James T. Brewer

USS Salt Lake City CA25

Picture on pg. 306 of book titled
"Over the River & Through the Years"
Book Two by Katharine Blaisdell-1980

Scan of his Signature

FLAGBAR 501x15

USS SLC...Officer...James T. Brewer, Exec. Officer

US FLAG Commander James T. Brewer passed away on Oct. 11, 1987
Information found in "The Salt Shaker" Sunday Supplement, April 16th, 1944:
James T. Brewer, USNR, Belmont, MA.:" As gunnery officer of a heavy cruiser during action against a Japanese task force twice the size of his own, he performed his duties while exposed to intense gunfire from two Jap heavy cruisers. His courage was an inspiration to his men. (March 26th, 1943, off Komandorski Islands).

Source: Pages 305-306
"Over the River & Through the Years", Book Two by Katharine Blaisdell-1980

Admiral James T. Brewer, retired from the US Navy, has told us about his experiences at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack. He was a lieutenant at the time, serving as air defense officer of the heavy cruiser SALT LAKE CITY, which on that morning was on its way to Pearl Harbor. Returning from Wake island, screening the aircraft carrier ENTERPRISE, along with other cruisers and destroyers, they were just south of Pearl Harbor when the Japanese raid hit the island from the North.

They sounded General Quarters and sent up four scouting planes to search for the Japanese. Fortunately, no contact was made, as the enemy force was numerically superior, consisting of over half of the Japanese navy, although this was not known at the time.

Adm. Brewer says they went into Pearl Harbor that night. What a mess! Everybody was in a state of shock. Some ships had been sunk, others were upside down, and 3600 men were dead. One battleship had gotten underway trying to escape the Japanese planes, but in a sinking condition had been deliberately run aground right into a sugar cane field. There was oil all over the water of the harbor. Hickham Field was all shot up, as were the dry-docks and military barracks.

However, there had been no strikes on civilian targets or on our hospital ship at anchor in the harbor. That night there was a complete blackout everywhere in Pearl Harbor, in nearby Honolulu, and throughout the Islands.

That night, Lt Brewer's ship refueled from a tanker and immediately went on a submarine chase, as they expected attacks on the shipping lanes from San Francisco to Hawaii. After patrolling that area, he was involved in campaigns throughout the Pacific Ocean War until detached from the SLC in 1945, following the seizure of Iwo Jima.

Adm. Brewer says that he had been in the Pacific for a year before the Pearl Harbor raid, engaged in peacetime operations and training, and had just finished making arrangements for his wife and twin sons to come to Hawaii. Mrs. Brewer and the boys had driven across the country from Boston and were scheduled to board a ship on Dec. 13. Their car, with the truck full of the boys' toys and other gear, had left San Francisco December 6 and was on the high seas at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack. The ship made Pearl safely. The car was hauled away from dockside activity and stored in a remote field. Admiral Brewer says that it was March before he was able to go ashore and locate the care to make arrangements for shipping it back home. By that time it was in mud up to the hubcaps. There was plenty of shipping space on ships returning to the States, in fact they welcomed the car as ballast.

Following the war, Admiral Brewer served on various assignments, including the command of two ships and a shore station, as well as a tour in Washington, taking as active part in the unification of the American military forces under the Joint Staff. He retired in 1952 as a Rear Admiral.

Information found in various records and books from the USS SLC Memorabilia
No family contact

FLAGBAR 501x15

SLC Deck Log Officer's List
#12 in picture with Group in Port Moresby, 1941
SLC Deck Logs Dec. 1942  Aug. 1943
Memorandums from 1941-1942
Story from SLC Cruise Book
Awards presented for Battle of Cape Esperance, 1942
Summary of Action Battle of Cape Esperance
Tidbits News release, Feb. 6th & 19th, 1943
Savo Island Victory & Rescue of the BOISE, Feb. 14th, 1943
#1 in Officers, Mare Island Navy Yard, April 1943
War Record of the USS SLC CA25, 1943-44
#2 in Chiefs, 1943-44
#1 in Officers, 1943-44
Picture receiving Legion of Merit Award
Tidbits from Comdr. George A. O'Connell, Jr.
Receiving award from Capt. B. J. Rodgers, 1943
Received the Silver Star & Legion of Merit Award
My Speed Zero, Komandorski Battle
The Thousand-Mile War, March 26th, 1943
Tidbits from 1944 Saltshaker
Salt Shaker Newsletter, 1945
Letter to Captain Grayson B. Carter, 1947 NEW
1949 account about the Battle of Cape Esperance NEW
Guest Speaker at 1977 SLC Reunion Banquet

FLAGBAR 501x15

August 4th, 1943

Commander James T. Brewer, U. S. Naval Reserve for service as set forth in the following Citation is awarded the Silver Star Medal.

"For gallantry and intrepidity during the battle off the _____ on _____, in which the Task Group of which his ship was a part, engaged a superior enemy force of twice its size for a period of three hours and twenty-five minutes. Commander Brewer, as Gunner Officer of a heavy cruiser, had so organized his department that with fifty percent replacements, over half of whom were in their first ship, was able, within fifteen days of leaving the yard, to inflict heavy damage upon the enemy forces. From his station on the Flying Bridge, under heavy gunfire from two heavy cruisers, he coolly directed the fire of his batteries, inflicting severe damage on enemy ships. His conduct was at all times in keeping with the highest traditions of naval service."

s/ T. C. Kinkaid, Vice Admiral, U. S. Navy
Temporary Citation

FLAGBAR 501x15


The address to this page is brewer.htm
Send Questions, Comments or Report Problems to Website Curator, Sandy Eskew
Return to SLC Main Index for Email Address