Charles T. Kaufman

USS Salt Lake City CA25

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USS SLC...Enlisted...Charles T. Kaufman, EM1c

US FLAG Charles T. Kaufman passed away on May 21st, 2007 - Info. from son Dave
Feb. 29th, 2004

I want to thank you for the wonderful job that you have done with the website!! It is a demonstration of dedication and caring that means a lot to the crew of the Salt Lake City and their families.

I am writing this to provide you some information passed on to me by my father Charles T. Kaufman (listed as Kaufman, C. T., F2c, USN, 1939 F1c, 1940 EM1c, WWII) on the master index. Charles Kaufman is 87 years old and resides with his daughter in Headland, AL.

Charles Kaufman reported aboard the ship while it was stationed in Pearl Harbor in 1939. He remained on the ship until late 1944 (around the time of the first landing in the Philippines) and served in all the major battles and shore bombardments of the war.

A few of the tales related to me about his duty onboard the Swayback Maru:

Whenever the ship was anchored, there was always one boiler going with the cooling blowers running. However, the engine room was still terribly hot. There was a walkway between the boilers. The innovative crew used to string a line along the walkway and used it to dry their clothes. This drying technique was also used when the ship was underway.

One of his jobs for Charles was serving as the Oil King for the ship. In this capacity he was in charge of oiling the ship (taking on fuel oil). He specified how much oil was needed and coordinated the pumping of fuel from the oil tanker. The ship, due to its relatively large size, also served as a fueling station for escorting destroyers. Getting the escorts fueled from the ship was hard as the escorts were smaller and large waves in the Aleutian islands tossed them about.

Fish was served every Friday. Unfortunately, some of the cooks were not too skilled at cooking fish and most of it got tossed overboard.

One of the funniest memories he had of his time aboard the ship was during their transit of the Panama Canal. The ship was anchored on the Atlantic side near the City of Colon. An enterprising local devised a method of getting girls aboard the ship for ... shall we say, recreational activities. The local entrepreneur would pull up beside the ship in what Charles described as a canoe (they were called bum boats). He would then slip a girl, oft times more than one, in through a porthole. Someone notified the officer of the deck about the illicit activity. The officer arrived in the room where the girls were coming in through the porthole. There was one girl who was halfway through the porthole. The sailors, who had a few seconds advanced knowledge of the OOD's arrival started trying to push her back out the porthole. Meantime the local entrepreneur was pushing on the other side trying to get her in. The girl, stuck in the middle, started screaming. It raised quite a ruckus.

During the war, the engine room crew would sometime take rags and something for a pillow and sleep there. They had to spend so much time there that it was the only way they could get some rest.

One other enterprising act of the crew was smuggling alcohol aboard the ship. Many of the crew would buy cocoanuts, drill a small hole in them and drain the milk out. They would then refill the cocoanut with gin or rum and innocently bring it back to the ship.

When the cruiser fleet was first sent to Honolulu, there was a dancing outfit that would have hula dancers always greet them at the pier. He does not recall if that practice was continued when the battleship fleet was assigned to Hawaii the following year.

At some time during the war they got an officer, a former shoe salesman who was what the sailors called a 90 day wonder, whose battle station was in the engine room. Whenever the fighting started he would say "You boys do it, I don't know a thing." He wisely left them alone.

You had to be a first class (E-6) before you could get out of a hammock and have a bunk. According to Charles, the hammocks were a good deal. They were a good deal because the bunks were not fastened to the deck. They were folding bunks that had to be stored in a bin. The berthing space that Charles was in was one deck below the main deck. At some points the space was 57 feet wide. If the weather got rough, that provided a LOT of space for the bunks to slide around in.

They had a large coffee pot in the mess facilities. This thing was BIG - perhaps three feet in diameter and was always kept full of coffee.

The watches were four hours in length.

Every Sunday evening for supper there was no cooking. The crew was treated to what they termed "horse cock and cheese". Sliced bologna and cheese with NO bread.

There were eight boilers on the ship, four in the forward and four in the aft engine room. Each of the eight boilers had 4,097 tubes. There were mud drums at the bottom of each boiler. Each tube had to be cleaned with a wire brush every overhaul. The smallest person in the black gang, a term used to describe the fireman in the engine room, climbed in to clean the tubes.

All of the old chiefs that were recalled to active duty made the possibilities of advancement in the Fireman's rating near impossible. That caused him to change from the Fireman to the Electrician's rating when he was a First class. The chief engineer was upset about this change and had Charles stand watches in the engine room for a month after his rate change was approved.

Charles was an accomplished poker player. At the end of World War II he left the service with $10,000 in poker winnings. This skill was, unfortunately, NOT passed on to his children. Most of his poker games, at least the ones he started, took place in a fan room above the aft boiler room. He got caught playing poker only one time but there were no reparations. He believes that being in a war zone at the time had a little to do with the lack of punishment.

Before the war started, every Saturday morning there was a personnel inspection. Charles ran out of dungaree shirts and there none other available on the ship. The only shirts available were white officer shirts. Charles took some of the officer's shirts and dyed them. The dye did not hold too well but he was trying.

Recollections Battle of Battle of the Komandorski Islands

He remembers one of the dough making machines that were used to make the bread for the crew. The machine, large and heavy, was on the main deck in a space by itself. During the battle of Komandorski the machine broke loose. With the rocking of the ship the machine literally beat itself on the bulkheads. It, the dough maker, was so sturdy that the machine fared much better than the bulkheads and was still operational after the battle.

Charles Kaufman was a Fireman - as the water tender - in the engineering spaces (aft engine room) during the battle. An eight inch shell (?) that exploded in the fire room. According to Charles, the explosion cut every steam line in the engine room except for the main line. The explosion killed one person, James F. David F2C, who was about ten feet away from Charles. The engine room was evacuated. One of the chiefs, recently recalled from retirement, was the first one out of the engine room when the shell exploded. Dad said he was probably the fourth one out.

One funny thing, in afterthought anyways, from the battle happened on the main deck. In a head, below one of the catapults, one crew member was answering the call of nature when a shell struck. He was struck in the buttocks and received the purple heart.

After the battle he was on the burial detail for ball-red-02 Deceased Winsor C. Gale, Lt. Comdr. & Deceased James F. David, Fireman2c. He distinctly remembers it was bitterly cold. Charles remembers this as being the only time he ever was given alcohol aboard the ship. The ship's medical staff gave them a stiff shot to warm them up when they returned to the ship.

We believe, based upon his profile that Charles Kaufman is person number eight in this photo. Charles recalls that the LCDR Gale was topside during the battle and was struck by shrapnel.

Dave Kaufman - son

SLC Deck Logs, Oct., 1943

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