RECONSTRUCTION Of The USS BRAINE DD 630 and the Return Home - 1945

The BRAINE moored alongside a tender to determine the status of the ship. The surviving crew members were temporarily moved on board the tender. Inspections indicated the hull was sound and the only damaged propulsion equipment was in the After Boiler Room. Work was started to clean up the ship for living on board and to make necessary repairs in preparation for the return home.
A great deal of work was needed to clear battle damage from the main deck and above. It was decided the damaged after torpedo tubes needed to be removed to support the structure.
The structural integrity of the hull was established by welding steel plates over the openings on the deck and the missing beams were welded on top of the plates. The fighter director was lowered and welded to the main deck. The damage to the condensate pumps return piping in the after boiler room were repaired.
The boilers in the forward boiler room were fired up and both engine room electric generators were returned to service. The main turbines were checked and found to be operational. Most of the electrical panels were damaged and were rewired straight through.

The IC room was undamaged and the gyro-compass was operational. The compass repeaters at the after control and after steering were placed in service. The communication for the engine room, boiler rooms, and after steering was made by means of sound powered telephones. Steering was not perfect, but it was functional and a challenge for the helmsmen.

On 19 June 1945 the surviving members of the crew held a memorial service for their fallen comrades, the ship got underway. The BRAINE was escorted by the USS WATERS - APD8. Captain Fits wanted all wounded who could walk to sail home with the ship.

The first stop was at Saipan, Marianas, where wounded were received from the hospitals in the area. The BRAINE proceeded to Eniwetok for fueling and on to Pearl Harbor, celebrating two Independence Days, by crossing the International Date Line on the Fourth of July. This was seen by the crew as recognition for its heroices. At Pearl Harbor the hull patches were strengthened in anticipation of heavy weather enroute home. More men who had been wounded reported on board.
Crews from new destroyers moored alongside the BRAINE and headed for combat were shocked at the damage. Letters to the Captain began to arrive from families of the men killed, or reported missing. Some of the crew who came on board had not written home about the damage the BRAINE had received. Their parents could not believe they were casualties. One woman wrote a sad letter. She had written her husband a “Dear John” letter and she hoped he had not received it.
The voyage to San Diego was just within the BRAINE’s fuel supply. A submarine contact caused some anxious moments, but after several depth charge runs by escorting destroyers, the contact was lost.
The BRAINE arrived at San Diego on 19 July 1945, in heavy overcast, with no radar and only six hours of fuel left. The trip through the Panama Canal was uneventful and the BRAINE arrived at South Boston Navy Yard on 6 August 1945, exactly two years from her departure. On that same day half way around the world, an earth-shaking event was taking place - the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. No member of the BRAINE crew ever disagreed with President Truman’s decision. The ship was scheduled to be repaired and returned to the Pacific for the invasion of Japan. Captain Fitts was relieved as Commanding Officer by Lt. Cdr. Marlin D. Clausner, USN.
The Navy Yard removed all the superstructure to clear battle damage and provide access for maintenance and repairs. The after boiler room casings were extremely damaged. The econimizers were twisted and broken. The safety valve was sheared.
The remains of the second suicide plane were removed from the boilers. Visual inspections revealed no damage to the other pressure parts of the boilers. Hydrostatic tests were conducted on the boilers and both held pressure. Measurements indicated the boilers were slightly out of line. New safety valves and the economizers were installed and new boiler casings were built to the boilers new location. When the main deck was removed, it was determined why both the main generators tripped off after the second suicide plane crashed into the BRAINE. The two cables that cross-connected the electrical systems were placed side by side on the centerline of the ship under the main deck. The damage control manual placed the cables two feet below the main deck, one on either side of the ship. Despite the efforts of the Captain an Engineering Officers the cables were reinstalled on the centerline. Fortunately, the decision was never tested again.
Navy Day was celebrated in October 1945 and the Navy Yard held an open house. Families of crew members who served aboard, including those men killed in action, were permitted on board and visited with crew members about the action the BRAINE and her crew were part of in Okinawa.
Gradually, the ship was being restored to its original configuration and some problems did occur. The main turbine lubricating oil systems had been shut down in August and they did not start again until the following January. The oil in the tanks was too stiff to flow. After some procedures, the oil finally began to circulate. The turbines were put on turning gear to start to remove the sag in the shafts from sitting so long.
The superstructure and all the components from the after stack forward to No. 5 3/8" gun were replaced and rewired. The process of checking connections was long and tedious. The damaged officer’s country was repaired and the superstructure replaced, including the wardroom, combat information center, IC Room and radio shack, as well as damaged armament.
In early 1946, as the time neared for sea trials, personnel moved on board. Many of the experienced officers and petty officers had been discharged and their replacements were new officers and seamen just out of boot camp. The propulsion equipment and control systems were tested along side the dock. At last the BRAINE was ready for sea trials. They were completed and the ship was ordered to Charleston, South Carolina for decommissioning.
The BRAINE departed Boston On March 1946 with only three qualified officers to stand underway watches. The enlisted men were placed on port/starboard watches to man the ship, the boiler rooms, and engine rooms. The North Atlantic was very cold. Heating the ship became a problem. The piping for space heaters had not been connected. As the ship moved south the problem disappeared.
The ship was prepared for moth-balling and finally decommissioned on 26 July 1946.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Court rules VA must pay disability benefits to ‘blue water’ Vietnam veteran!