slc4-mcgougan anchor
Arch McGougan, Jr.

USS Salt Lake City CA25

FLAGBAR 501x15

USS SLC...Enlisted Navy...Arch McGougan, Jr., S2c

SLC Deck Log, Feb. 12th, 1943...Boarded the SLC
Small World....story about the SLC from Dave McGougan
Arch & Family Members have attended the following SLC Reunions:   2002  2004  2006  2007  2008
Apr. 22nd, 2001

Hi Sandy,

My dad's name is Arch McGougan. He joined the Navy his sophomore year of high school when he lied about his age (16 yr.). At the completion of Basic Training the correct age was discovered and he was sent home. At the completion of his Junior year of school at age 17 yr. he enlisted legally.

He completed basic and then gunnery school with high marks (which would keep him busy later). He shipped from the west coast to Pearl Harbor in early 1943 and was assigned to the USS Salt Lake City as a member of one of her new 40mm gun crews. The SLC was having two of her four planes removed in early 43 to make room for anti-aircraft guns. When she set sail for her next patrol in the Aleutians, my Dad was on her.

During the Battle of the Komandorski Islands in March my Dad was at his duty station, the 40mm guns, when the ship was hit by the shell that killed ball-red-02 Deceased Lieut. Comdr. Winsor C. Gale and Deceased James David [See More Information]. The shell burst was close enough that my dad felt the impact and heard the cries near him. There was no aircraft up that day so he left his guns and helped carry wounded to aid. He later told me that he helped "one" ball-red-02 Deceased [Don Rholl] with a leg wound and one with a severe wound (he would not say anymore). He remembers to this day very vividly seeing Commander Gale's body and how long it lay there. Eventually, after helping with the wounded he was tasked with helping transport Ammo from the front turrets to the rear. When the ship reached Dutch Harbor and a repair ship, my dad stayed on board and watched the emergency repairs. He was amazed that the divers were welding plates on SLC under water.

When the ship returned to Mare Island for permanent repairs, many of the crewmen were transferred back to the pacific, my dad included. He was given an active assignment as a 40mm gunner on a transport back to Pearl on the Mt. Vernon, a converted cruise ship. At Pearl he was assigned to the Colorado and shelled Islands for marine landings in the pacific. Upon reaching Pearl again he was yet reassigned back to 40mm duty again on another troop transport USS Typhoon which was sunk by torpedo, somewhere in the pacific after disembarking troops. My dad spent about 18 hours in the water with a handful of men sharing a small raft. They were picked up by an American ship and dropped off at Pearl.

Return to Battle of the Komandorski Island Index

My dad was then assigned to an Admiral as his personal driver for the rest of his time. He said this Admiral always had food, gum, soda and even money for him. Through out his time in the Navy he always felt like the SLC was his real home and he could never get back to her. I remember as a kid growing up in the 50's he had to have several shards of shrapnel removed from his upper back by our family doctor. Often I questioned him about it and he would only say that it happened during "The Battle of the Aleutians".

He said he thought he was only scratched and there were brave men all around him with bad wounds. My dad is now in his mid 70's and is finding it easier to talk about his time in the Navy. He has been an absolutely wonderful father to my brother and I all these years. He is a retired Bell Telephone technician living in near DeSoto, MO. My goal is to get him to a Reunion soon, if not this one then the next one.

Please tell the Veterans to visit the Veterans Museum in Branson, MO. My Dad and I went through it, it takes about 2-3 hours to go through it and it will move you, especially the bronze statue depicting 50 men (lifesize) running ashore in formation. The artist used a face from a veteran (WW2) from each state. The statue is in a huge room whose 3 walls are covered from top to bottom with the names of the dead and missing of WW-2 in alphbetical order. I found the 2 killed during the Battle of the Komondorskis and pointed them out to my Dad. That night we went to one of the shows there and at the end they recognized the vets and my Dad and I were able to stand together and hold hands.

Thank you for your effort.

Dave McGougan, Son

Aug. 6th... Feedback
Hi Dave

I just read your recent submission to Sandy about your Dad. I was the only one on the flight deck that day, if memory serves, who was wounded in the leg. Also, I'm sure I was the one your Dad heard scream because the schrapnel was lodged in my leg and it was terribly hot. The doctor told me later there was not much bleeding because the hot schrapnel had cauterized the wound. After reading your account I'm sure it was your Dad and ball-red-02 Deceased E. C. "Buddy" Porterfield who carried me to the aid station that day in the wardroom. I probably didn't tell him thanks so will you pass on my thanks to him even though it is 58 plus years late.

ball-red-02 Deceased Don Rholl

Oct. 2nd, 2002
Comments from son Dave McGougan, about 2002 SLC Reunion in Branson, MO.

