Saturday, September 2, 2017

World War II Letters - 20 November 1942 - Written by Stan Cooper

A week before Stan writes home, from 12-15 November, the USS San Diego was involved in another major battle with Guadalcanal; this time giving protection to the repaired USS Enterprise on its second return. The Japanese had taken over the British Solomon Islands earlier in the spring of 1942. The United States wanted to protect their Australian and New Zealand allies by regaining these resources. 1

Stan receives several letters at the same time which were written months before. He hears news from home of many engagements which makes him think of his future bride.

He immediately begins his studies for Fireman First Class after recently passing his Fireman Second Class exams. 

What did the Fireman classes involve for him aboard an Atlanta-class light cruiser? This ship was armed with 16 anti-aircraft guns and 16 Bofers guns. 2  He was part of the Engine Room Force as a Fire Controlman (FC). When he first boarded the USS San Diego earlier that year, his rank was FC 3/c - Fire Controlman 3rd class. After attempting several times, with study and testing, Stan went up in rank to FC 2/c - Fire Controlman 2nd class. 

Fire Controlman's Creed best describes his job description.
I am a fire controlman, a petty officer of the United States Navy, my work is the operation and maintenance of the weapons aboard the fighting ships of the Navy, I am required to know, operate, and maintain intricate scientific precision instruments.
To do this, I must have a thorough knowledge of the work of an electronics technician, machinist's mate, gunner's mate, machinery repairman, operations specialist, and engineman.
My aim in life is to know my job; to know everything that pertains to practical gunnery and ordnance.
As long as there is any operation or piece of equipment I do not fully understand, my job is not complete.
In the event of war, I must be prepared for any emergency.
I must be capable of and competent to fill my station, or perform any operation in the weapons department of my ship; to assume command of, spot, or control the fire of any battery.
In addition to being competent to perform any operation, I will strive to know my maintenance duties so well that I may maintain the battle efficiency of my ship, even on a darkened ship, under enemy fire. This to the end … that the ship may fight as long as she is afloat! 3
Stan is still waiting to receive his trombone that Pop has sent on to him in the military mail.


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