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USS San Francisco Memorial Foundation
C/O Art Curtis
P.O. Box 318063
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STORIES OF THE MEN

Clenroe W Davis - CRDM US Navy - USS San Francisco

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CW Davis

Clenroe Willard Davis, Doctor of Chiropractic
Doctor of Naturopathy and Doctor of Physiotherapy


This is a partial biography of my late father. The entire biography can be read here

C.W.as he was known to everyone was born in Lowell, Nebraska to Carrie Lee and Edith (Johannesen) Davis on April 13, 1922. He already had one older brother named Cletric. A few years later his younger brother, Cleo was born. In his youth he and his brother Cletric were trained by their father as boxers and fought at state fairs and many local events. C.W. later participated in the Golden Gloves boxing program.
 

CW Davis and Men

At the outbreak of WWII C.W. enlisted into the Navy at the age of 19 in August, 1940 in Laramie, Wyoming. The Navy would provide him with three meals a day and $21.00 per month. He wanted to go to college but money was scarce and so were jobs. He served 6 years in the United States Navy. C.W. took his basic training in San Diego. C.W. is in the second row from the top farthest right.
 

CA-38

He then was shipped to Pearl Harbour in October 1940 and assigned to the Heavy Cruiser the U.S.S San Francisco C38. The USS San Francisco was in and out of the harbor doing maneuvers until December 7.
 

In an article for the local newspaper in 1987 C.W. gave this account entitled:
Remembering Pearl Harbor


When Yeoman C.W. Davis typed out the orders of the day for December 7, 1941, he was unaware of how the day was to unfold. Davis's ship the USS San Francisco, a heavy cruiser, was at the dock in Pearl Harbor being repaired for minor damage. Davis was in the admiral's office lounging on a cot when he heard the commotion. He remembers sticking his head out the porthole thinking, What a time for manoeuvres. After seeing a Japanese plane and seeing machine gun bullets hit the slip, he knew the attack was fro real. The most badly hit ships were in battleship row. Escaping relatively unscathed, the San Francisco took on sailors from sunken ships. Alluding to the confusion following that initial attack on Pearl Harbor, there was another Davis from his shop who had been wounded in the leg. C.W.'s parents were notified he was one of the casualties of the attack. It took the San Francisco about three days to head out of the harbor. Its first maneuver took them toward Guam, where it was thought there were Japanese. Whit found no Japanese near Guam, the cruiser headed south. With other ships it formed a picket line near Samoa. This picket line was an advance lookout for the Japanese, but they saw nothing but ocean for three months. Search radar already in use by the English and Davis became chief radarman. He operated and repaired the search radar through the remainder of the war. Al though he does not specifically remember Christmas of 12941 he spent four Christmases at sea all together and all in the South Pacific. He recalls that on subsequent Christmases the sailors did have turkey. The battleships sported Christmas trees on the fan tail, but he does not remember cruisers or destroyers having Christmas trees. The most frightening thing was the sea battles, pounding each other with 8-14 inch guns C.W. remembers During the second battle of Salvo, the USS San Francisco had 189 men killed, seriously wounded or missing during one night of battle. Davis also remembers watching O'Hare the Navy fighter pilot for whom Chicago's airport is named shoot down five twin engine bombers called Betty's' in five minutes. O'Hare alone in his F4F became and ace that day but was shot down at sea later in the war.

Since C.W. was a trained boxer he would put put on fights on the deck to keep the moral up for the shipmates.

CW Davis and Friends

One of C.W.'s highlights aboard the U.S.S. San Francisco has been written about in PFC Clifford Spencer's famous book entitled The War Years 1941-1945 Boy/Marine to Blooded Veteran. May I say here that if you have not read this wonderful account of Mr. Spencer's book it is a must read. Go to Mr. Spencer's name on this website Stories of the Men to get more information.

The date is October 11, 1942 just prior to the Battle of Cape Esperance.

Task force "Sugar" a unit of Task force 64, consisted of the San Francisco flagship and Salt Lake City, heavy cruisers, Boise and Helena, light cruisers (six inch main battery) and destroyers Buchanan, Farenholt, Laffey, McCalla and the Duncan. Nine ships in all got underway on Oct. 7 for Guadalcanal.

The Helena had the most advanced radar in the task force and when a radarman reported moving blips on his scope at about 2330 out about 5,000 yards, the skipper of Helena delayed reporting the contact to Admiral Scott for over fifteen minutes. It must be remembered that radar was a very recent addition to the fleet. The early installations had lots of problems and radarman were new at interpreting what the screen showed.

Our radar shack was on the same small deck with our 1.1 AA gun mount. We could stand in the doorway of the radar room and still be at our battle station. Second loaders, could move around the small area except when actually passing ammo during firing.

Just before our captain received word of enemy sighting by our scout plane I heard the radarman talking into his headset and I quote, "Sir, I have several unidentified blips on my scope" after a short pause he said " Well Sir, these islands are traveling at about thirty knots!"

