USS SLC...Enlisted Navy...Gordon E. Hill, FC1c
Gordon E. Hill passed away on Thur. June 21st, 2007 - Information from widow, Shirley Hill
Oct. 14th, 2000
I was born in a small town about 16 miles west of Rochester, NY. At the
age of 10, I lost my mother and I went to live with my grandparents who
gave me a wonderful home. I attended school and graduated from high school
at Churchville, NY, 1939 I was hired by Kodak.
About 18 months after being hired, realizing by reasoning we would sooner
or later be involved in a war that existed in Europe with Germany, I
applied to join the U. S. Navy. In the year of 1940, President Roosevelt
saw fit to declare an extra Thanksgiving so the people in service would be
sure to celebrate a Thanksgiving dinner. My entry into the Navy was
scheduled to be on November 27, 1940 and my grandmother scheduled a
Thanksgiving Dinner at home before I was to leave for Buffalo, NY. I
arrived in Buffalo on schedule and we were sworn in to the Navy on Nov.
27, 1940 after we had our second Thanksgiving dinner that year. Soon after
we were sworn in, the group was loaded aboard the train for boot camp at
After boot camp training, we were sent to different schools and stations.
I was lucky to receive orders to Ordinance School in San Diego where
graduates were qualified for Fire Controlman, Gunners Mate, Torpedoman, or
Lt. Lyle D. Ramsey persuaded me to
strike for a Firecontrol rating
when I arrived aboard ship in Pear Harbor about June 22, 1941. The ship
held gunnery exercises in the Hawaiian Islands and many training exercises.
Early in July of 1941, we left Pearl Harbor for places unknown with
another cruiser, I believe it was the Northampton. A day or two out, a
Dutch merchant ship joined us and we headed southwest. On July 21st we
crossed the equator and became Shell Backs. After a while the Dutch
merchant ship proceeded onward to, we believed to a Dutch Island to
deliver some airplanes it had aboard. We proceeded south heading toward
Brisbane, Australia on a good will tour for a few days. We marched and
were fed big banquets by the Australians. We returned to Pearl and then
to San Diego where I asked for leave to go home to visit my ill
Those of you aboard ship at that time may remember about the Japanese
changing their War Cabinet (I think in October), while I was on my way
home to see my grandparents. My grandfather had experienced some strokes
after I arrived in San Diego to go to school, but would not let anyone
tell me until I had finished school. Having agreed to fly back to the
ship if it were necessary, I was on my way back to San Diego after about
36 hours. War was soon to start. Those of you aboard ship at that time
know what transpired in the following years. I was one of the lucky ones
aboard to avoid getting hurt.
In June of 1944, I was very fortunate to have chance to go to advanced
Fire Control School in Washington, DC. The Navy gave me a chance to
experience some civilian life and gave me a months duty operating the
movie projector in a gunnery training school on base. After a month of
that light duty, I started my classes in F. C. school. Having completed
school in Dec. of 1944, I was assigned to a destroyer USS Hawkins DD873
for commissioning of Feb. 24, 1945 in Orange, TX. After shake down, we
went to Norfolk, VA. to be converted to a Radar Picket ship with the
expectation we would be going to Okinawa for duty. After having an
enjoyable trip through the Canal on our way to Pearl, we had some gunnery
exercises and just before the squadron was to leave Pearl, we had a fire
in a hold off Pearl Harbor. We had to be repaired, replace lost parts and
food and we were on our way again, expecting a pause to practice bombarding
Wake Island on the way. On that scheduled day the Japanese saw fit to
surrender, much to our pleasure.
We proceeded to Saipan where we picked up fleet mail, surrendering
supplies, and then delivering them to the USS Missouri and the mail to
the fleet. After delivering the supplies to the Missouri we anchored near
the Missouri for the night. After the surrender and the fleet was to
enter Tokyo Harbor, we led the fleet into the Harbor towing parvenus.
This put me near the front or at the front at both the start and end of
the Pacific part of the war.
The FC chief at the commissioning of the ship was due for discharge as
soon after the end of the war which made an opening for me which I
gratefully received in the month of Feb. In April, we received orders to
return to the states with a stop at Pearl Harbor on the way to San Diego.
On our arrival at San Diego I received delayed orders to Boston, Mass. for
the commissioning of the Charles H. Roan DD853, arriving there in May of
The Charles H. Roan was commissioned Sept. 12, 1946 and I was finishing
up my hitch when the ship was ready for its shakedown. They released me
for discharge which only extended my enlistment for about a one month.
I was inclined to ship over, but already had one child and another on the
way. I felt the children deserved the presence of a father. Having
worked for Eastman Kodak prior to enlisting in the Navy, I went back and
was given my old job back in the electric shop. They soon discovered I
was familiar with some electronic recorders the instrument group needed
some rush help on. They soon offered me a transfer into that group. My
work was permanent until the last 10 years when I was transferred to an
Electronic experimental group in the Engineering Dep. I decided it would
be convenient to retire to the type of weather I had experienced in the
Navy and with my accumulated years at Kodak and my six years in the Navy,
for a total of 37 years. I took an early retirement and moved to Dunedin,
FL, then moved two times more into the city of Clearwater.
This brings my life to the current time and generalizes my experiences in
the Navy. I feel my life has been rewarding and complete. Meeting so
many people who became good friends was the most rewarding. Hopefully
the picture of me will help someone to remember me in the FC group on the
main battery aft and mainly at the main battery switchboard. Three years
on the SLC was very rewarding to me.
Gordon E. Hill
WWII Veteran of the Destroyer USS Hawkins DD873
WWII Veteran of the USS Charles H. Roan DD853
Gordon E. Hill received the Letter of
Found in Sept. 5th, 1943 "Salt Shaker"
In recognition of his bravery and fidelity to duty under fire, a letter of recommendation from Vice Admiral Kincaid was presented to Gordon Hill, FC2c.
SLC Deck Logs
1997 SLC Reunion