An unknown Signalman hoists the Admiral's flag
on board USS Little Rock CLG4.
Photo by Bob Stangle PH2 1960-1961
(Click photo for a larger view.)
D.A. Green, SM3
examines the Aldis signaling lamp as Little Rock prepares
to enter Istanbul, Turkey in April 1965.
Note the mosque on the shoreline.
This is the Dolmabahçe Mosque just north of Istanbul.
(Click HERE for more information on the mosque.)
Photo by Bob Ernst LTjg 1962-1965
(Click photo for a larger view.)
What Signalmen did "Then"....
( From NAVPERS 1670, Dated 1943
DUTIES: Sends and receives messages by
flaghoist, flashing light, and semaphore. Stands watch on signal
all flags used in flaghoist. Memorizes much material in connection with
flaghoist (signal, calls, governing flags, etc.), as experience
Does "spotting" work, identifies vessels and aircraft. May take sun and
star sights and assist Quartermaster, on smaller ships.
TYPES OF BILLETS: All types of ships except the smallest.
What they do "Now"....
( From NAVPERS 18068F, Dated
Signalmen (SM) stand watches on signal
bridges; send and receive messages by flashing light, semaphore, and
flaghoist; prepare headings and addresses for out‑going messages;
handle, route, and file messages; encode and decode message headings;
operate voice radio; maintain visual signal equipment; render passing
ships and boats; display ensigns and personal flags during salutes
and during personal and national honors; perform duties of lookouts;
send and receive visual recognition signals; repair signal flags,
pennants, and ensigns; take bearings, recognize visual navigational
serve as navigators' assistants.
SM Signalman (1902 - 2003)
Note: The rating of Signalman (SM) was merged into Quartermasters (QM) in 2003.
Training: Naval enlistees are taught the fundamentals of the Signalman rating through on-the-job training or formal Navy schooling. Advanced technical and operational training is available in this rating during later stages of career development.
Training includes lectures and practical exercises covering visual communications procedures, including international Morse code, flag identification and signaling; publications, flashing light and semaphore drills and positions, as well as message construction and procedures. After "A" school, US Navy Signalmen are assigned to all types of ships. TAR Signalmen are assigned to NRF ships in CONUS. Upon completion of sea tours, TAR SMs will be assigned to reserve centers across the country including the heartland. While assigned to reserve centers TAR SMs will train and administer Selected Reserve Personnel. During a 20-year period in the Navy, SMs spend about 60 percent of their time assigned to fleet units and 40 percent to shore stations.
Working Environment: Signalmen usually work outdoors or in a clean, air-conditioned electronic equipment space, and frequently perform their work as part of a team, but may work on individual projects. Their work is mostly mental analysis and physical dexterity. USN SMs are stationed primarily aboard USN deploying ships, TAR SMs are stationed aboard Naval Reserve Force (NRF) ships that deploy or conduct local operations.
The International Code of Signals (INTERCO) is a signal code used by merchant and naval vessels to communicate important messages about the state of a vessel and the intent of its master or commander when there are language barriers. INTERCO signals can be sent by signal flag, blinker light, flag semaphore, Morse code, or by radio.
The First International Code was drafted in 1855 by the British Board of Trade, revised in 1887, and modified at the International Conference of 1889 in Washington, DC. After World War I the Code was prepared in seven languages: English, French, Italian, German, Japanese, Spanish and in Norwegian. The new version introduced vocabulary for aviation and a complete medical section. The Code was revised in 1964 and was adopted in 1965.
Every signal in the INTERCO has a complete meaning. A recipient does not need to receive two or more signals to complete a message.
For a nice link to Signal Flag info, click HERE
U.S.S. Little Rocks's Call Letters and Flags
Click HERE to see more info on the Call Signs of the USS Little Rock
The Aldis Signal Lamp
Aldis signal lamps were pioneered by the British Navy in the 19th century, and were used extensively on naval vessels until the end of the 20th century. They provided handy, secure communications during periods of radio silence. They had a secondary function as simple spotlights.
Aldis lamps were about 20" in diameter, used a carbon arc lamp as their light source, and were typically mounted on pedestals. These could be used to signal to the horizon, even in conditions of bright sunlight. Often thought only possible to communicate by line-of-sight it was possible to illuminate cloud bases both during the night and day. This could be used to communicate beyond the horizon. A maximum transmission speed possible by using flashing lights was no more than 14 wpm.
Tidbit: To read a copy of the U.S. Navy manual for the "24 Inch Searchlight, Model 24-G-20", CLICK HERE
- 1961 USS Little Rock Cruise Book
(click picture to enlarge)
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The Dolmabahçe Mosque
Designed by architect Karabet Balyanhe, the construction of the mosque was
completed in 1855. The unique arrangement of the windows, said to resemble
a peacock's tail, is relatively rare in mosque construction.
The Dolmabahçe Mosque is just north of Istanbul on the Bosphorus. The Bosphorus strait
connects the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea. (The Sea of Marmara joins the Mediteranean
via the Sea of Crete and the Aegean Sea.)
Here is an interesting Navy Photo of the U.S. Sixth Fleet Band approaching the landing near the Dolmabahçe Mosque
This great picture of the Dolmabahçe Mosque was taken by
shipmate Tom Jones EM2 (1962-1966) from one of the
LITTLE ROCK's small boats. (Great shot Tom!)