In 1933 I was thinking about joining the Navy. My dad was dubious at
first then decided it was a good idea. The Navy was strict in recruitment
at that time. Only four out of ten were accepted. I applied and passed.
I even had to get a recommendation from our County Sheriff.
After boot training in San Diego, we were given written tests to find out
what we were best qualified for. The board suggested I should enter the
Engineering Dept., which I did.
I was assigned to the USS SALT LAKE CITY, a heavy cruiser and boarded her
on January 1st, 1934 at Bremerton, Washington.
I was assigned to the deck detail. Oh how I disliked that! Then to the
Engineers Force in the Boiler Rooms. Later to the Engine Rooms where all
propulsion machinery was located. Shortly thereafter, I became an
auxiliary man, checking dozens of gages and the operation of the machinery.
Here I spent the rest of my four years.
Once a small steam liner broke rapidly filling the engine room. I ran
over and closed the root valve saving us from possible scalding. I was
praised for my fast action.
I was relief engineer for the Captain's Gig. One night during a bad storm,
orders were given to send all boats and launchers ashore. I reached the
Boom rising skyward then down striking the water, rolling the safety line
and eased out, pulling the Gig close and jumped on it's deck. Starting
the engine, I eased it up for two others. One slip I would have gone over
board in the high sea.
One impressive sight I will never forget. We were cruising the Pacific,
entering a dead calm area. That night on deck, we looked upon a sea that
appeared to be like a great sheet of glass. A full moon reflecting. A
stream of light from the horizon to the ship. It was a very impressive
I [#4] joined the Race Boat Crew and after
much hard practice we won the All Navy race by nine boat lengths on a 1 1/2 mile course. We participated in 4 races, winning three, where I was lead oarsman. All this was a great
The SLC was anchored at Haiti one Sunday, so the Race Boat Crew took out
a boat for practice. We made an unauthorized landing two mile distant.
A few natives greeted us. I never saw people so destitute. They were
wearing raged cloths, most barefoot and they cooked over open fires.
The officer of the deck spotted us through his telescope and signaled
us to return. We thought "We are in for it now!" To our relief we were
I'm pleased for my Navy experience. The training, my work, the visits to
foreign countries, etc., but at times I felt like a robot, which didn't
fit my independent nature. In August of 1937, I was Honorably discharged
as Fireman First Class at Bremerton, Washington.