USS SLC...USN...Bruce A. Dobbs, MM2c.
Bruce A. Dobbs passed away on Oct. 13th, 2015. Information from his son, Gerald Dobbs
Aug. 1st, 2015
War experience of SLC Veteran Bruce A. Dobbs sent by his son Gerald Dobbs
Nov. 15th, 1999
I found your website about two weeks ago and was thrilled! My father,
Bruce Albert Dobbs, served aboard the Salt Lake City from 1943 through
1945. He was a Machinist Mate Second Class. I have never tired of hearing
his stories about the tuna he and others caught for a Christmas dinner one
year or about he and fellow crewman from Mississippi having to crawl inside
the boilers to "shake the pipes".
I copied some of the stories and photos and sent them to him along with a
note of thanks to him for his part in the Navy. I told my dad about your
father and he knew him quite well. He knew him as
Gerald S. Dobbs (Jerry)
Dec. 29th, 1999
The above photograph of my dad, Bruce Albert Dobbs,
Machinist Mate Second Class, was taken in 1943 after the Gilbert
Islands Operation. He is 18 years old.
Bruce is the youngest of 10 children. He was one of three brothers who
served in World War II. His brother, Dale, served in the 15th Army Air
Force in 1944 and his other brother, Russell "Rut", served in the 298th
General Hospital Group as a sergeant. Both served in the European Theater.
His nephew, Donald Dean Dobbs, is a year older & they grew up to
be best friends. Donald Dean served in the Navy aboard the U.S.S.
Enterprise. Bruce has two brother-in-laws that served in the armed forces
- Ralph Doherty in the Navy and Andy Matteson in the Army. His mother
was able to hang 6 stars in her window. All the boys came home after the
Here is a copy of the letter written by Bruce's mother to his
"We got a letter from Bruce Albert at last. He is on the USS Salt Lake
City. I never heard of that ship before. He is a Fireman 3rd Class. Poor
little kid. I know it is hard for him to stay on that old water and Donald
Dean went back to his ship again. I got a letter from Uncle Dale. He is
flying now and I don't know what Uncle Russell is doing. Have your momma
and daddy write to the boys."
Bruce has written a short narrative about the natives in the South Pacific
that deals with the natives on Funafuti. He also has shared stories
about the tuna he and several others caught while aboard the ship around
Christmas time. They saw quite a few tuna in the water and ran
down to the machine shop to get some hooks and they used half loaves of
bread as bait. They caught several tuna and had them for Christmas dinner.
Son, Gerald S. Dobbs (Jerry)
SLC Deck Logs, Oct., 1943
#35 in group picture of the 10th Division, 1943
Jan. 17th, 2000
Dad had a very good friend aboard ship that he knew as "Strick" Strickland.
He said he was a skinny kid from Decatur, Mississippi. They worked
together in the engine room. He was just telling me tonight that he
remembers spending many nights in the mess hall studying for the test and
helping Strick with his studying. Together, they advanced in rank to
Machinist Mate 2nd Class.
After looking on the internet, I found "Strick" listed in Decatur,
L. V. Strickland, MM2c. I called
and spoke to his wife and found out that he passed away on April 11th, 1978.
There was one remembrance that Dad shared with me and that was that
"Strick" was quite a poker player. Sometimes he would be playing poker and
when his watch on deck came up, he would swap his watch on deck with others
until he could finish out the game.
Gerald S. Dobbs, CGM
Update from Jerry Dobbs, Mar. 23rd., 2000
There is one picture of dad in the blue cruise book. He is the fellow in fireroom #3 in the foreground on the far right. When I was a small boy, Dad used to show me that picture of himself as his claim to fame. We wished that he would have at least turned around so the photographer could have gotten his face.
Just an interesting side note. He told me that a lot of the boys he went
to boot camp with went aboard either submarines or the USS Indianapolis.
I believe he said boot camp only lasted 3 weeks for him in 1943. It was
definitely a short time period at the height of the war. Another
interesting side note was that he had received his draft notice to report
to San Diego just before he finished signing his final papers to join the
Army Air Force in Texas. The navy needed him more that the army at that
May 24th, 2000
About two weeks ago or so, I spoke with Dad and he had asked if I would
send him another copy of your dad's photograph. He shared with me that
he initially went aboard the USS Salt Lake City, he was assigned to the
10th Division and one of his duties was to help man a 20mm gunmount.
