In the Greyhound movie, we can see a black messmate (or is it "messman"?) Cleveland regularly bringing food to the captain. When the U-boats attack, there is a moment, when we can see Cleveland passing ammo to the guns.

Towards the end of the movie, we can see that the ship has been hit in the gun turret and one of the victims was the previously mentioned messmate Cleveland.

-Direct hit on mount 43, sir. Damage Control reports fire, abaft frame 24. [...]

-Who are the dead?

-Pisani, gunner's mate, third class. Marx, seaman, second. Cleveland, messmate. Took a hit at the portside 40-millimeter gun tub, loading ammunition, sir.

Would someone who is basically a "navy waiter" really work around guns during the battle? I would think that handling live ammo would require certain training.

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    I believe everyone on a ship has both a combat and non combat job (hence “battle stations” being announced - meaning switch to your combat job). Obviously many officers do almost the same thing regardless of combat or not: engineers stay in engineering, captain, navigator, etc continue in those roles. I think it’s the NCOs and enlisted who usually have plenty of work to do when not in combat as well as combat duties. “All hands to battle stations” includes ALL hands, and the mess and galley are generally not battle stations. Oct 27, 2020 at 0:55

1 Answer 1


In the Navy everyone regardless of job has a combat or damage control position when the ship is in a combat situation or one that will cause damage to the ship. Even though the position is normally in the mess they will normally serve some other duties during combat situations due to the fact that there are limited numbers of people on the ship and everyone needs to pitch in and help.

Now the question as if that was a realistic position in this case I can't say but it was feasible for him to be in that position during combat.

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