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Ernest T. Cooper, Jr., MM2c
USS Salt Lake City CA25
1943
slc1-cooper

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USS SLC...Enlisted Navy...Ernest T. Cooper, Jr., MM2c

US FLAG Ernest Cooper passed away in 1993
Jun. 29th, 2001

Note: In the SLC Roster, Ernest T. Cooper, Jr. was listed as F1c.
Sandy,

My name is Lu Ann Cooper and my father was aboard the USS Salt Lake City during WWII. I don't know what division he was in. Do you have any records that may indicate what division he was in? His grave stone says MM2.

His name was Ernest Truett Cooper Jr. and he was from Waco, Tx. I would love any information you may have about him...even if it's just his name written somewhere. I haven't looked at all the pictures yet, but I will.

The F1C must be a mistake because my father worked in the boiler room and the engine room. I remember something about him making fresh water out of the salt water too.

I talked to my mother about your site and how excited I was. She said she was happy to hear about the website and said that it would have made my dad so happy.

There was a movie made when they sank the SLC and my dad just bawled like a baby when he saw it. He never wanted to talk much about his experiences. He suffered from severe shell shock and had nightmares just about every night until he died in 93. He would soak his pillow in sweat. My mother says it was like he fought that war every night in his sleep. I think he lost some of his best friends on board.

He did tell us one story about once when he went into the bathroom that had a lot of stalls all lined up. He sat down on one, then just had the urge to get up and move. Another man went in and sat in the stall my dad had vacated and some shrapnal came in and killed him.

I asked my mother to look for what few pictures she has of my dad from his navy days. I'm not too sure about the years he was on board the SLC. He joined the Navy after Pearl Harbor was hit and I think he left the ship in 46.

Thank you so much for setting up this site.

Lu Ann Cooper


#44 with the 2nd Division, Jan. 1945
SLC Deck Logs Dec. 1942  Oct. 1943
1979 SLC Reunion
Information from SLC Microfilm Records
Ernest Truit Cooper, Jr. 356 75 96 USN F3c
Enlisted into the Navy @ Dallas, TX 4/11/42
Boarded SLC for duty 3/1/43
Promoted to F2c 3/1/43
Promoted to F1c 5/1/43
Transferred to Receiving Station San Francisco for duty to new construction 10/5/43

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March 12, 2017

Ernest T. Cooper Jr. was the first born child of Ernest and Lula Cooper of Waco, Tx. Born in 1921, he was a teenager during the depression, and he had to quit school and go to work in an ice cream shop to help feed the family.

Later, he traveled all over Texas with family members learning the trade of electric motor rewinding. After Pearl Harbor was attacked, Ernest joined the navy. He served on the USS Salt Lake City in 1943. He was on board during the Battle of Komondorski in March of 1943. He was down in the engine room trying to get the ship running again when they were dead in the water. He was very reluctant to talk about the experience.

Ernest suffered what was called “shell shock” back then. They treated him with electric shock treatments on three occasions, many years apart. I can remember him not remembering how to tie his shoes after his last treatment when he was about 39 years old (in about 1960). He seemed to fight that battle every single night as he tried to sleep. He had tremendous nightmares and poured sweat, grateful to finally wake up. The doctors were never able to get his high blood pressure under control, and he suffered the effects.

After he left the Navy, Ernest moved with his new bride, Mabel Henderson Cooper, to El Paso, Tx to be a partner in an electric motor company. Eventually, he split from the partnership and created his own business, Cooper Electric Co. While the business was slow to get started, it eventually flourished, providing a nice living for the family. He and Mabel raised three children: Robert; Jan; and Lu Ann.

In 1978, Ernest’s health began to falter. His doctors told him he needed to retire, so he sold his business and began the life of retirement. He enjoyed fishing, his mountain cabin, making his own beer, playing canasta, and talking about 4 X 4s. He was able to enjoy life for many years, but still fought the battle of Komondorski each night when he went to sleep.

On March 23, 1993, Ernest died in his sleep at 71 years of age. His family was so grateful he was blessed with a peaceful departure. He was buried at Ft. Bliss National Cemetery in El Paso.

Although reluctant to talk about it, Ernest loved the USS Salt Lake City, the missions, and the job he did for his country. Like most men, he wished he could have done more.

Written by:
Lu Ann Cooper
I am proud of my dad for his service during WWII. He was so loved by his family. luann.cooper@gmail.com


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