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[USS Toledo image]

"There are good ships and wood ships, ships that sail the sea,
but the best ships are friendships, may they always be!" -Irish Proverb

Ship Organization

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The following is partially shipmates recollections, my memory, and excerpts from a website Seamanship.


I just thought this may be helpful for our members to use in future reunions when discussing our jobs and past times on the ship. Some organizational details are omitted since this website is targeted to our specific ship, a heavy Cruiser. This was a gun ship. The following reflects this primary mission as opposed to other ships who had other primary missions, such as tenders, supply, troop transport, etc,...
Although I tried to be complete and accurate I know this does not exactly represent the USS Toledo CA133 organization. If anyone has a better recollection, I would be happy to make any offered corrections.

The Chain of Command

The Captain

The highest authority on the ship is "The Captain", The Commanding Officer, aka "CO". On the Toledo, I believe all of her commanding officers held the rank of Captain in the US Navy. The Commanding Officer of smaller ships, e.g., Destroyers, could hold lesser rank such as Commander, or Leutenant Commander. He would still be addressed as Captain. The Commanding Officer has total responsibility for the health and welfare of the ship, the ship's company, and it's ability to perform it's missions. In disciplinary matters, he is judge and jury.

When higher ranking officers (Admirals) were aboard, they were subordinate to the captain except the normal responsibility of providing the captain his tactical and battle orders.

The Executive Officer

The "XO" is chief assistant to the Commanding Officer. He carries out the orders and policies of the CO. The executive officer has no authority independent of the Commanding Officer, and the details of his duties are regarded as execution of the Captain's orders. While executing the orders of the Commanding Officer, he takes precedence over all other officers, including the officer of the deck. When on board ship, the executive officer is always on duty. He must be familiar with every part of the ship, and is responsible for the arrangement and coordination of all ship's work, drills and exercises, personnel organization, policing, and inspection. He is charged with the maintenance of cleanliness, good order, efficiency, and the neat and trim appearance, insofar as these things apply to both ship and crew.

The executive officer is the relief Commanding Officer, and, in battle, has a separate station, usually in secondary ship control.

The Heads of Departments

The gunnery officer.

The head of the gunnery department has supervision over, and is responsible for, the entire ordnance equipment of the ship. The gunnery officer is charged with the efficiency of all armament and appurtenances thereto, cleanliness and good condition of all ammunition stowage spaces and workshops, stowage and care of explosives, necessary inspections, examinations, and tests, and issuing of safety orders for operating equipment and handling munitions. He is charged with control and supervision of the torpedo and aviation divisions.

The gunnery officer is senior to all watch and division officers, and has as his assistants the assistant fire control officer, the officers in the various gun divisions, the officers in the fire control division, the (chief) gunnery, and the officers assigned to aviation and torpedo duties.

The gunnery officer's battle station is normally in the primary main battle control.
The navigating officer.

The navigating officer, or navigator is head of the navigation department. He is responsible for all equipment (except electrical) pertaining to navigation of the ship. This includes steering gear, lead lines and sounding gear, gyro and magnetic compasses, chronometers and clocks, sextants, azimuth circles, stadimeters, binoculars, and all compartments, offices, and storerooms assigned to the navigation divisions.

In navigating, he is responsible for fixing the position of the ship at all times. He must study charts, sailing directions, and other sources of information and keep them up to date. He may make and report tidal observations and weather information. He maintains an official record of navigation.

The navigating officer has charge of the preparation and care of the ship's log, and the instruction of watch officers in keeping the log. Generally, he acts as the ship's tactical officer, and as instructor to the watch officers in studying tactical publications. He relieves the officer of the deck at general drills, and usually at quarters.

In addition to his regular duties, the navigator is usually the senior member of the summary court-martial and the hull board. He acts as deck-court officer and may be survey officer, acting on requests for surveys of materials. He is often placed in charge of the ship's library and is usually the ship's educational officer. Like the gunnery officer, the navigator is senior to all watch and division officers, and Navy Regulations permit one officer, usually an ensign, to be assigned as his assistant.

