USS SLC..Enlisted Navy...Richard "Pappy" Holmes, GM2c
Richard Holmes passed away on Nov. 7th, 2005 - Information from William Leary
July 18th, 2003
After Boot Camp at Great Lakes, I reported aboard the Salt Lake City in Portland, OR. in June
of 1938. I was assigned to the 3rd Division and found myself "holy stoning" the teakwood
decks. Also scrubbing paint work and shining brass work. At one point, I worked in t he
ship's laundry, where I could earn extra money.
The turret captain in turret number 3 was transferred to another ship and the gunnery officer
Sam Wells from turret #1, but Same would only take the job if he could select his own
crew. I had been a striker in #3 under J. J. Phillips and Sam was after me to get out of the
laundry and work for him in number 3. I told him I earned a little extra money in the laundry
that I didn't want to lose. He told me that the GM3c exam was next week, "pass that and your
earning will exceed what you earn in the laundry", he said. I became a GM3c and went to work
for Sam. In a very short time IU took the exam for GM2c and passed. In December I was
promoted to GM1c so I had earned 3 promotions in less than a year.
None of us will ever forget the longest surface battle in naval history, The Battle of the Komandorski. It puzzles me as to why this event never seemed to receive any publicity or even a mention.
In September 1943, I was transferred to the Naval Gun Factory in Washington, D.C. for an 8-week course in hydraulics. At some point in the course I was asked if I was interested in joining up with a group just being formed called Mobile Turret Repair Unit. It sounded a lot better than returning to sea, where they were still shooting at us. The unit consisted of 10 enlisted men, a chief warrant officer and a Navy Lieutenant.
As part of our training, we made the rounds of all the factories which manufactured items for the navy, spending two weeks at each factory. We went to cities such as Long Island, Detroit, Syracuse, Minneapolis and York, PA. and a couple of others I can't remember.
In 1946 our unit went to Pearl Harbor where I spent the next three years. In all it was 6 years before I went back to sea.
My last year in the navy I spent aboard an aircraft carrier. From there I retired as Chief Petty Officer.
All us old guys appreciate the work you have done
on our behalf!
Richard O. "Pappy" Holmes
#1 in 3rd Division, 1944
Shipmates in Panawa, 1939
Robert M. Storey
Memorandums from 1941-1942
SLC Deck Logs Feb. 1943