Weapons Department

Page last updated: 1 May, 2020

What We Did.....

The Missile Division was responsible for the assembly, testing and repair of the 48 Talos missiles carried by USS Little Rock. The number of men assigned to the Missile Division was approximately 18, but this varied from as low as 8-10 men, to as high as 42. Ratings in the division initially included Missile Technicians (GS) and Nuclear Weapons Technicians (NWT), but over the years, the rate designations were changed to Fire Control Technician-Missiles (FTM) and Gunnersmate Technician (GMT).

Missiles were received aboard ship in a semi-assembled state. It was the responsibility of the Missile Division personnel to install warheads, and to fuel the missile with JP-5, a version of jet fuel. It should be noted that the Talos missile was an air-breathing, fuel burning ram-jet, boosted to operational speeds at launch by a solid-propellant booster. Missiles were typically tested every 30 days to insure operational readiness. Fourteen missiles were continually ready for immediate launch. They were stored with their boosters attached in the Ready Service Magazine, but without wings or fins installed, and could be made ready for launch in a matter of minutes.

Another 34 missiles, along with their boosters, were stored in the missile house magazine. Here the missiles were not attached to their boosters, and consequently could not be launched, except after the boosters were attached, and the mated missile/booster assembly moved to the Ready Service Magazine. The mating and moving of the missiles was performed by the Gunnersmates (GMM).

Testing of the Talos missile occupied a lot of the Missile Tech's time. A missile was moved (by the GMM's) to either the port or starboard Missile Test Area (referedto as the "Test Bay"). If the missile to be tested was attached to a booster, the GMM's would de-mate the booster before bringing the missile into the test bay. The missile was tested in a fully fueled condition, with warhead installed (!) The test equipment, known as "TATTE" (for Talos Tactical Test Equipment), which was located in a compartment above the Test Bay, would provide signals to the missile which simulated an actual flight, from launch to target intercept, while at the same time measuring the missile's responses to the signals. If the test determined that the missile would have successfully intercepted the target, TATTE provided a green "GO" light indication. A red "NO GO" meant it was time to put the thinking caps on. Based on test results and diagnostics, the missile techs would either make critical adjustments (referred to as "tweeking") to the missile or replace defective components (modules) Tests and repairs were performed until a "GO" was received. It wasn't unusual to work well into the night in order to bring a missile back to "ready" status..... and all this time the rest of the ship's crew thought we were just goofing off in our air conditioned spaces! 

Crew List...

Missile Division Officers

Name / Rank
Dates on Board

Missile Division Enlisted

Name / Rate
Dates on Board
Current Status

Memorable Moments (As Best We Can Remember)

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