Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Gone for Soldiers: James Robert Slater (1919 - 1984), U.S. Navy

Uncle Jim, my birth mother's other brother, has consistently been overlooked in favor of his younger, more-favored sibling Jack and it's time for that to change.

Jim was a student at the University of Colorado in Boulder when he registered for the military draft under the Selective Service and Training Act, which required all male citizens between the ages of 21 and 35 to register for the military draft, beginning on October 16, 1940. This Act, the first peace-time draft in U.S. history, had been passed by Congress on September 6, 1940 and signed into law by President Franklin Franklin Roosevelt 10 days later. Jim was one of twenty million men who were required to register immediately.*

[James R. Slater 1940 draft registration,]

Jim didn't wait for his number to be called and enlisted in the U.S. Navy on June 15, 1942. He received a commission as a lieutenant j.g. and served aboard the aircraft carrier Yorktown (CV-10)**which was where he learned of his younger brother's death early in 1945.

[James Slater in uniform, courtesy of Olive Slater-Kennedy]

[James Slater, dress whites, courtesy of Olive Slater-Kennedy]

[James Slater in front of house in Niwot, courtesy of Olive Slater-Kennedy]

[Jim Slater in uniform, April 1945, courtesy of Olive Slater-Kennedy]

Jim was released from the Navy on March 22, 1946, but that wasn't the end of his military career. He re-einlisted on September 13, 1950, less than three months after the beginning of the Korean War. So far I haven't been able to find any information about this period of his service.

[James Slater U.S.N. i.d. card issued in 1950, courtesy of Olive Slater-Kennedy]

He left the Navy with the rank of Lieutenant Commander on July 5, 1953, about 3 weeks before the official end of the war.

*For an explanation of how the process worked, here's a link.
**There's a film (directed by William Wyler) that describes itself as "A Newsdrama of the Pacific" and was mostly shot aboard the Yorktown. It's available to watch in full here.

© 2016 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

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