September 30, 2020

Pictures - Iowa Aft Living Spaces

In my slow tour through Iowa's crew spaces, we've finally come to the stuff on the aft of 2nd and 3rd decks. This is where the designers shoved all of the random stuff that didn't really fit elsewhere, mostly on 3rd deck aft of where the armored box steps down.

Iowa's library, on 2nd deck near the Goat Locker. Unfortunately, it wasn't that good as a naval reference library.

The print shop, where the ship's newspaper and other materials was produced, is still mostly operational, and there's talk of using it at some point.

Even a ship as big as Iowa can be small compared to what's needed. This bench in the laundry spaces was originally used for loading clips for 40mm AA guns.

The dry cleaning shop was primarily to care for the officers uniforms

Another shot of the dry cleaning presses

Laundry for the enlisted men was a somewhat more primitive affair. Each division would load their clothes into a bag, which would then be stuffed straight into this machine.

Each of the four machines could handle 100 lbs of clothes, which it washed using salt water.

And then placed in the massive tumble dryers. The result was often a brick of hardened clothes.

If they were lucky, the clothes might be sent through the massive steam iron.

And if they weren't, the clothes could be repaired in the tailor shop. Sadly, the cobbler shop was removed in the 80s refit.

Then there's the brig, which was guarded by a Marine sentry. Unfortunately, photography there is difficult because of the cramped quarters.

There were three or four individual cells for sailors being punished, usually three days bread and water. (The maximum the Captain could give out as non-judicial punishment.)

And a drunk tank for those who just needed to sleep off a night of excess ashore.

Lastly, there's the barber shop, where George H W Bush got a haircut while vice president. It's occasionally open to members of the public in collaboration with a local salon. The green chair is for the Marine barber, who according to an 80s crewmember was the only one who could actually do a good job of cutting hair. At least so long as you wanted a high-and-tight.


  1. October 01, 2020echo said...

    Any word on the comfort of salt-washed clothes? I guess that's been a perennial feature of navy life, but you rarely hear people mention it.

    Amazing to think how a battleship designs went from vague armor scheme plans to "now where do we put the hairdryer steam pipes?" in the short time between congressional authorization and the beginning of construction.

  2. October 01, 2020bean said...

    Comfort of salt-washed clothes is reportedly not great. The crewman who showed me around these spaces the first time was extremely uncomplimentary towards the ship servicemen who manned them.

    And I'm not sure they actually had all this stuff figured out before construction started. This is before they had CAD systems, so while the important stuff was worked out ahead of time, I wouldn't be at all surprised if spaces like this were just "well, this should be enough for the laundry" and left it for later to figure out where to put stuff. That might have been figured out while the basic structure was assembled, or it might have just been left up to the shipyard to fit it in as best they could. Of course, all of the stuff you see here is from the 80s, so they were working into an existing space.

    (And if the idea of "we'll figure it out as we go" seems absurd, I've read that the British used to take this to absurd lengths. Things like piping and wiring were laid out by the men putting them in. There wasn't even the discipline to say "no, the pipes go first". If the electricians showed up first, the pipes had to work around the wires. And I think this was after WWII. The US was probably never quite that casual, but it's vastly different from how we do things today.)

  3. October 01, 2020Blackshoe said...

    The laundry facilities look almost identical to early model DDGs c-mid 2000s. The washing machines and dry cleaning presses look exactly the same.

  4. October 01, 2020bean said...

    What is it they say about the USN? 230 years of tradition, unhampered by progress? A lot of the stuff on America looked pretty familiar when I was aboard her, too, although I didn't get down to the laundry.

  5. October 02, 2020Jade Nekotenshi said...

    The barber shop would have been a welcome feature on the Sirius - we didn't have one at all, and had to MacGyver various ways of keeping hair in regs during long deployments. (The "OIC says don't enforce hair length standards" option was popular.)

    On Ramage, we had one with a single seat, but only occasionally had an SH who had the qualifications for cutting hair. At one point we had a mustang LTJG doing it, because he knew how, and as an officer, was able to pull rank on the SH1 who said he couldn't!

    Did the older DDs and CL/CAs have barber shops?

  6. October 02, 2020bean said...

    I'm pretty sure the cruisers did. For destroyers, it probably depends on how far back you go. As for actually cutting hair, the guy who showed us around said that he and a few buddies just bought a set of clippers and did it themselves because of how bad the SHs were. (This is my approach, too. But buzz cuts are easy.)

  7. October 03, 2020Doctorpat said...

    As someone who cuts my own hair, a set of clippers lets you do a quick cut with zero training and only get it wrong once or twice.

    By the 10th go or so I didn't even need a mirror.

    These days of course, I've moved beyond that. Just last night I shaved my head, by feel, with a cutthroat razor. Not sure I'd be willing to do that in a heavy sea.

    I'm still cautious enough to get out two mirrors and check for any patches I might have missed when I'm finished, but it was all good.

  8. October 05, 2020redRover said...

    Was the (in service) library mostly technical material to read for your next promotion, or more pulp fiction to pass the time between scrubbing decks?

  9. October 05, 2020bean said...

    I believe it was a mix of the two. These days, it's all donated books, and heavy on technothrillers and public library-grade history books.

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