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A warship has many functions and purposes. Purposes like showing the flag, force projection, area denial and battlegroup defense are a few of what they do. In the end, it accomplishes all of these purposes by executing (or threatening to execute) its main function, that of delivering ordinance on target.

Every action the ship and crew do enable those weapon systems to be in the proper place at the proper time to accurately deliver that ordinance on target. Outside of the personal effects of the crew, every item on that ship is meant to operate the ship so the mission can be carried out, either undamaged or damaged. Every item on those ships has a function and purpose, as well as a place to stand ready until needed. They are maintained and inspected on a regular basis. The attention-to-detail sailors have to provide on a daily basis would make someone with severe OCD feel inadequate.

Every item and where it is stored on a ship have reasons written in blood from earlier ships taking damage.

Since I enlisted in 1979, six US Navy ships have been seriously damaged, five by enemy action and one by a "TFOA" (Things Falling Off Aircraft). Each of these ships, by their design, their redundant systems and the courage and training of their crew made it back to port to be repaired and return to the fleet.

The film below, Seven Sailors was filmed on the USS Lawrence (DDG-4), a Charles F. Addams Guided-Missile Destroyer. It was filmed in 1968 on 16mm film, which was probably later recorded on videotape and finally to digital format. This is why it is out of focus a bit.

This film illustrates the necessary attention-to-detail that every sailor needs to have in order to properly carry out their job. No job is too small or menial. When sailors don't do the proper thing, bad things do happen. A person who has never served on a ship will probably think these seven sailors made minor mistakes. As the film progresses you will see how those "minor mistakes" seriously hurt the ability of the ship to survive, let alone carry out its needed mission.

 

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