In battle, the navigating officer becomes ship control officer, relieving the officer of the deck.

The engineer officer.

The engineer officer of the ship is head of the engineering department. He is commonly known as the chief engineer and is senior to all watch and division officers. His responsibilities include care, maintenance, and operation of all machinery except certain radio, sound, and visual signaling apparatus; he also has charge of all electrical machinery, equipment, and workshops. He is charged with the upkeep and cleanliness of the firerooms and engine rooms and of all compartments, shaft alleys, storerooms, workshops, and machine ships assigned to the engineer division.

The engineer officer directs the proper training of the officers and men in his department and is responsible for keeping the bell book and other operational and maintenance records.

In battle, he personally supervises the operation of the machinery.

The first lieutenant and damage control officer.

The construction department is usually known as the "C and R" (construction and repair) or hull department. On battleships, cruisers, aircraft carriers, and destroyers, an officer is assigned to duty as damage control officer and first lieutenant. He is senior to all watch and division officers. Navy Regulations states that the first lieutenant shall be the construction officer of the ship and head of the construction department.

The damage control officer and first lieutenant assists the executive officer in arranging the ship's work, drills, and exercises of the crew as a whole. He is particularly concerned with the coordination of all departments for damage control and for placing the ship in material condition for battle. The first lieutenant is responsible for the cleanliness, good order, and neat and trim appearance of the ship as a whole, and of all parts thereof, except spaces for which the engineer officer is responsible. He makes frequent inspections of all mess gear of the crew and of all mess tables, chests, and lockers. He has charge of all equipage, equipment, stores, and supplies under the cognizance of the Bureau of Ships, assigned or issued to his department by the supply officer.

The assistants to the first lieutenant include the deck division officers, the boatswain, the carpenter, and officers assigned as assistants for damage control. In battle, the regular station of the damage control officer and first lieutenant is in the central station in general charge of the organization and damage control and repair parties.

The communication officer.

On board capital ships, aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, and also in other vessels where conditions warrant, an officer of the line is assigned to duty as communication officer. The communication officer is not, strictly speaking, a department head, but his duties are such that he is often so considered.

The communication officer is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the radio and sound apparatus and of all visual signalling apparatus and equipment. He is responsible for the preparation of all communication records and reports and is charged with the procurement, custody, distribution, and reports of all confidential and secret publications issued to the ship.

The communication officer's assistants are the signal officer, the radio officer, and the ship's secretary. In battle, the communication officer is stationed in the primary communication office, the code room, or on the signal bridge.

The medical officer.

The medical officer of the ship is head of the medical department. He has charge of all material and stores aboard under the cognizance of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. He is in direct charge of treatment and care of the sick and wounded, and advises the Commanding Officer in regard to matters affecting the physical fitness of all personnel.

The medical officer inspects, as to quality, all fresh provisions delivered to the ship. Before cooking or drinking water is brought on board from shore, he must investigate its source, test it, and report at once if any doubt exists as to its purity. He is required to make inspections of cells or other places of confinement and of all prisoners, reporting the results to the Commanding Officer. The medical officer accompanies the first lieutenant on his weekly inspections of living spaces and storerooms. Before leaving port, a bill of health must be procured and upon arrival in port the medical officer must be prepared to receive a health officer, to present the bill of health, and to answer any questions concerning sanitary conditions of the ship.

In battle, the medical officer is in charge of the primary dressing station, often established in the wardroom.

The supply officer.

The supply officer of the ship is the senior officer of the Supply Corps attached thereto and is head of the supply department. He has charge of the accounts of the personnel, of the purchase of stores and material for the ship, and of the disbursement of funds in connection with the general operation of the ship. He has custody of all stores for which he renders accounts excepting equipage in use, bunker fuel, and such other bulky supplies as may be in the physical custody of other departments.