Dad commented that if a Japanese plane had gotten close enough to the
20mm for the gun to be effective, he and others would probably wouldn't
be here today.
Dad shared how
Chief G. Hardey came topside looking for some people who knew
how to use a pair of pliers and a screwdriver. Dad said that he knew how
to use those tools and he received new orders to join the group in the
firerooms down below. During his tour of duty in the firerooms, he and
the others in his new group had their own showers with lights. Every
once in awhile some others outside the fireroom would want to use their
showers because the showers had lights and the men would seldom share
their showers with "outsiders". Dad said Tommy Thompson would come to
him asking to use the shower and Dad worked it out so he could, but Tommy
was one of the few select to use the shower.
Thought you may like that tidbit.
Gerald S. Dobbs
Nov. 12th, 2000
Additional Memories contributed by son Jerry Dobbs
John C. Petraitis' photo on the
website. Dad spoke very highly of him. Prior to his service in the navy,
Dad had gone to Texas to enlist
in the Army Air Corps, but his draft notice came and he had to report to
San Diego to enlist in the navy. Dad was sorely disappointed. However,
when he came aboard the U.S.S. Salt Lake City and became part of the group
that served in the fire room, John Petraitis took him under his wing and
became his mentor. He encouraged Dad to accept the fact he was in the navy
and to make the best of it. Also, he encouraged Dad to study and take the
necessary tests needed to be promoted at higher ranks. Dad said John
Petraitis was a large man with a good heart and he appreciated the fact
that there were good men like John Petraitis, Chief G. Hardey, and
Larn Strickland aboard ship.
Gerald S. Dobbs
Additional Memories: Sept. 6th, 2002
Dad called me tonight and gave me some more information concerning his service aboard the U.S.S. Salt Lake City. He said when he was in the 10th Division, he was a part of the deck force. Most of those who were titled Seaman were in the deck force. When he was asked to come down below, he started out in the Aft Fire Room. In the Aft Fire Room, there are 4 boilers and two throttles. While he was there, he studied along with Larn "Strick" Strickland and rose up in rank from Seaman 3rd Class until he became a Fireman 2nd Class. He studied some more along with Strick and they were transferred to the Foreward Engine Room where there were 4 boilers and 2 throttles. He eventually was promoted from Machinist Mate 3rd Class to Machinist Mate 2nd Class and Dad became the #1 throttleman on the Foreward Engine Room.
The Water Tenders were above the throttle men and they were in charge of making sure there was water aboard ship for the engines, showers, and for consumption. Dad stated that it was his job to monitor the throttle which is a large wheel that governed the temperature. He said that at one time, he had received orders to push the throttle forward as far as she would go which was about 295 degrees F. He said the Firemen were really sweating bullets and they all felt the pressure, because it was possible that the boilers could go after a prolonged period of time at 295 degrees. They were trying to get up enough speed to outrace some of the Japanese fleet which were known to go a bit faster than the SLC.
He shared with me that more than likely your father served along with the deck force, because only those with the rankings of Water Tenders, Fireman, and Machinist Mates (as well as non-coms and officers) were allowed in the engine areas.
from Gerald S. Dobbs for his dad, Bruce A. Dobbs
Nov. 5th, 2002
Dad relayed another story concerning
Lowell D. Hankins, GM1c. They were both together in the 10th Division initially. Lowell had saved Dad's life on one occasion. When Dad was on topside, someone from the kitchen had slipped up behind him and threw a knotted rope around him and choked him until he passed out. Dad fell unconscious face first into a puddle of water on the deck. Lowell saw Dad on deck and picked up Dad's head from the water and stayed with him until he regained consciousness. Dad speaks very highly of Lowell as a good size man and for his assistance.
Fortunately aboard ship, there were quite a few men of strong character.
from Gerald S. Dobbs for his dad, Bruce A. Dobbs
Attended the following SLC Reunions: