Control spaces Weapons Control Bridge CIC Gun Plot Damage Control

The USS Oklahoma City CLG-5 contained many complex systems, all designed to accomplish parts of the ship's mission. These systems were coordinated by several Command and Control centers to ensure that they all worked together as a single efficient unit. Each major system in the ship had its own local control center to direct operations of the associated systems. In addition to these control centers each Department had an office where every day management functions were carried out.

The major Command and Control Centers were:

  • The Bridge Where the ship was maneuvered.
  • Combat Information Center The ship's nerve center.
  • Weapons Control Talos missile battery control
  • Gun Plot Gun battery control.
  • Main Control Engineering plant control.
  • Main Comm The ship's communications center.
  • Damage Control Central Damage repair party control.

At sea the overall command of all ship's functions was located on the Bridge. The other control centers reported to the Bridge. The Bridge, Combat Information Center (CIC), the Communications Center and Main Control were manned at all times, but the actual number of people on watch in the spaces depended upon the ship's condition of readiness.

Condition 4 was the least "ready" operating state. The Bridge had the minimum watch to operate the ship and only the Surface Plot area in CIC was manned. Main Control was sufficiently manned to operate the boilers and engines. Most of the crew was off watch and performing routine work and maintenance, or eating or sleeping. Most of the internal water tight doors and hatches were open. Watches were 1 in 4 - after standing a watch period a person skipped three watch periods before going on watch again. When entering and leaving port the Special Sea and Anchor Detail was set with crew standing by on deck to handle anchors and mooring lines. Flight Quarters were set when the ship was launching or landing helicopters on the fantail. Underway Replenishment Details were posted while the ship was alongside replenishment ships (fuel, food and ammunition).

Condition 3 was a wartime steaming situation where half the weapons were manned. I don't recall the ship ever being at Condition III.

During Condition 2 AAW the missile battery was manned and Weapons Control had the minimum watch necessary to operate the missile system. The 5" gun mount was manned and the Dual Purpose Battery Plot Area in Gun Plot was manned. CIC maintained a surface and air watch. Normally all boilers were lighted off and Main Control was fully manned. Watches were 1 in 3. People not on watch ate, slept and conducted routine business as well as possible.

During Condition 2 NGFS the 6" turret and 5" mount were manned and Gun Plot was fully manned. CIC maintained a surface and air watch, and a Gunnery Liaison Officer was in charge of communications with spotters. Normally all boilers were lighted off and Main Control was fully manned. Watches were 1 in 3. People not on watch ate, slept and conducted routine business as well as possible.

Condition 1 was General Quarters. This was full wartime readiness with all stations fully manned with the expectation of combat action. All Control Centers and weapons systems were fully manned and ready. Watertight doors and hatches were sealed and all systems were configured to minimize damage in case the ship was engaged in action. Damage Control Center was manned and Damage Control Parties were stationed throughout the ship. Everyone remained at their stations for as long as General Quarters lasted. For lengthy General Quarters periods some conditions could be relaxed briefly to allow for feeding the crew, etc.

In port routine control of the ship was supervised by the Officer of the Deck (OOD) on the ship's quarterdeck. The ship's Communication Center was manned, and a basic watch was in Main Control if any of the ship's boilers were lighted off. Main Control was not manned if the ship was at "cold iron" (all boilers secured) with steam, water and power coming from the pier. The ship had a "duty section" that stood 1 in 4 watches, with a six day duty section rotation (one day on and five off). This was sometimes called Condition 5.

Miscellaneous

Who was responsible for seeing that the ship accomplished it's assigned missions?