The supply officer is responsible for the cleanliness and good condition of the galley, bakery, issuing room, and storerooms under his charge. All provisions delivered on board by a contractor are inspected as to quantity by the supply officer or by another officer designated by the Captain.

The ship's store is in the charge of the supply officer, clothing and small stores being issued at such times as may be directed by the Commanding Officer. The ship's service store, however, is not under the cognizance of the supply officer.

The supply officer may have two officer assistants, one for disbursing and one for general stores. In battle, the supply officer is stationed in the code room, as a member of the coding board.

The air officer.

It has been pointed out previously that the gunnery officer on a battleship or cruiser is in charge of the aircraft division. On aircraft carriers, however, an officer is designated as air officer.

The engineer and repair officer.

In ships of the tender class, such as destroyer tenders and submarine tenders, a separate department, known as the engineering and repair department, is maintained.

Combat Information Center.

With the continued development of radar and other detection equipment, the need for a coordinating center on board ship has become more and more acute. As a result, the Combat Information Center (C.I.C.) has been developed and is now found on most major combat vessels. C.I.C. is neither a department nor a division, but rather an agency that coordinates the activities of both departments and divisions during preparations for battle and in actual battle. C.I.C. is the sensory center of the ship, the place in which tactical information is gathered and evaluated, and action coordinated.

Specifically, C.I.C. is charged with the responsibility of gathering all possible information concerning friendly or enemy ships or aircraft within range of the equipment, evaluating this information, delivering parts of the evaluated information to appropriate stations aboard ship, and controlling tactical units. In addition, C.I.C. must be able to take over control of part or parts of the ship as directed by the Captain.

C.I.C. is manned by a trained C.I.C. team consisting of both officers and enlisted personnel. The size and composition of the teams vary according to the information-gathering equipment available. On many ships, the general quarters station of the executive officer is in C.I.C.

Divisions by Department

Div. Gunnery Department Personnel Assignment
F Fire controlmen, gunner's mates,
yeomen, seamen
Fire control, optics, repair
FR Radarmen, seamen Radar detection
1 Boatswain's mates, gunner's mates,
turret captains, seamen
Turret 1
2 Same as Division 1 Turret 2
3 Same as Division 1 Turret 3
4 Boatswain's mates, gunner's mates,
5-inch guns, group 2 (mounts 2, 4)
5 Same as Division 4 5-inch guns, group 1 (mounts 1, 3)
6 Same as Division 4
7 Marines 5-inch guns, group 3 (mounts 5, 7)
8 Boatswain's mates, gunner's mates,
Machine guns, forward
9 Same as Division 8 Machine guns, aft
V Aviation machinist's mates,
aviation radiomen, aviation ordnancemen,
Aircraft and bomb stowage
Div. Navigation Department Personnel Assignment
N Quartermasters, boatswain's mates,
yeomen, seamen, musicians, buglers
Navigation, lookouts, bands and buglars,
Div. Engineering Department Personnel Assignment
MF Machinist's mates, water tenders,
Machinery spaces 1 and 2
MA Machinist's mates, water tenders,
boilermakers, firemen
Machinery space 3 and 4
A Machinist's mates, water tenders,
metalsmiths, molders, firemen
E Electricians' mates, firemen Electrical equipment
Div. Hull Department Personnel Assignment
R Shipfitter, carpenter's mates, painters,
boatswain's mates, patternmakers,
Construction and repair, damage control
X Boatwains' mates, seamen Police petty officers, mess cooks,
scullery detail
Div. Supply Department Personnel Assignment
Storekeepers, chief commissary stewards,
ship's cooks, bakers, steward's mates,
cooks, stewards
Equipage, supplies, provisions,
clothing, maintenance and issue,
disbursing, messing
Div. Communications Dept. Personnel Assignment
EX Yeomen, printers, boatswain's mates,
Captain's office, executive officer's office,
post office
CS Signalmen, seamen Signals
CR Radiomen, radio technicians Radio
Div. Medical Department Personnel Assignment
H Pharmacist's mates, hospital apprentices Sick bay, battle dressing stations