USS SLC...Enlisted Navy...James L. Mickelson, GM3c
James L. Mickelson passed away on Jan. 28th, 2011. Info. from Rich Noar & Jim's Niece
March 21st, 2001
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
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
James L. Mickelson
#32 in 5th Div. Picture...1943
Signed SLC Album belonging to
Vernard E. Bivin, S1c
SLC Deck Logs
1991 SLC Reunion
Contact with Rich Noar, son of SLC Veteran Abe Noar