USS SLC...USN...Joseph M. Deville, MM1c
Joseph M. Deville passed away on August 11, 1993
Nov. 15th, 2004
I happened upon your very good site tonight. My complements to you and thank you so very much for your time and effort and "mission." I was surprised to see that another sailor listed my dad as a "shipmate." I never knew about that, so your site is truly a teacher. I have an update on my father where he is listed as deceased.
JOSEPH MALCOLM DE VILLE...The Navy Years
He died August 11, 1993 at Alexandria, Louisiana and was interred on August 14, 1993 at Memorial Gardens; Wardsworth, Louisiana with full military honors. He had served 25 years in the Navy and being a "mustang", attained the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
I know he would have loved your site.
David M. DeVille, CDR, USNR(retired)
Compiled and written by his son, John M. De Ville
Ref.: The Admiral Nimitz Foundation. U. S. Navy Records file #04547.
Headquarters Eighth Naval District. Personal records of JM De Ville
While attending Boyce High School in Boyce High School in Boyce,
Louisiana, Dad moved with his family to Edinburg, Texas in June 1931.
He attended Edinburg High School. At the age of 19, He enlisted in the
United States Navy on November 14, 1935.
UNITED STATES NAVEL RECRUIT TRAINING CENTER-November 1935 to February 1936
Dad went to United States Navel Training Center in San Diego, California
in November, 1935. He completed his training February 1936.
USS IDAHO ( BB-42 ) February 1936 to May 1940
In February 1936, he reported for duty on the USS IDAHO.
The Idaho was a battleship built in Camden, N. J. in 1917 and
commissioned on March 24, 1919. Dad's primary duties were on deck &
engineering. The Idaho's home port was San Pedro, CA.
While stationed on board the Idaho, Dad returned to Edinburg and married
Mom, (Grace Maude Holderbaum) on September 3, 1938.
Returning to the ship, we find the war clouds gathering in the Pacific.
The Fleet increased the tempo of its training operations. The Idaho
carried out fleet tactics and gunnery exercises 'till it joined the
battle fleet at Pearl Harbor July 1, 1940. Dad was transferred and
arrived on board the USS SALT LAKE CITY in May 1940.
USS SALT LAKE CITY ( CA-25 ) May 1940 to December 1942
The USS SALT LAKE CITY was built in the same shipyard as the Idaho in N.
J. She was commissioned December 11, 1929.
Dad's duties were in Engineering. While on the Salt Lake City he was
advanced from Machinist Mate First Class to Warrant Machinist.
During the time Dad came on board in May, 1940, the Salt Lake City was
cruising between Pearl Harbor, Wake, and Guam. In August, 1941, she
visited Brisbane, Australia.
While Mom was at home at Pearl Harbor waiting for Dad to return home
from a cruise to Wake Island, the Japanese struck the Navel Base on
December 7, 1941. The Salt Lake City was escort for the carrier
Enterprise. They were 200 miles west of Pearl Harbor when she received
word of the attack. The group launched scouting planes in hopes of
catching possible stragglers. The Salt Lake City entered Pearl Harbor
toward sundown on the eighth. On board, Dad was able to get word to Mom
as one man was allowed off the ship as a messenger. Dad stayed on board
as the ship spent a tedious night refueling. They left before dawn to
hunt submarines north of the islands. Submarines were encountered on
the 10th and 11th. The first, I-70, was sunk by dive bombers from the
Enterprise. The second, sighted ahead of the group on the surface, was
engaged with gunfire by the Salt Lake City as the ships maneuvered to
avoid torpedoes. Depth charge runs were made but no kill was confirmed.
The group returned to Pearl Harbor on Dec. 15 for refueling.
Salt Lake City was with Task Force 8 from December 14th to the 23rd, as
that group covered Oahu, and supported the task force strike that was
planned to relieve beleaguered Wake Island. After Wake fell, Salt Lake
City's group moved to cover the reinforcement of Midway and then the
In February, the Enterprise task force carried out air strikes in the
eastern Marshalls at Wotje, Maloelap, and Kwajalein to reduce enemy
seaplane bases. While conducting shore bombardment during these air
strikes, Salt Lake City came under air attack and assisted in downing
two Japanese bombers. In March, 1942, she supported air strikes at
Marcus Island. In April, 1942, she escorted the carriers Hornet and
Enterprise group TF16 which launched Lt. Col. Doolittle's raids on Tokyo
and other Japanese cities, and returned to Pearl Harbor on April 15,
Orders awaited the Salt Lake City to sail as soon as possible to join
the carriers Yorktown and Lexington forces in the Coral Sea. Although
the task force moved fast, they had reached a point some 450 miles east
of Tulagi by May 8th, the day of the battle of Coral Sea. What followed
was essentially a retirement, and the Salt Lake City operated as cover
with her group. On May 16 she was ordered back to Pearl Harbor and
arrived ten days later.
