USS SLC...Enlisted Navy...Stephen L. Starcevich-Starwyck, Y1c
May 24th, 2001
The most recent SLC Newsletter contained many complimentary notes regarding your involvement in historical data as it concerns the Salt Lake City. It is always good to recognize someone as dedicated as you to become involved in a project of this nature.
In response to the newsletter, I am sending a summary of my experiences aboard the SLC from late 1936 to early 1942. A note from Ted Swenson also encouraged this.
Thanks for your dedicated effort.
Stephen L. Starwyck, Captain USN (retired)
This is to present to you a short story of my experiences as a Salt Lake City shipmate during the years I had the pleasure of serving. Many years have passed since then so remembering specifics is difficult.
My surname at that time was Starcevich which was changed to Starwyck in the late 40's.
I enlisted in August 1936 in Peoria, Illinois at the age of 17. Then four months of recruit training at NTC Great Lakes, IL. Upon completion I was a one-man draft to the SLC which at that time was home-ported in San Pedro, CA. (later Long Beach).
After deck force, I became a yeoman striker in the Executive Officer's office. My qualifications included 2 years of shorthand and typing in high school; therefore, becoming a yeoman offered an ideal opportunity. It was also beneficial in that, at that time, advancing to Y1c and CY required shorthand or steno-typing qualifications.
The Captains of the SLC during my years was
Capt. Archer M. R. Allen and
Capt. Ellis M. Zacharias.
Capt. Zacharias later became an Admiral and composed a book called "Secret Mission". He also had a radio program by the same title. The Executive Officers were Willard Kitts, III, Comdr. & J. B. Noble, Comdr.
Earlier experiences included cruises to Alaska, West Coast ports, going through the Panama Canal into the Caribbean, including a stop in Cartegena, Columbia. Also a trip to the Hawaiian Islands, which at that time was a real treat.
In May 1938, the SLC home port was changed from Long Beach to Pearl Harbor. Recreational activity in that area at that time was limited. There was no TV, and radio reception was for the most part limited to Hawaiian radio stations. Liberty was plentiful, however, money was not. For example: S1c at $54. a month; PO3c was $50.; PO2 was $72. and PO1 was $84.
I had many friends. To name a few,
Ray Calvert, CY
Leighton Couture, S1c
Sam Baris, S1c
Tom E. Craig, Y2c
G. R. Daggett, CY
My brother, Vincent "Vance" G. Starcevich-Starwyck, Y1c came aboard in 1940, so we were together for a while.
I left the SLC shortly after the raid on Marshall-Gilbert Islands in Feb. of 1942 as a Y1c. This raid was the first major offensive action against the Japanese. I transferred to the USS ENTERPRISE where I was later advanced to CY, then, later commissioned as Ensign and after many years, retired as a Captain.
I will always remember my service aboard the SLC which accepted me as a high school graduate from the mid-west, and gave me the education and foundation upon which many rewarding years were to be experienced and enjoyed.
After my retirement, we had a grandson enter the Naval Academy (Class of 1994), graduated, then completed flight training in Pensacola and is now a Marine Corps Captain.
Upon retirement, we moved to St. Petersburg, FL. where I was employed for many years with the City of St. Petersburg in Budget and Management. I recently retired from the City.
I have been actively involved with retired officer functions and try to keep abreast of Navy activity.
Thank you for receiving my comments.
I enjoy the newsletters and I am grateful.
Stephen L. Starwyck
SLC Deck Logs Feb. 1942