USS SLC...USN...Thomas Eldon Charles, Lt.(jg)
Thomas passed away in June of 2007. Information from surviving spouse, Margaret
Nov. 1, 1943 Roster of Officers Restricted Records:
Div. 6 - Duty: JW & JDO, Asst. Stbd. Cat. Officer
Battle Station: 5" Batt. Gr. III
Oct. 31st, 2003
It was great to finally make contact with the USS SLC Association. I have been wanting to do
that for some time. Enclosed is my check for the annual dues.
I will give you a short history of my Navy service, especially on the Salt Lake City.
In the summer of 1941 I had recently graduated from the University of Illinois. I held a low
draft number so needed to get into the service quickly. I enlisted as a S1c in Naval
Intelligence with orders for shore duty on Guam. We were 5 days out of Pearl Harbor on the
transport USS CHAUMONT heading for Guam when Pearl Harbor was bombed. We pulled in to Darwin
Australia and I was transferred to the USS MARBLEHEAD, as Guam was already under attack.
The USS MARBLEHEAD operated out of Surabaya Java, trying to hold back the Japanese as they
came down the Macasser Straits. Eventually we received very severe battle damage and lost the
use of our rudder. We were ordered to Brooklyn Navy Yard for repairs.
When we arrived at the Navy Shipyard in Brooklyn I put in for appointment to midshipmen school
on the campus of Notre Dame. I received it and four months later I received my commission as
an Ensign. I was ordered back to sea with orders to the USS SALT LAKE CITY. I reported on
board Feb. 22nd, 1943 and was assigned to the 6th Division. The senior officer was Lt. Gerry
Reeves. We were a 5" gunnery division.
I was on board at the time of the Battle of the Komandorskis and 128 days later we were at sea in the Aleutians including the bombardment of Attu and Kiska. When we went south we bombarded Tarawa in preparation for the Marines famous battle. We shelled the beaches very heavy and long at Kwajalien.
In late Oct., 1944, I volunteered for assignment to the Amphibious Training Base Pacific for a course of instruction at the Naval Gunnery Officers School and for further assignment to shore fire control parties. In a few days orders were cut and I left the SLC at the small island of Ulithi for transportation to the US. It was with very mixed emotions that I left the great fighting ship.
I would very much like to hear from anyone of the SLC.
Thomas E. Charles
#13 in 6th Division Picture, 1944
SLC Deck Log Officer's List
SLC Deck Log Mar. 1943