Frank O. Slater
Frank Olga Slater
|Born||19 December 1920|
Kennamer Cove, Alabama
|Died||12 November 1942 (aged 21)|
Aboard USS San Francisco (CA-38) off Savo Island
|Service/||United States Navy|
|Years of service||February—November 1942|
|Rank||2nd Class Seaman|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Frank Olga Slater (19 December 1920 – 12 November 1942) was a Seaman 2nd Class of the United States Navy, killed in action aboard USS San Francisco (CA-38) off Savo Island during World War II, and subsequently awarded the Navy Cross.
Slater was one of twelve children of James Lafayette Slater, a sharecropper, and Lenora (Morgan) Slater. He was born in Kennamer Cove, Marshall County, Alabama, and grew up in Fyffe, Alabama. He enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve on 10 February 1942. Upon completion of his basic training, Slater was transferred to the Receiving Station at Pearl Harbor, and assigned to the heavy cruiser USS San Francisco (CA-38) on 4 April 1942. On 12 November 1942 he was killed in action at his battle station.
Slater was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross. His citation read:
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Seaman Second Class Frank Olga Slater, United States Naval Reserve, for extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty in action against the enemy while serving as a Gunner aboard the Heavy Cruiser USS San Francisco (CA-38), during an engagement with Japanese naval forces near Savo Island in the Solomons on the night of November 12 and 13, 1942. Courageously refusing to abandon his gun in the face of an onrushing Japanese torpedo plane, Seaman Second Class Slater, with cool determination and utter disregard for his own personal safety, kept blazing away until the hostile craft plunged out of the sky in a flaming dive and crashed on his station. His grim perseverance and relentless devotion to duty in the face of certain death were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave up his life in the defense of his country.
Slater was also awarded the Purple Heart. Frank O. Slater was buried at sea, and his marker stands in Arlington National Cemetery.
The destroyer escort USS Slater (DE-766) was named in his honor. The ship was laid down on 9 March 1943 by the Tampa Shipbuilding Company of Tampa, Florida; launched on 13 February 1944; sponsored by Mrs. James L. Slater; and commissioned on 1 May 1944. USS Slater is now a museum ship on the Hudson River in Albany, New York.
- Brown, Julia (2012). "Frank Olga Slater". Landmarks of DeKalb County, Alabama. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
- "USS Slater". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History and Heritage Command. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
- "Awards for Frank Olga Slater". Military Times Hall of Valor. 2013. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
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- "Christening of the USS Slater". ussslater.org.
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