanting to get hurt or killed on the last
day of the “war”. We were at General Quarters; my battle station for two
years had been projectile man in Gun Mount 051. I have forgotten who the
other six crewmembers were at the time, but “Squinty” was the Mount
Captain, and Forrest Daniels (GM3, Beverly, WV), was the gun captain. The
mount captain stood on a little shelf at the back with his head protruding
through a hatch in the top of the mount and was an overall authority. We
were doing automatic rapid fire at a sleeve pulled behind an airplane. We
had already fired several rounds in one or two previous passes and were
well into the third when “it” happened. The powderman and I were placing
rounds into the tray lickety split with me tripping the lever to ram the
charge home into the breech. The breech block came up vertically and
locked, if we were in “Automatic,” the gun fired simultaneously. As it
fired and recoiled, the brass from the powder charge would be expelled.
While that was happening I was already taking another 54 pound projectile
from the elevator – only this time my rhythm was broken, the gun didn’t
I looked into the
tray, the breech block was two-thirds closed and the back one third of the
brass powder charge exposed. As I looked at it, I'm thinking: “This is not
good, the firing pin is still cocked and armed, what if it struck the
powder case? We’ll all be broiled.” In short, I panicked and headed for
the exit hatch.
Then I heard:
“SILENCE! Silence in the gun mount! Bledsoe, where the hell do you think
you are going? Get back to your station!” Then “Squinty” came down from
his perch and he and Daniels methodically and calmly worked the breech
block back into position.
I don’t recall that
we fired anymore that day. I do remember that thereafter I was perfectly
calm, but the embarrassment was unbearable. As far as I know, nothing else
was ever said about the incident although I’m sure it didn’t enhance my
reputation any, but by that time it was pretty well shot anyway.
So I say to John J.
Mund, Gunners Mate First Class, from Elco, IL, wherever you are, my hat’s
off to you. And from the 50-year perspective I can see with the fog and
immaturity of youth long since stripped away what a great honor it was to
be able to serve with you and the other WWII veteran petty officers and
officers of your caliber.
Gun Mount 051 shown in firing position to
starboard with Gun Captain in hatch.
Mount O52 Gun Captain on standby.
practice session on the 5 inch 38
loading machine. Note the powder
case in the tray and the 54 lb.
projectile being lifted in place.
Return to top