James L. Mickelson, GM3c
USS Salt Lake City CA25

FLAGBAR 501x15

USS SLC...Enlisted Navy...James L. Mickelson, GM3c

US FLAG James L. Mickelson passed away on Jan. 28th, 2011. Info. from Rich Noar & Jim's Niece
March 21st, 2001

Dear Sandy

The above snapshot is a picture of me taken when I was home on boot leave. It is very deceiving, as I surely don't look like that today.

I joined the US Navy on April 2, 1940. I took my boot training at Great Lakes Training Station and I was assigned to the USS Salt Lake City. After a train ride to San Francisco, I boarded the USS Maryland and went to Pearl Harbor. There I got on the SLC and was assigned to the "1ST Division". I started out as a compartment cleaner, then I went up on deck until mid 1941 when I volunteered for the flag detachment. Our job there was to take pictures of maneuvers.

We were on several different ships during that time and while I was on the USS Indianapolis, I qualified as a "helmsman". That was just before Dec. 7, 1941. I returned to the USS SLC and was met by my Division Officer, who told me my records hadn't come back yet, but if I rode with them to Guam to deliver some airplanes they had aboard, my records would be there and I would received my 30 day leave.

Well, on Dec. 7th we were 200 miles off Pearl Harbor and you can guess what happened to my 30 day leave.

When I first saw Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, my only thoughts and feelings were, "God, give me the strength and knowledge to do what is expected of me in the future".

The SLC was a good old ship and had a well trained crew which was only made possible by good leaders.

Many incidents happened the next couple of years that I thought only happened in books, but they were happening in real life for me. I always felt the SLC crew was very serious in work but in fun....everything goes.

My first crossing of the Equator was at 00000 latitude and at 165" 50' longitude W. This happened on July 21, 1941. By the Imperium Neptvni Regis, I and several others were found worthy and we were numbered as a trusty "shell-back"....Signed by Davey Jones, His Majesty's Scribe, Neptune's Rex, Rules of the Raging Main by his Servant Zacharias, Captain USN.

It's not a big deal today with traveling as it is, but for a young farm kid, it was very exciting.

I was 18 when I joined the Navy. The latter part of Dec. 1943 several men were to be transferred off the SLC because there was no room for rate advancement. I was then Gunner's Mate 3rd Class. The USS SLC was near a south sea island and the ship we were to ride back on was to leave Dec. 25th. Our Captain sent word to this Captain that he wouldn't release us until we had a good Christmas Dinner.

Well, the ship delayed departure, so we got there late in the afternoon. I spent a few days in the hospital on the west coast, had a few days leave in Minnesota, then reported back to Point Montara where I was a gunnery instructor for the balance of my enlistment, which was for six years.

I married my hometown sweetheart in 1944. We have no children, but we have been very happy together. I never talked much about my time in the navy and when my wife hears about some of the events, she is amazed. I was amazed too as when they were really happening.

I would be honored to have my picture in the "archives" of the USS Salt Lake City.

James L. Mickelson

#32 in 5th Div. Picture...1943
Signed SLC Album belonging to ball-red-02 Deceased Clay Bowling
Honoring ball-red-02 Deceased Vernard E. Bivin, S1c
SLC Deck Logs Feb. 1943  Dec. 1943
1991 SLC Reunion
Contact with Rich Noar, son of SLC Veteran Abe Noar ball-red-02 Deceased

FLAGBAR 501x15

James L. Mickelson, 2010
Displaying his medals that he earned in WWII
Holding his SLC Nimitz Replica plaque &
SLC Life Preserver Replica that was given to him
by Richard Noar, son of Abe Noar ball-red-02 Deceased
Shipmate & Friend


FLAGBAR 501x15


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