During the first hour that I was in the hospitality room I met ball-red-02 Deceased Jake Jaekel our new Pres. Without introductions he began to show me where his station was during the Komondorskis Battle with the help of that wonderful model [built by SLC Veteran Frank Bell].

He told me of hearing the shell burst that wounded Don Rholl and killed Lt. Comdr. Winsor C. Gale. He showed me exactly as he remembered what happened after that, not knowing that my dad and Don were yet to meet this day and that they had met that day he was talking about those many years ago. He told me he watched two men carry off Don and showed me the ladder one came down. He showed me the hatch Windsor Gale had just come through when he was struck and where he died. Then he told me that he and Gale were very good friends from the same hometown and often swapped fishing stories. Then he showed me where James David was hit and suddenly by being in the right place at the right time I had a complete story from a third party of the experience my dad had lived through. Shortly after this conversation ended You [Sandy Eskew-Historian] were able to introduce Don and my dad to each other. Don sprang from his seat and shook my dad's hand and then they had a long talk. They talked about that day in March of 1943 and I sat there wondering why I had left my video camera upstairs in our room? I listened to every detail as those two relived that horrific battle and I wondered what made my dad leap down that ladder and run to Don's aid as Ernie Porterfield struggled to help him.

Would I have moved as fast to help in the heat of battle? One thing that I did not know and learned from Jake was that the shell that wounded Don also knocked a shackle loose on the airplane that left a 350lb. depth charge dangling near the ship's side. Before they had realized it, one young man sensing the imminent danger they were in, jumped up, ran to the charge, wrestled it from the other shackle and tossed it overboard. Jake said, "he was a little guy, like you". I felt proud I was little. Later that day I made my dad show me his station on the model and relived those moments that intertwined his and Don's lives. I was numb when he finished because it sounded just like Jake's story, with one exception. When he and Ernie got back to help Windsor Gale, they discovered the severe nature of his wound and my dad got sick. He returned to his post but before long he was pushing a cart with two other sailors as the SLC lay dead in the water, moving projectiles from the front turret to the rear.

Then we met ball-red-02 Deceased Albert Melville. Albert had been in the turret passing projectiles out. He and my dad talked for quite awhile about that adventure. I do remember one of them saying that if they had dropped one of those projectiles, it would have been curtains.

My dad and Don were able to share many moments together and I must say that I found Don to be one heck of a nice guy. I will never forget the jokes he told myself and Chuck Kepper that last night at the banquet. Our family was honored by Don's presence to Springfield where we dropped him off at the airport. Nothing doing but he had to stop and buy us all lunch and then blessed us with a few of those jokes.

Don Rholl & Arch McGougan
SLC Reunion in Branson, MO. 2002
59 Years "Later"

I would also say that one of the most entertaining men I met that week was Al Jowdy. That last day there, I listened to some of his stories about some of the fellows on the SLC and laughed till it hurt. Again, I did not have my camera.

I must thank Pat Monteleone for making my dad feel at ease in the very beginning as he found our badges and signed us in. Yep, I sure met some good people there and talked to some real heroes.

Keep up the good work Sandy, these guys love you and need you.

Dave McGougan


McGougan ends Telephone Career

A retirement dinner honoring Arch McGougan, who retired recently from SW Bell Telephone Co., was held Apr. 7 at Gannon's Cafeteria. About 150 friends, relatives & co-workers were in attendance.

McGougan received a money tree and gifts from relatives, friends, CSA Union, Telephone Pioneers & Bell Telephone.

McGougan and his wife, Vera, live on Big River Heights Road. Their two sons and families are David & Melinda McGougan and Melinda McGougan & three grandchildren, of Florissant, and Richard & Jan McGougan, New York City.

McGougan began his 37-year telephone career in Sept. of 1947 with Ozark Central Telephone Co. of Festus, which was later purchased by SW Bell. He worked as a lineman about two years and then became an installer-repairman. Later he worked as a PBX and key equipment installer. In 1960 he became switchman at the Festus office. In 1968 he was transferred to the Herculaneum office as a switching equipment technician, the position he held at retirement.

The McGougans plan to do some traveling, camping & fishing.


FLAGBAR 501x15

Dave McGougan (left), with his dad
Arch McGougan, Father's Day, 2001
Dave made Arch a SLC Album from the
information he found on this website.

Arch & Vera McGougan


FLAGBAR 501x15


The address of this page is mcgougan.htm
Send Questions, Comments or Report Problems to Website Curator, Sandy Eskew
Return to SLC Main Index for Email Address