U.S.S. SLC...USN...Melvin Mowbray
Melvin Mowbray passed away on Dec. 14th, 2016, just shy of his 103rd birthday.
Information from son, John Mowbray.
I thought I would tell you a little about my dad and his service on the SLC in a format that could be added to your site.
Melvin Mowbray joined the Navy on May of 1931 at the age of 17. Three months after completing boot camp in Norfolk, VA, he boarded the SLC at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and was assigned to the 3rd division where he eventually became Gun Captain, Right Gun of the number three turret. The ship then cruised to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to join up with the squadron’s flagship, the U.S.S. Chicago, and the U.S.S. Louisville. All three ships were heavy cruisers.
From Guantanamo, the squadron sailed through the Panama Canal on its way to Long Beach, CA which became the new home port for the SLC. Melvin was aboard ship when the Long Beach earthquake struck in March of 1933.
Some of the ports of call during his five years aboard the SLC included San Francisco, Honolulu, Valparaiso, Chile, Victoria, B.C., Seattle and Tacoma. (The cruise to Valparaiso was dad’s first trip across the Equator so he participated in the Crossing the Line initiation ceremony which he remembers fondly).
The SLC won numerous awards during Melvin’s service on the ship ranging from gunnery accomplishments to excellence in athletics. He is proud to have been on the racing crew from 1932 to 1933, a time when according to www.ussslcca25.com, “…the Salt Lake City had a particularly outstanding record”.
Melvin has fond memories of his time on the SLC and made many life-long friendships. He would go on to serve 30 years in the Navy and attain the rank of Chief Petty Officer. After his service on the SLC he eventually went into aviation and spent World War II in the Atlantic Theater.
He is most proud of his time spent in the service of his country and his time on the SLC was formative to his future success as a sailor, citizen, husband and father. As of December 22, 2015, he is now 102 years old and likely the last surviving sailor from the SLC’s crews of the 1930s. He continues to cherish his fellow brothers in arms and their memories.
Thanks again for all you have done Sandra. I am including a thumb drive of the pictures dad took while on the SLC as well as a copy of this letter so you can copy and paste when you add dad’s bio. I will make sure dad gets it and I know he will wear it with pride.
If you have any questions or would like to talk to dad, please contact me.