slc2-fletcher usmc
Daniel Lee Fletcher
US Marine Corp

USS Salt Lake City CA25
Nov. 1943-Nov. 1944

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USS SLC..."Enlisted Marine"...Daniel Lee Fletcher, Corp., USMC

US FLAG Dan passed away on March 26th, 2006

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Hi Sandy,

I enjoyed reading of the distinguished life of the Salt Lake City. My father, Daniel Lee Fletcher, was a young Marine aboard during the tense encounter in the Aleutians. He is still alive and kicking in Bryan,TX.

Hi Sandy,
Thanks for your kind response. My father, Daniel Lee Fletcher was on board the Salt Lake City as part of the task force to counter the Japanese (I think he was in the 6th Marines). My recollection from discussing the engagement from his perspective is the fearful knowledge of being helpless under bombardment. He also recalls that no life jackets were issued as they were told they would only have 12 minutes to live if they hit the water.

Very best to you
Robert Fletcher

Update...March 5th, 2001
Dear Sandy
I enjoyed our talk on the phone the other day. Enclosed is the photo of the Marine Detachment aboard the USS SLC the first part of 1943. I remember some of the names, but not all.

Thank you for the job you're doing!

With Best Regards
Daniel L. Fletcher
SLC Deck Logs Nov. 1942  Dec. 1942
Aug. 15th, 2005
“I left San Diego on a transport ship, the Mount Vernon, which was a converted ocean liner and went to the USMC barracks in Oahu. There, I was attached to approximately four companies in machine gun school for about 1 ˝ months. While there, a request was made for volunteers for duty on a heavy cruiser which turned out to be the Salt Lake City, as the ship had just come from Guadalcanal and had experienced some casualties. I thought it would be a big adventure to go on a naval ship, as I did not know any better.

Once aboard the ship which was undergoing repairs, we went on a shakedown run. I learned how to operate a “directory” for a 40mm gun. Essentially, I sat in a small compartment and operated the gun by use of hydraulics, while a lieutenant occupied the same space and acted as a spotter. The actual gun was below and was fed by a crew there.

Well, we sailed for the Aleutians, as the Japs were occupying Attu, Kiska and some other islands. The water was real rough, and sitting up in the director it felt like the ship was going to go all the way over sometimes. However, on the day of the battle, the sea turned out to be smooth as glass. Radar made contact with several ships that we thought were merchant ships and we were told that the ship along with the light cruiser and the four destroyers was going to engage them. Well, it turned out that the Japs had trapped our ass but good. We looked out at the horizon and saw a line of Jap naval ships, not merchant ships. Our officers knew right away we were in bad shape as soon as we saw them. The Japs had twice the fleet that we had. We started veering off and the Japs chased us and started firing at us with 8 inch guns. Shells would hit on one side, and the captain would make a turn and the next volley would hit right where we had been. It was amazing how many times that happened. Then the shells would hit on both sides. Then, when they would hit us, the ship would shake just like a dog shaking off water. This lasted almost four hours. During that time, we set two of their ships on fire.

Well, when they finally hit us enough to knock out our engines, they ordered the tin cans to make smoke screens. Then they ordered them to make torpedo runs at the Japs and made them turn. The Japs got bluffed. They had us but didn’t know it.”

A couple of other comments: “The Jap spotter plane went down. He wasn’t shot down that I could see and he was on my side of the ship (port).”

“A lieutenant commander was killed below me and I think three or four others were killed.”

After the Aleutian campaign, D.L. Fletcher returned to the 6th Marines and participated in the invasions of Tarawa and Saipan, among other actions. He was injured on Saipan and returned to duty in Australia and stateside. His enlistment as a regular Marine was from 7/9/42 to 7/9/46. He was born in Ft. Worth, TX. on 2/24/24 and grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in Houston. After the war, he was a Houston firefighter for over 31 years, before moving to Bryan, TX. and operating a successful air conditioning and heating business. He has been retired for about the last twenty years.

These comments were from May of 2005 and I am certain readers will be able to identify any factual errors in his recollections. From what I have read, I think his descriptions are largely accurate. Sandy, thanks again for all of the kindness and support you have shown to the veterans of the SLC. From what I can see, you have done a very, very fine job on behalf of these men and their families.

May God bless you.
Bob Fletcher
Austin, TX.

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