USS SLC...Enlisted Navy...Thomas R. Ferguson, EM3c
May 29th, 2004
Information from letter written by Thomas R. Ferguson
Thomas enlisted as an AS on July 10th, 1937 in Denver, CO. for four years. He was married to Kay & they didn't have any children. He went to Boot Camp in San Diego, CA. and Farragut, ID. Two Boots Camp story to come later.
He boarded the USS SLC in Nov. of 1937 at San Pedro, CA. On July 16th, 1941, while on the SLC,he reenlisted. He was transferred from the SLC to Midway Island on Oct. 15th, 1941 while the ship was home ported at Pearl Harbor.
While on the USS SLC CA25, he served in the 1st Div. & "E" Div. under the command of Captains Richard B. Coffman, Archer M. R. Allen & Ellis M. Zacharias.
Some of the SLC shipmates he remembers are: Joe T. Brittain, EM1c, Al Kalish, EMc2,
Guy Bates, EM1c & the Chief Warrant Elect. Officer, Unknown Love.
He left the SLC one month before Pearl Harbor was bombed, so he was not in any battles.
The most important happening while he was on board the SLC in 1937 was when they searched the ocean for Amelia Earhart.
Thomas was separated from the Navy on Dec. 5th, 1945.
Now the story about the "Two Boot Camps".
His Naval career is odd for sure & probably unique. While at Midway, he was in the damage control party when under siege during the Battle of Midway. A bomb demolished the shed which housed the officer's booze. They picked up 4 cases of beer out of the street and wound up getting a Summary Court Martial. They had it in for me because I wired the dynamite that blew up the aviation gas tank farm, so I was recommended for a bad conduct discharge, which I got.
I appealed to the Bureau of Naval Personnel and got reinstated. The letter from the Bureau said to report to the nearest induction center, be vestured to your rank & sent to duty. This was in Los Angles, CA. & they sent him to Boot Camp in Farragut, ID. where he did a full recruit training & came out as a AS & was sent back out into the South Pacific to lousy little islands like the Solomons across from Guadalcanal, reclaiming damaged landing craft.
Other obscure places like Espiritos Santo’s in Brazil. He wound up in the war in a ship repair unit on a small island off the mainland of New Caledonia called Ile des pins. By the end of the war he made it back to the rating of EM2c.
His buddy, Joe Britton went to new construction on the East Coast putting new ships in commission. He made 3 full gold stripes.
Thomas worked as a journeyman electrician out of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 6, San Francisco, CA. for 38 years. He has been retired about 20 years. Life has been good to him in many ways. He has survived a lot.
Attended the following SLC Reunions: