June 28, 2020

Pictures - Iowa Goat Locker

I've previously pulled pictures from my collection of Iowa's officer's quarters, enlisted quarters and enlisted mess. Now, it's time to look at the last group of men on the ship, the chief petty officers, who had their own separate quarters, known as the "Goat Locker".1

Bunks in the chief's quarters, which are more spacious than those in the regular enlisted quarters

The Goat Locker is a unique institution, referring not only to the spaces, but also to the men (and now women) who occupy them. Chiefs are famous for being the people who make the Navy work, although they allow the officers to believe otherwise. It's forbidden for any non-chief, even the ship's captain, to enter without permission, and all covers (hats) have to be removed.

More bunks for the chiefs

On Iowa, the Goat Locker is aft of the enlisted mess, under the flight deck. This made it rather uncomfortable at high speed, but also kept it out of the traffic paths. The only thing aft of it was the Nixie torpedo decoy, which didn't have to be accessed all that often.

The Goat Locker mess room. Today, the mess is used by a local veteran's charity. I've eaten here several times, most notably when I stayed overnight.

I believe the chief's food usually came from the enlisted mess, but they had their own kitchen/serving space.

The inside of the Goat Locker kitchen.

The lounge is a nice space, although it usually is only visited by the ship's crew. This is far enough aft that the hull is curving inward even on 2nd deck (right under the main deck).

There's also a very nice mural in the lounge

And yes, the goat locker has an actual goat. Note the purple pipe, which is the JP-5 supply to the helicopter pad above.

1 I'm not quite sure of the etymology of this term. It's traditionally said that during the days of sail, the goats were kept in the senior enlisted quarters because the senior enlisteds could be trusted not to eat them, but chiefs are a fairly modern innovation by naval standards, and the timing doesn't really work.


  1. June 29, 2020echo said...

    JP line running through a living space.
    Is that normal, or the kind of thing that crops up with extensive refits?

  2. June 29, 2020bean said...

    Sort of both. It's very normal to have pipes and wires and such in the overheads, because that's just how warships work. You want everything accessible for damage control. The positioning of the JP-5 pipe is a little bit odd (although note that there are several other pipes on that wall) and might have been a result of the refit.

  3. June 30, 2020AlexT said...

    But they'd remove all the flammable stuff (couches, mural, goat) in wartime, right?

  4. June 30, 2020Doctorpat said...

    all covers (hats) have to be removed

    How does this interact with various religious requirements to keep headcovers on?

    Why would being aft make it more uncomfortable? Does even a battleship move around that much?

    There’s also a very nice mural in the lounge I take it that this is one of those sheet metal pieces carefully painted to look like a slab of tree.

  5. June 30, 2020bean said...


    Yes, at least as much as is actually flammable. I don’t know how much of that is treated to be fireproof.


    Good question, which I don’t know the answer to. I’d assume there’s an exception for religious head coverings, in a way there isn’t for service headgear. As for the mural, yeah, it’s just paint on the bulkhead.

    And re being aft, you're right over the screws, which are turning at up to 200 rpm. There's quite a bit of vibration at high speed. I've heard being in the Nixie room described as "like standing on a jackhammer".

  6. July 01, 2020Matt said...

    I know these are the guys who run the Navy, and have special powers beyond mere mortals (I have two chief friends) but OMG, their bunks look like file drawers, and the lounge looks like a badly decorated basement rec room. And these are the guys who are like 30-40ish; this is what the lower ranking enlisted aspire to?

    No offense, but I'd rather serve on shore and have a bed and a club to visit.

  7. July 15, 2020Jade Nekotenshi said...

    The Chiefs' accomodations on a modern ship are a bit nicer; even on a Flight I Burke or a Tico, they're a bit nicer than seen here (though the lounge and mess aren't, because of space constraints). On something newer, where even the blueshirts get sit-up racks with a little alcove for books/laptops/etc, you get a mark better even than that, but still not staterooms like junior officers get. (Well, except on LCS, where even petty officers get staterooms, but...)

  8. July 15, 2020bean said...

    There's been a significant improvement in standards of living aboard warships worldwide since the 80s, which is when Iowa's accommodations date to (when they don't date to the 40s, that its). The USN is kind of lagging in this area these days, but a lot of the European navies have 2-4 man staterooms for even junior enlisted now.

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