Recently people have been joining me on my Sunday Walks in Downtown Albany. Typically, I walk in Albany when I'm scheduled as a tour guide on the USS Slater. A slide show and a map are detailed at this blog entry. I plan on walking on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27. You can contact me at:

More on the USS SLATER (

Friday, November 9, 2007

Tour 11/03/2007, Magazines & Jacks

Another cold October Day but at least it wasn't raining. I noticed that a few visitors were shivering. I gave two tours, and I also had an opportunity to chat briefly with a WWII vet from the USS Bostwick DE-103.

Like the USS Slater, the Bostwick was a cannon class Destroyer Escort. Both ships were very similar in construction. During the war the two ships operated differently. The Slater was often deployed as a convoy escort, while the Bostwick usually served as a member of a hunter-killer team. A WWII U-Boat hunter-killer team was comprised of a small Escort Carrier and a group of Destroyer Escorts. While a convoy seeks to transit the ocean avoiding U-Boats, a hunter-killer team actively hunts them. The Bostwick participated in the sinking of three U-Boats: U-709; U-233; and either U-548 or U-857 or U-879. In the latter case of U-548/U-879, this link which describing the mystery of the U-869, goes into detail regarding difficulties of identifying sunken U-Boats.

On one of the tours I was asked about ammunition magazines, and how many 3" rounds the USS Slater held (it's approximately 750 3" rounds). For safety reasons a Destroyer Escort's magazines are on the lowest deck. The USS Slater has a virtual tour that includes a layout of all ship compartments. The 2nd Platform layout details the magazines (they're are detailed in red). A magazine is basically a small, unvented room with storage racks and a heavy duty sprinkler system. There's also a thermometer. At least once a day a gunner's mate will visit every magazine and ammunition ready storage space and log temperature readings. Sparking is a danger. Electric bulbs are sealed in a special globes. When I worked in magazines, I used a special set of tools that were made of a non-sparking copper alloy.

Magazine safety is a big issue. After WWII one Destroyer Escort, the USS Solar DE-221,was destroyed by an accidental magazine explosion.

On another tour I was asked about the little flag on the front (called the bow) of the USS Slater. This little flag is called a Jack, and it flies from a staff (called a jack staff). I was specifically asked, if it was a modern Jack, or a WWII era Jack? The correct answer is that the Slater's Jack is WWII Era (one with 48 stars). In the recent edition of Slater Signals, Tim Rizzuto (Executive Director) goes into detail about obtaining WWII era flags and Jacks for the USS Slater.

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