USS SLC...Enlisted Navy...Eddie Joe Valerio, S1c
Oct. 1, 2001
I was sworn into the United States Naval Service on Oct. 5th, 1940 in Denver, CO. My six weeks of recruit training took place in San Diego, CA.
I was then transferred to the USS Salt Lake City CA25, which was undergoing routine overhaul at the Navy yard in Mare Island, CA.
The SLC overhaul was completed in March of 1941. During the months of April & May of 19841, the SLC conducted trial runs and gunnery exercises. After all the exercises were completed, we left Mare Island, CA. and set sail for Long Beach, CA. where upon we remained for a short period to take on ammunition, stores and top off on fuel.
We left Long Beach, CA. in June and set sail for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Pearl became the home port of the SLC. We conducted routine exercises in and out of Pearl Harbor throughout June then in the company of the USS Northampton, we set sail for Brisbane, Australia where we remained for a week.
We left Brisbane and set sail for Port Moresby, New Guinea. We stayed one day and then headed back to Pearl Harbor. We operated in and out of Pearl until Nov. 1941. Along with the USS Northampton and a division of Destroyers, we escorted the USS Enterprise to Wake Island to offload aircraft then head back to Pearl Harbor.
We were underway to Pearl and due in at 1100 hours on Dec. 7th, 1941. The Japanese had just bombed Pearl Harbor prior to our arrival, so our task group was ordered to remain at sea and try to locate the Japanese Fleet. All the events were in the Japanese's favor and we were unsuccessful in locating the Fleet.
On Dec. 8th, our Task Group was ordered to enter port and take on provisions and fuel so that we could continue scouting for the Japanese. Upon entering Pearl we viewed all the debris and oil on the surface in the channel and the whole area was dark with smoke from all the ships that were on fire. As the SLC was approaching Hospital Point I saw that the USS Nevada had beached herself to keep the channel clear so other ships could enter and depart.
To me, it was the most horrible sight that I have ever witnessed and just momentarily I was in deep shock. The SLC went alongside an oil tanker to take on fuel as we were very low from our mission to Wake Island and back.
While we were taking on fuel, the USS Utah which was capsized on our port quarter, rescue workers were working as fast as they could to cut a hole on the keel to rescue personnel that were trapped. Yard workers finally cut through the keel and I actually saw six sailors come out of that hole. I was very excited to see these men safe and sound.
From Dec. 7, 1941 until the end of hostilities in Sept. of 1945, I served in the Pacific Theater.
The Naval engagements that I participated in are to numerous to list, however the Battle of Cape Esperance, which took place on Oct. 11th & 12th, 1942, and the March 26th, 1943 Battle of the Komandorski Islands are worthy of mention.
The Battle of the Komandorski Islands stand out quite vividly in my mind because it had taken 3 hours and 42 minutes.....the longest sea engagement in the entire history of the modern Navy.
I retired from the US Navy after 20 years of service and my proudest tour of duty was served on the USS SLC. The reason being was that the earliest part of the war, no one disputed the SLC's claim to be the original "One-Ship-Fleet".... and proud am I? Very Proud.
With Fondest Memories
Eddie J. Valerio
Memorandums from 1941-1942
SLC Deck Log Oct. 1943
Attended the following SLC Reunions:
Other ships served on & services during Eddie's time in the Navy
USS Yarnall, DD-541 from Dec. 1943 to Sept. 1945
USS West Virginia BB48
from Sept. 1945 to June 1946
USS Greyhound from June 1946 to Nov. 1947
USS Passig AW-3 from Nov. 1947 to June 1948
USS Frontier AD-25 from June 1948 to Dec. 1948
USS Dixie AD14 from Jan. 1949 to Dec. 1950
USS Laffey DD724 from Feb. 51 to Sept. 1952
USS Gilligan DE-508 from Jan. 1954 to Feb. 1957
Navy Ship's Store Office, Brooklyn, NY from Mar. 1957 to May 1957
USS Fort Mandan LSD-21 from May 1957 to Dec. 1957
USS Uhlmann DD-687 from Feb. 1958 to June 1960
USS State Island AGB-5 from June 1960 to Aug. 1961
Received the Special Secretary of the Navy Certificate commemorating his participation in TASK FORCE 16 on April 18th, 1942.... The Doolittle Raid on Japan
He officially retired from the US Navy on February 1st, 1972.