Senior Chief Re-enlists on Historic Bremerton Landmark

Story Number: NNS090719-06Release Date: 7/19/2009 2:04:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kirk T. Putnam, USS Abraham Lincoln Public Affairs

BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- A Sailor from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) re-enlisted in the machinery room at the top of a historic 2,400-ton crane at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) in Bremerton July 8.

Machinist's Mate Senior Chief (SW) John R. Davis re-enlisted for the last time before becoming eligible for retirement.

"I'll never forget that re-enlistment. All my others were wherever I was working at the time. It was a nice surprise Lt. Brent Miller sprung on me," said Davis.

Miller had toured the crane once before when stationed at PSNS and decided it would be the perfect location for such an event.

"Davis has done so much for Lincoln during his tour that I wanted to make his re-enlistment memorable. He has been instrumental in planning and executing this planned incremental availability. I owed him a lot and wanted to do something special for his last re-enlistment," said Miller.

Kenneth Haines, the crane operation manager for PSNS, guided the Sailors through the crane for the re-enlistment ceremony.

The Hammerhead Crane was purchased from the Dravo Corporation from Pittsburgh in April 1933. The crane was built by the iron workers that had just completed the Empire State Building at the start of the Great Depression. The 500-ton revolving crane is fitted with two 125-ton main hoists that can be independently loaded or coupled together to accommodate lifts up to 500-tons out to a radius of 115 feet.

"When the crane is rotated, it is a sight to see and will take up to six minutes to complete the rotation, but it still operates and feels as smooth as silk," said Haines.

The Hammerhead Crane served the fleet during World War II but was primarily designed to handle large 14- and 16-inch guns of battleships and heavy cruisers. The crane also had a role in the installation of aircraft carrier elevators to handle F-14s and other major structural modifications.

The crane continued to support the fleet well into the nuclear age and was used to transport nuclear fuel via cargo shipments between Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and PSNS. It was used in active production until April 1996 when it entered a period of refurbishment and preservation as a national historic landmark.

"It was nice to be up there, and I thought it was great that Lt. Miller went out of his way to make my last re-enlistment special. It was my last go out where I could bring all the crew with me," said Davis.

After the ceremony, Davis and his re-enlistment attendees were treated to a tour and were permitted to walk out on the legendary arm of the machine.

"I have seen lots of locations for re-enlistments, from old carriers or in helicopters to halftime at Qwest Field. It was appropriate for a machinist's mate to re-enlist in the machinery space of the old crane. It was great that Ken Haines let us in and gave us a tour knowing all about the crane and had even operated it once upon a time," said Miller.

For more news from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), visit

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