I promised you some information on the SLC so here goes.
I went aboard in late l932. At that time we slept in hammocks. The crew
were all volunteers and the only ones married were Chiefs and lst Class
petty officers. The crew was marvelous. Tough in language and behavior
but with the principles of gentlemen. If you were a member of that ship,
they would do anything for you, including risking their lives. If you got
into a fight where you were outnumbered, all you had to do is yell out
the name of your ship and every shipmate within hearing would rush to
Shortly after reporting aboard, I went ashore to pick up a few things as
we were leaving the next day for an extended cruise. I was returning to
the ship in early afternoon and waiting for a boat at the Navy landing.
While drinking my coffee, the sailor next to me, asked me my ship. I
told him and he said he was from the SLC and didn't remember me. I told
him I had just reported. He wanted to know why I was going back to the
ship. I told him I wanted to back and straighten out my gear for the
cruise. Since Liberty was given so infrequently between long cruises, he
had trouble understanding that and assumed I had run out of money. Even
though he had never seen me before the fact that I was off his
ship was sufficient for him to whip out a 20 dollar bill and shove it to
me. I thankfully declined as I was not broke. Remember during that
depression time, the weekly paycheck was that much.
When not in port, the ship had to produce its fresh water from sea water.
The procedure was to issue a bucket of fresh water to the crew. You washed
your clothes in it, washed yourself with it, and then rinsed your clothing
and yourself off with salt water. Being new aboard ship, I heard the
bos'n blow his whistle, everyone grabbed a bucket and raced to the wash
room, I did likewise, grabbed a bucket and next thing I knew was lying
flat on the deck. The sailor who had knocked me flat, picked up the bucket
I had grabbed and in a kindly voice said, "That's personal property," and
walked off No friendly indoctrination, no scholarly explanations, just a
fast brutal response to wrong behavior, and boy, did you learn fast.
It was during the depression, officers were forced to take 30 days leave
without pay, and it took me 5 years to make 3rd class petty
officer, because there were no openings. But what was superior was the
close bonding of the ship's crew that were truly a band of brothers and
the qualities they possessed were exceptional. I have never met any finer
men. It was my honor and great pleasure to be with then the shipmates of
that great ship, the USS Salt Lake City.