The Crew's Mess was one of the largest open spaces on the submarine, certainly the largest where more than a few sailors could gather at once. On a Sturgeon class boat like the Bates, that's really not saying much.
Situated in Operations Compartment middle level, it was bounded by the Galley, the Crew's Activity Space, the refrigerator, the freezer, and the Trash Disposal Unit room. Tables and benches were permanently installed that provided seating for about 28 or 30 at a time.
The Crew's Mess was central to life on the submarine. We ate there, trained there, planned, staged, prepared, and mustered there. We watched movies, read books, played cards, cribbage, chess, and more there. We smoked, Coke'd and joked there. When things went well, we celebrated and held award ceremonies there. If things weren't going so well, we organized damage control parties there. If you weren't in the Crew's Mess, you were on watch, in your bunk, or moving between any two of those three.
Four times a day, at 0600, 1200, 1800, and 2400, the Crew's Mess was a hive of activity, full of on-going and off-going watchstanders, all eating with with one arm on the edge of the table, folded across their chests to create a little more room on the bench. The rest of the day found the Crew's Mess filled with sailors for School of the Boat, Engineering or Divisional training, or damage control parties during drills and casualties. After dinner or midrats, the tables themselves folded up to provide backrests and make all the benches forward facing, and it was showtime as the lastest movie would dance across the screen.
About the only time you could find the Crew's Mess empty was late at night when in-port, and most of the crew was on liberty.
Here at SSN-680.org, our Crew's Mess is home to the Scuttlebutt forum, Sea Stories, the soon to be open Ship's Store, our Required Reading List and the Movie Locker. We expect you'll find it as busy as the Crew's Mess on the boat, and hope you never find it empty.
You must be registered and logged in to visit the Scuttlebutt forum OR read ALL Sea Stories.