slc3-kronquist anchor
Harold Eric "Gus" Kronquist

USS Salt Lake City CA25

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USS SLC...Officer...Harold Eric "Gus" Kronquist, CFC

US FLAG Gus was killed in action Oct. 11th, 1942 Second Battle of Savo Island, South Pacific

Nov. 14th, 2003

[Note from Sandy Eskew]: I received a beautifully compiled booklet & personal history honoring the memory of SLC Veteran, Harold E. "Gus" Kronquist from his niece, Elaine Orstrom. The Booklet will be added to the USS SLC CA25 Memorabilia collections to be displayed at all the reunions.

Letter from Elaine Orstrom

Harold "Gus" Kronquist was my mother's brother. I am the oldest of his surviving nieces and a nephew, and the family papers and memorabilia regarding his long Navy career have been passed down to me.

Since I was sixteen at the time of his death aboard the USS Salt Lake City during the night battle of October 11-12, 1942, I cannot give you his personal memories of his time aboard the SLC during World War II but only my memories of him as a very special uncle who would come home periodically while I was growing up with wonderful treasures from his travels all over the world and then be off again. He was the subject of many classroom "special reports" during my school days, supplemented by exhibits from around the globe such as silk Japanese kimonos, commemorative scrolls from his passage through the Panama Canal for the first time and many foreign coins.

Our "Uncle Shorty" was born in St. Charles, IL. on July 16, 1900. He was always called "Shorty" by the family--not to be confused with the commanding officer of the SLC, Capt. Ernest G. "Shorty" Small. To his Navy comrades, Harold was known as "Gus".

Harold volunteered in the US Army in 1917 at the age of 17 and served briefly stateside with the 311th cavalry. At the same time his brother, Adolph, was serving with the Army in France and Germany. I have some wonderful letters each sent home at the time and am passing them on to the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

In 1922 he joined the US Navy, and during his long career he served aboard the USS John Edwards, USS Aylwin and USS Henderson. He was due for retirement when World War II began and was serving aboard the SLC at the time of Pearl Harbor and reenlisted at Pearl Harbor on January 8, 1942.

Harold married Lillian Chandler from Kentucky about four years before his death and they were living in Hawaii at that time. There were no children, and Lillian later remarried (a Nathan Krueger, also a serviceman) and the family lost contact with her.

While manning the searchlights during the famous night battle of Cape Esperance, October 11-12, 1942, Harold was hit by a fragment from an enemy shell and died almost instantly. He was buried at sea October 12, 1942, 1400 (2 P.M.) east longitude date at latitude 12-34 south, longitude 162-04 east, along with his shipmates, ball-red-02 Deceased Lloyd E. Acree, ball-red-02 Deceased Vernard E. Bivin, ball-red-02 Deceased Vernon A. Grave, S2c and Deceased Michael A. McLeary, who were also killed in the battle.

The Purple Heart was presented to his widow. The American Defense Service Medal, World War II Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal the Good Conduct Medal awarded posthumously have been donated to the St Charles, IL. Heritage Center. Harold is listed in the World War II Registry of Remembrance at the National World War II Memorial to be dedicated in May, 2004.

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Below are a few selected items from the booklet.

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Navy Department
Bureau of Naval Personnel
Washington - Feb. 15th, 1943

The following is a statement of his Naval Service:

July 16, 1900 - Born in St. Charles, IL.
Nov. 27, 1922 - Enlisted in US NAVY as Seaman Second Class at Portland, OR.
Nov. 27, 1926 - Extended enlistment for two years from this date.
Nov. 26, 1928 - Issued an Honorable Discharge as Gunner's Mate Second Class from the USS JOHN D. EDWARDS
Jan. 10, 1929 - Reenlisted in US NAVY as Gunner's Mate Second Class at Chicago, IL.
Dec. 23, 1932 - Issued an Honorable Discharge as Fire Controlman First Class from the USS HENDERSON
Dec. 24, 1932 - Reenlisted in US NAVY as Fire Controlman First Class at Norfolk, VA.
Apr. 04, 1938 - Issued an Honorable Discharge as Chief Fire Controlman, from Receiving Station, Norfolk, VA.
Apr. 05, 1938 - Reenlisted in US NAVY as Fire Controlman First Class at Norfolk, VA.
Jan. 07, 1942 - Issued an Honorable Discharge as Chief Fire Controlman from the USS SALT LAKE CITY.
Jan. 08, 1942 - Reenlisted as Chief Fire Controlman on board the USS SALT LAKE CITY at Pearl Harbor
Oct. 11, 1942 - Killed in action as Chief Fire Controlman on board the USS SALT LAKE CITY

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RCA Radiogram
Oct. 17th, 1942
to Mrs. Lillian Chandler Kronquist
2010 9th Ave. Honolulu

The Navy Department deeply regrets to inform you that your husband Harold Eric Kronquist Chief Firecontrolman US NAVY was killed in action in the performance of his duty and in the service of his country. The Department extends to you its sincerest sympathy in your great loss. To prevent possible aid to our enemies please do not divulge the name of his ship or station. On account of existing conditions NO INFORMATION concerning recovery of remains. If further details are received you will be promptly informed.

