Personal Histories

Charles Douglas Nelson FC1/c

Born May 18, 1920 at Cleghorn, Iowa.

Attended public school in Oakland, Nebraska from kindergarten to graduation in 1938. Tried to join the Navy after graduation but couldn’t pass the physical because of bad right knee. Migrated to California, eventually going to work for Union Oil Co. in service station 1941. Joined the Navy in June 1942.

Boot Camp was at San Diego, then Fire Control School November. Boarded USS Henderson AP1 at Alameda for voyage to Pearl Harbor and assignment to the USS Parrott DD218. December 1942, first watch aboard ship’s Crows nest. Convoys to San Francisco, one trip to Midway, then to Mare Island Navy Yard Vallejo for installation of RADAR early in 1943. May 21st to New York via Panama Canal for Trans-Atlantic Convoy Duty. Then joined Hunter Killer Group with USS Crouton CVE25. Oct. 15th joined with USS Block Island CVE21 . Participated in sinking U220 on Oct. 28th. Actual credit goes to Block Island aircraft

In March 1944 reported for convoy duty in Norfolk escorting Convoy UGS 35 to Casablanca, Morocco March 26th. Bombarded coast of Spanish Morocco south of Cape Spantel on March 27th before escorting Convoy 34 back to Boston arriving April 15th. May 2nd getting under way in Norfolk rammed by SS John Morton hitting No. 1 Stack killing six men in Fire Room. Decommissioned 14 June 1944.

Thirty days leave.

Reported to USS Hadley for pre- commissioning detail. Put in to commission Nov 25th 1944. Shake down cruise then headed for Okinawa 25 March for 1 April invasion. After surviving May 11 action stayed with the ship for tow back to the states. While sailing experienced typhoon and tow line parting numerous times. Discharged December 1945 after three years, five months, and twenty-seven days in the US Navy, left as a Fire Controlman 1/c.

Returned to Los Angeles area and went back to work for Union Oil Co. Leased a station for nine and 1/2 years at 3rd and Normandy, then with Mobile Oil Co. Unhappy with Oil Co. purchased a Baskin Robbins Ice Cream store in Sacramento, meantime getting married and adapting three children Carl, Martin, and April. Probably the greatest achievement of my life was watching them grow and becoming good U S citizens.

Spent thirty years in Sacramento winding up with three Baskin Robins Ice Cream Stores. Retired in 1996. As for Hobbies, had a 1929 Dual cowl Cadillac, purchased from a good friend in a used car lot in San Bernardino. We had a bunch of old cars over the years but this was a keeper. Got it out of the paint shop in 1958 and never got the chrome parts back on until the 90’s, you know – priorities – kids- making a living etc. Belonged to various clubs, Lions Club, Elks Lodge, Monitor a Swedish Lodge – a Descendent of Sacramento, a Life Member of the Navy League since Nov. 1985, Member of Tin Can Sailors thanks to Tom English.

That’s a thumbnail sketch of it all.