USS SLC...Officer...Clarence Luther "Hack" Hagen, Lt. (jg)
Clarence L. "Hack" Hagen passed away on Oct. 9th, 2013. Information from dau. in law Joy Hagen
Nov. 1, 1943 Roster of Officers Restricted Records:
Div. 5: Duty: JW & JDO, Port Cat. Officer
Battle Station: 5" Batt. Gr. II
Source of Information
Tom Brokaw's "The Greatest Generation"
"Hack" Hagen received word of his firstborn just after his ship, the heavy
cruiser Salt Lake City, had been shot up in a raging naval battle in the
North Pacific. It was welcome news after what he'd been through---almost
four hours of intense exchanges with a Japanese armada twice the size of the
American flotilla. In his definitive study of the naval battles during
World War II, the distinguished Harvard historian Samuel Eliot Morison
described how the Salt Lake City "received almost all of the enemy's attention"
as the Japanese tried to sink the cruiser with shells fired from twelve miles away.
They were almost successful. It took four major hits before the ship was
forced to a stop after a battle that ran for almost a hundred nautical miles.
Several crew members were killed near where Hack was a gunnery officer,
but as he says, "We just kept going." Finally, the Salt Lake City was
dead in the water. The engine room had taken a hit, killing the power
and causing some serious leaking. It appeared Hagen and the crew were
doomed, but for some reason the Japanese broke off the attack and retreated.
Morison figures that "smoke concealed....Salt Lake's plight" and that the
Japanese worried American Fighter bombers would arrive at any time.
The Salt Lake City managed to make it back to San Francisco for repairs, and
Hack went on to South Dakota for a reunion with his wife and their new
son. Before long, however, he was back on the high seas, once for three
months without seeing land. He did have a way of letting his wife know
his whereabouts, however. In his weekly letters he made reference to a
time of day which she could then convert into latitude and longitude. As
he says, "It was good for her to know and it was a comfort to me to know
she was following along."
#54 in Group Picture of the 5th Division, 1943
SLC Deck Log Officer's List
SLC Deck Log, Feb. 1st, 1943...reported aboard the SLC