Rear Admiral Randall Jacoms, Chief of Naval Personnel.

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In Grateful Memory of
Harold Eric Kronquist
Who Died In the Service Of His Country at
Sea, Pacific Area, USS SALT LAKE CITY, 11 October, 1942
He stands in the Unbroken Line of Patriots Who Have Dared to Die
That Freedom might live, and grow, and increase its blessings
Freedom Lives, and through it, He lives-
In a way that humbles the Undertakings of Most Men.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States

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Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, CA.
Oct. 26, 1942

My dear Mrs. Kronquist,

Before this, you will have received news of the death of your husband, Chief Fire Controlman Harold Kronquist, US NAVY. I realize that nothing I can say will alleviate your sorrow in your loss but I assure you that your husband died while performing his duty in his usual quiet and efficient way. He did not suffer.

He was controlling the searchlights, a duty which he had been performing very well, when hit by a fragment from an enemy shell. He died almost instantly. He is held in high regard and respect by the entire ship's company and his going is a distinct loss to us all. He was buried at sea on Oct. 12th, 1942. The flag which draped his body is being sent, with his personal effects, to you, under separate cover.

Very sincerely yours,
Ernest G. Small, Captain, US NAVY, Commanding, USS SALT LAKE CITY.

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Letter from Shipmates aboard the USS SALT LAKE CITY
November 1st, 1942

Dear Mrs. Kronquist,

We think we realize something of what Gus' death means to you. We wish we could tell you individually what knowing him has meant to us. Friendly, quiet, yet forecful, he commanded the respect of his men and the liking of all of us.

You must realize how hard it is for us to say "We're sorry", and we have taken the only means available to try to say it. We know that you will take this gift and understand that it is a token of our esteem for Gus.

The whole ship's company, the Mess most of all, will miss him both for his work and his company.

With Deepest Sympathy,

The Chief Petty Officer's Mess [NOTE; Each man personally signed the letter]

A. E. Smith, CWT
Charles E. McCall, CMM ball-red-02 Deceased
O. B. Kouns, CSF ball-red-02
D. R. Summers, CGM
W. V. Harvey, CWT
H. Barnhart, Mach.
C. Markl, CBM Deceased
E. P. Hughes, Sgt. Majors, USMC
W. M. Patrick, Ch. Gun ball-red-02 Deceased
D. R. McGrew, Jr., GY, Sgt., USMC
A. B. Register, EM1c Deceased
W. B. Walker, WCMM
L. G. Wilder, CWT
Andrew Jackson Bowen, Jr., CMM Deceased
V. P. Brandon, EM3c ball-red-02 Deceased
H. J. Bostic, CSF
H. J. Lake, CSM
R. B. Conally, CGM
Cash W. Shaw, CWT ball-red-02 Deceased
F. J. Peska, Ch. Bos'n
A. G. Davis, CCS
W. H. Drew, Ch. Mach.
R. G. Hugen, CMM
W. H. Weber, BM1c Deceased
G. R. Daggett, CY Deceased
R. F. Kovanda, CMM
A. F. Messner, CWT Deceased
G. W. Peck, Ch. Bos'n ball-red-02
H. H. Headrick, CWT
Ray A. Calvert, CY ball-red-02 Deceased
R. W. Harris, Jr., CRM Deceased
Ralph T. Moran, Ch. Gun ball-red-02
R. F. Ward, CWT
F. G. Sauter, ACMM
D. A. Ware, CMM
H. W. Harden, CBM ball-red-02 Deceased
I. T. Rich, Lt.(jg) ball-red-02
M. E. Metzler, RM2c ball-red-02 Deceased
C. R. Hill, CWT
Jesse R. Kay, CSK ball-red-02 Deceased
T. P. O'Donoghue, Sgt., USMC Deceased
R. C. Caplinger, CSK
S. P. Mathews, CWT ball-red-02 Deceased
R. G. Haigler, Lt.(jg)
P. Lombardi, CPhM
J. A. Woods, Ch. Mach.
Samuel F. Wells, CTC ball-red-02 Deceased
C. M. Wilson, CCM
W. A. Milliken, Ch. Bos'n

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To a Sailor's Child by Happy W. Harden, CBM ball-red-02 Deceased
"Those who died" list
Received the Purple Heart(Posthumously)
Mentioned in USS SLC Cruise Book
Memories from Roy A. Mosebrook, CBM ball-red-02 Deceased
Tidbit from Lawrence Metzler ball-red-02 Deceased
SLC Deck Logs Jun. 1942  Oct. 1942

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