USS Slater - Destory Escort Historical Museum



Chief Petty Officers' Quarters

The forward most berthing space on a destroyer escort was the CPO mess and berthing. The Chiefs were senior enlisted men with ten to twenty years experience in their area.  In a comparable shoreside facility like a factory, they would be considered the “shop foreman."  They provided the technical expertise needed to operate SLATER and served as the interface between the officers and the enlisted men. A wise officer always consulted the Chief before making a decision.

The SLATER carried a “Chief” for each specific technical area.  The navy tried to provide a Chief boatswain, gunner, torpedoman, radioman, yeoman, quartermaster, storekeeper, commissary steward, sonarman, signalman, firecontrolman, electrician, engineman and machinist for each DE. However, wartime shortages of experienced personnel meant that often first and second class petty officer’s had to fill the role of the Chief.

The CPO mess was an exclusive area that gave these men a little privacy.   It was also the roughest berthing space in which to live because of the pounding experienced here during heavy weather.  The CPO mess contained a small range, refrigerator and sink so that their meals could be served in the same space. They ate off navy china as opposed to the metal mess trays the enlisted men used.

The space was nicknamed the “Goat Locker” by the rest of the crew because of the rumor that these men were a group of old goats. However, the truth is that the Chief’s have long been referred to as the backbone of the Navy.

CPO quarter's aboard the USS SLATER DE766
Chiefs' quarters aboard the USS SLATER DE766

Chiefs' hats in the CPO mess aboard the USS SLATER DE766
Chiefs' hats in the CPO mess aboard the USS SLATER DE766



CPO quarters pre-restoration
CPO quarters before restoration


CPO quarters after restoration
CPO quarters after restoration