USS SLC...Enlisted Navy...Denver O. Sauls, S1c
March 15th, 2003
Information from notes sent in by Denver O. Sauls on March 13th, 2003
Denver O. Sauls was born and raised in Walnut Ridge, AR. He hitchhiked to Jonesboro, AR. and joined the Navy on June 13th, 1937. He was sent to San Diego, CA. for 3 months of training and as a S2c he was then assigned to the USS SALT LAKE CITY.
He served on the SLC for 4 years and her home at the beginning was in San Pedro, CA. He made his first trip to Hawaii, Lahian Roads, Nov. 16, 1937, to Pearl Harbor, T.H. then back to San Pedro, CA.
The Fleet went on a summer cruise from San Pedro, CA. to Port Angeles, Washington, then to Seward, Alaska around June 22, 1938. From Seward, Alaska to Auke Bay, to Sitka, Alaska then on to Portland OR. in July of 1938. Then on to San Francisco & San Pedro, CA.
On Jan. 4, 1939 the fleet went to Colon Panama then to Gonaives, Haiti then to Guantanamo Bay Cuba and on to Trinidad, Port of Spain then to Cartagena, Colombia. This is when they had to wear "Dress White" uniforms that had blue collars.
They headed for New York City to show the Navy Fleet at the World's Fair around 1939.
They then went to Seattle, WA. in dry-dock for an overhaul with such things as engine repair and replacing their guns. They also painted the bottom of ship.
He got his first 30 day leave in July of 1939 and went back home. Later in 1939 the Fleet was ordered back to their home port of San Pedro, CA. There the Fleet was split in half. Half went to Pearl Harbor and was called the "Hawaiian Detachment".
In Sept. of 1940 the SLC, PENSACOLA & the NORTHAMPTON went to the island of Guam and made a landing. Each ship had a company of sailors with landing gear of rifles & bayonets. The rifles were not loaded and he remembers they wore their white uniforms. The island was red clay and it rained....so with the white uniforms, they looked rough when they returned to their ship.
Early in 1941 the order was given for all men and officers to report back to the ship. They were tied up at the dock at Pearl Harbor when all at once about 100 civilian men came aboard. They were carpenters, welders and pipe fitters. We got underway for "Wake Island".
They visited with these men and found out they had a contract with Government to go and stay one year and then after that year they were sent home with $4,000, and at that time, that was a lot of money compared to a Seaman 1st class's pay of $54.00 a month. When Wake Island was bombed, most of those men were killed.
Just before Pearl Harbor was bombed, Denver was sent to Brooklyn, NY. and put on the USS FARENHOLT DD491 destroyer during it's commissioning. They brought her around through the Panama Canal about April of 1942 and made the first landing of Marines on Guadalcanal.
The USS FARENHOLT was in the same task force as the USS SLC. They would fuel from the SLC many times during the war and he would get to see some of his friends from the SLC from time to time.
The USS FARENHOLT was hit in the Battle of Salvo Island and left still in the water for 2 days and reported missing. She earned 13 stars for 13 major battles. She was scraped in 1972.
Denver attended a SLC reunion in Chicago, IL. and was able to see a lot of his shipmates. He was also sent an invitation to attend the commissioning of the USS SLC Submarine in 1984. The crew of the USS SLC CA25 were the honored guest.
#2 in Picture from John M. Roberts