USS SLC..."Enlisted Marine"...Robert "Bob" Oliver, Corp.
Robert "Bob" Oliver passed away Nov. 4, 2000
Mar. 17th, 2000
I received a very nice phone call from Marine Bob Oliver today. He served
on the USS Salt Lake City from May 1942 to Jan. 1943.
Bob is especially looking for a Buddy of his that served on the SLC.
Marine Sgt. Ike Davis. Ike had been on the SLC before the war started and was referred
to as an "Old Salt". Bob remembers that he was from Horsecave, Kentucky and
was around 25 years old when Bob boarded the SLC in 1942 at the age of 17.
Mar. 23, 2000
Your first challenge will be to read my writing, when you can do that everything else will come easy.
Let me start by telling you of my life as a Marine. It all started the day after Pearl Harbor, Dec. 8th, 1941. I was 17 years old and like many young men and women at that time felt that my country needed me, I went down to enlist in the Navy. After standing in line for over 2 hours and not making much headway, I noticed this short line, inquired what it was, which was the Marine Corp., 30 minutes later, I was one.
I went to Boot Camp at San Diego, CA. After Boot Camp I went to Sea School (didn't learn anything nautical, just how to march...this was all over in a month), went aboard a transport that was suppose to take me to Pearl Harbor to go aboard ship. I had no idea which one, ended up in Australia with 5 other Marines to go aboard the Salt Lake City. This was about the last of April, 1942. I was aboard the SLC until she got back to Pearl Harbor for repairs. I left on Jan. 1943. I had a broken shoulder and ended up in San. Diego, CA. for surgery.
I was a PFC when I was aboard the SLC. Remember Marines are ?????? on board ship because of tradition that is the way it always has been. The Sailors ran the ship. Our duties were minimal. We provided the Captain of the ship an orderly each day. When the Capt. went ashore, the Marine that was his orderly went with him. We provided guards for the brigs when needed, managed some of the anti-aircraft guns, and pretty well kept to ourselves. We had our own compartment for living quarters. We had 2 compliments of 50 plus Enlisted men and I think 3 officers. We ate with the crew and they put up with us but we were pretty invisible as far as the ship's operations on a day to day basis. When we had a burial at sea we fired the volleys and that was pretty much it. You have to understand Sea going Marines ????? (teally?) were never considered as other Marines as being part of the Corps.
After I left the SLC and went back to the States, I had 2 furloughs. I came back to San Diego and was assigned to the 4th Marine Division and went back to the Pacific with them. During the next 18 months there wasn't a day that went by that I didn't wish I was back on board ship. I'll skip the details, but on board ship I could usually count on having a dry place to sleep and something other than K rations to eat.
The tradition of Marines aboard ships go back many, many years and this all ended about 10 years after WWII. There are no more ships in the US navy with Marine Detachment aboard.
I knew very few people aboard the SLC and those I can remember were Marines. I do remember Ike Davis. He was a Sgt. and kind of took me under his wing. I never did get a chance to thank him for his kindness.
This is about it. I'm still looking for some pictures and will send them if I can find them.
Thanks to you though a lot of those who were there and those who want to re-live those very hectic years, we can. Thank you for allowing me to share my story with you.
Read Grandpa was really there?