>First duty station – Coast Guard Cutter Munro!

>My name is Grant M. Hadley and I am from Santa Cruz California. I have been in the Coast Guard for about six months and I have been on the Munro for three months.

I am a member of the six man gun crew that is assigned to aid and assist Chief Petty Officer Greg Colvin in the loading, control and maintenance of the 76mm gun mount.

Our duties include wiping the mount down with oil, which helps prevent rust from building up and keeps the gun lubricated and working smoothly when it is in motion, and doing pre-fire checks. Pre-fire checks help us make sure the gun is working properly and ready to fire. We make sure the gun mount is free of obstructions like tools and rags, and free of leaks in the hydraulic system used to maneuver the gun mount.

I am also one of the three men misfire team. When the gun misfires, or a round doesn’t go off when the gun has been fired, the misfire team goes up into the gun mount to clear the misfired round and put in a clearing charge.

This can be a dangerous job because even though the misfire team will wait 30 seconds in case of a hang fire, a delay in the round going off, the round may still go off at any time before the misfire team clears it from the mount.

To minimize the danger the misfire team is drilled to be able to clear a round from the mount in ten minutes or less. My team can clear a round in under six minutes.

Chief Colvin runs misfire drills every time we’re in the mount, often three, four or five times, to make sure that we are prepared in the event of an actual misfire. He drills us so constantly that when we had an actual misfire during the patrol I didn’t even realize it was a real misfire until after we cleared it. I responded to the misfire as I would have for any normal drill, even though it wasn’t, and we had the round out and cleared in just over six minutes. Not our best time, but still pretty good.

Chief Colvin has a unique, but very effective, method of training. He is very patient and can break things down until you understand what he’s trying to teach you, and he always starts with the basics and is willing to train you at your own pace.

He is also a big fan of repetition. He will drill us on the same thing over and over until we can almost do it in our sleep.

Though he is patient and thorough, he is not easy on us. If you get something wrong you do push-ups, and not just you, every member of the gun crew, (even he) does push-ups. Everybody pays for your mistakes, and you pay for everybody else’s. Even when Chief makes mistakes, which doesn’t happen often, we all do push ups.

I like being on the gun crew and working on the ship’s biggest gun. The gun crews rotate around to the different mounts so I’m really looking forward to learning the M240 Bravo, the large guns on the ship’s forecastle, but for now I’m happy in the 76. I like working with Chief Colvin and I have a lot of respect for him and the other people on my gun crew. I take pride in my job, my ship and my gun.