This compartment was the crew’s messdeck. Food was prepared a deck above in the galley and hand carried down the ladder to the serving line. This was not an easy task for the messcooks when the ship was rolling in heavy seas. However, this was a real improvement. On most previous classes of destroyers, there was no enclosed passageway between the galley and the messdecks, so messcooks had to brave the rolling waves topside with their pans of food. The long hull destroyer escorts were among the first destroyer type vessels to have the enclosed main deck passageway; the mess cooks thought life was great because they didn’t have to carry the food topside.
Because of the crowded conditions on the ship, mess tables extended into the forward berthing compartment, and the messdeck was fitted with six bunks and hammock hooks.
Each department was required to rotate two to four non-rated men to serve for four to six months. Once a sailor learned a skill and was rated, he was exempt from messcooking. This is another example of the subtle ways the navy had to motivate sailors.