The cruiser was next assigned to screen for Wasp in Group 3, Task Force
"Nan" of the air support force, which was preparing to invade the
Solomon Islands. The assault landings on Guadalcanal and Tulagi began
on 7 August.
Salt Lake City protected Wasp as she shuttled planes for Saratoga and
Enterprise, and provided CAP and scouting patrols during the landings.
Salt Lake City was with Wasp on 15 September, when that carrier was
torpedoed by Japanese submarines and sunk. She assisted in rescue
operations for survivors, and took on board others who had been picked
up by destroyer, Lardner.
The campaign in the Solomons developed into a grim struggle which was
climaxed on the night of 11 and 12 October in the Battle of Cape
Esperance. Task Force 64 was formed around cruisers Salt Lake City,
Boise, Helena, and San Francisco to thwart the "Tokyo Express," a steady
flow of Japanese vessels maintaining reinforcement and re-supply to
Guadalcanal. The force was not considered large enough to get involved
with a major Japanese covering force; they were interested primarily in
inflicting maximum damage to the transports. They arrived off Espiritu
Santo on 7 October and, for two days, steamed near Guadalcanal and
waited. Land-based search-plane reports came in that an enemy force was
steaming down the "slot;" and, that night, the Task Force moved to the
vicinity of Savo Island to intercept it.
Search planes were ordered launched from the cruisers, but in the
process of launching, Salt Lake City's plane caught fire as flares
ignited in the cockpit. The plane crashed close to the ship and the
pilot managed to get free. He later found safety on a nearby island.
The brilliant fire was seen in the darkness by the Japanese flag
officers, who assumed that it was a signal flare from the land force
which they were sent to protect. The Japanese flagship answered with
blinker light, and receiving no reply, continued to signal. The
American force formed a battle line at right angles to the Japanese
T-formation, and thus were able to enfilade the enemy ships. The
American cruisers opened fire and continued scoring hits for a full
seven minutes before the confused Japanese realized what was taking
place. They had believed that, by error their own forces were taking
them under fire. When the Japanese warships replied, their fire was too
little and too late. The action was over in half an hour. One Japanese
cruiser sank; another was reduced to rubble; a third was holed twice;
and a destroyer sank. One destroyer of the five-ship force escaped
damage. Salt Lake City sustained three major hits during the action.
Boise was severely crippled, but managed to rejoin the group under her
own power. The destroyer Duncan was left gutted off Savo. The ships
formed up and steamed to Espiritu Santo.
Salt Lake City spent the next four months at Pearl Harbor undergoing
repairs and replenishing. She arrived in Pearl Harbor in December 1942.
Dad received orders to Report to COMSERVRON 6, stationed at Pearl
COMSERVRON 6 - December, 1942 to August, 1944
Dad's primary duties were in Administration & Engineering. He was the
assistant in salvage operations of the USS WEST VIRGINIA, USS ARIZONA,
USS UTAH and the salvage and the refloating of USS OKLAHOMA. While
servicing with COMSERVRON 6, he was commissioned as an officer with the
rank of ENSIGN. This made Dad a Mustang, having come up through the
ranks as a sailor to officer. On August, 1944, he was transferred to
the PEARL HARBOR NAVAL SHIPYARD.
PEARL HARBOR NAVAL SHIPYARD - August, 1944 to November, 1946
Dad's duties at the Naval Shipyard were as Assistant Shop Superintendent
and Assistant Planning Officer. His next tour of duty was with Shipyard
of SUBIC BAY, P. I.
SUBIC BAY, P. I. November,1946 to June, 1949
U. S. Navy Yard Machine Shop
USS ISLE ROYAL (AD- )-July, 1949 to June, 1951
Destroyer Tender home ported at Long Beach, California
USS LOS ANGELES (CA-135)-July, 1951 to June, 1955
Damage Control Assistant
Heavy Cruiser home ported in Long Beach, California
Two cruises to Korea for shore bombardment
U S NAVAL RESERVE TRAINING CENTER, Alexandria, Louisiana-July, 1955 to June, 1958
USS TIDEWATER (AD-31)-July, 1958 to June, 1960
Destroyer Tender home ported at Norfolk, Virginia
Cruise to Guantanimo Bay, Cuba
David M. DeVille, CDR, USNR(retired)
If you wish to contact David about his father, write to Sandy Eskew, SLC Historian for his information.
The Denver Post
Remembered by John M. Sebastian
SLC Deck Logs, Dec. 1942
1989 SLC Reunion
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