By this time everyone on the mount knew the enemy was out there and strained our eyes to starboard trying to get a visual sighting. At times like these time seems to drag on very slowly. It seemed hours before the Helena begin a furious fusillade with her six inch main battery. Following closely by the Boise, Salt Lake City and then the San Francisco. We had completely surprised the enemy and there were several minutes when the enemy did not return fire. Admiral Goto, on his flag ship Aoba, thought he was being fired on by his transport escort and we thought we were firing on the Duncan and the Laffey. Admiral Scott had reversed course just a few minutes earlier to be able to execute a tactic known as crossing the "T". The Duncan sealed her doom by attacking a destroyer she had confirmed as an enemy ship, and the Laffey followed her in for the attack.

This put the two destroyers directly between the heavier units of both the Japanese and American combatants. Duncan fired torpedoes at one of the heavy cruisers but missed. However, when she turned to rejoin our task force she was fired upon by both sides. Heavily holed and her bridge wiped out she did not respond when the order was given by Admiral Scott to turn on battle recognition lights. Most of our ships quickly responded with the proper red, red and green, or whatever coded combination of lights agreed upon, Duncan did not respond... The San Francisco's main battery fired a broadside at the hapless Duncan and she was destroyed and soon sank, with heavy losses!!

I wish to thank PFC Spencer for letting me reproduce this portion of his book.

C.W.'s Naval action was recognized with the Presidential Unit Citation, the Phillippine Liberation-1 star, and the Asiatic-Pacific Ribbon with 17 battle stars. About a year before he left the Navy he was made Chief Radarman. He received an honorable discharge in 1945.


C.W. related in the news article, The days spent teaching radar, which I did for eight to 10 months after the war were the golden days of my Navy life. After 5 years from October 14, 1940 to October 14, 1945 he was back on the mainland.

 

CW Davis and Friends

This picture was signed on the back of the photograph by the men:

Mike O'Neil LA, CA
Roy Ammino Babylon, LI
Walter Bratkawski 921, Pittsburgh, PN
Roy Messhik 998, Detroit, MI
George Crockett, Milwaukie, OR
Bob Wozniak 104, Chicago, IL
E.J. Brouilletty 982, New Orleans, LA
William J. Porter 963, Seattle, WA
Wilfrid E. St. Clair 994, Fort Worth, TX
John E. Wright 990, Nemina, NM

 

CW Davis and Friends CW Davis and Friends

Upon his discharge in August of 1946 he went back to Laramie where his parents were residing, to enroll in the University of Wyoming. C.W.'s major was Geology and it was here he met his future wife Geraldine Watson who was a pre-med student. After graduation they married in October, 1948. They moved to Denver, Colorado where C.W. enrolled in Chiropractic College. Their daughter Debra Lee was born after graduation and the new family moved and set up his first practice in Eugene, Oregon. Soon a son arrived, Russell Jay. The wind caught Dr. and Mrs. Davis and the family moved to Santa Ana, California. Here C.W. was the Chiropractor to many celebrities some were in Hollywood, like the famous actor Mike Misurki and some were promising fighters. As a family we visited the San Diego Zoo one fine afternoon and on the way home we were in a 62 car pile up on the freeway. Mom and Dad had enough of California with traffic and earthquakes. Years back on a family trip Dad had driven Highway 97 when it was still a dirt road. He fell in love with the Klamath Basin area so Mom and Dad decided that this was going to be a good place to call home. In 1959 C.W. purchased a Chiropractic practice from Dr. Burris who was retiring and we became part of Klamath Basin life in Oregon.

It was to be a good move as C.W. would become very much a part of Klamath Falls society. He was a member of the Elks Club, the Country Club, the Lions Club (past President), the Masons, and the Shriners. Along the way he met up with the local Sheriff, Red Britton, a USS San Francisco shipmate. Their reunion encompassed many conversations of when Red and C.W were on the Frisco Together when the ship was hit in Pearl Harbor. C.W and Red fought fires all that day together. What a coincidence they would meet again in their professional lives.

C.W was a very enthusiastic speaker for Chiropractic and was the highlight at many a seminar or convention, within and outside of the profession. He became a nationally known speaker on personal injury cases. He was a charter member of the Chiropractic Knights of the Round Table. He was also a member of the Parker Chiropractic Research Foundation and in 1975 was elected Chiropractor of the Year by the Professional Chiropractic Society of America. He obtained may awards but the ones I find that are mentioned more than once are the Certificate of Founders Membership in the Health Research Foundation, the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Precision Chiropractic Research Symposia and the Humanitarian Award for his dedication to Unselfish Service to the Chiropractic Profession To All Mankind which is the highest award given by the Chiropractic Knights of the Round Table on May 1, 1977.

C.W. was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1383, the American Legion, the Military Order of the Cooties and the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, Crater Lake Chapter 3 and attended many of their reunions throughout the United States.

On December 5, 2002  ashes were interred at the National Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii with honor guard and 5 U.S.S. San Francisco shipmates attended. Buck Sgt. John Egan, a Marine shipmate had taken Dad's ashes to the Hawaiian Punchbowl Cemetery and made all the arrangements. I thank him very much for doing this for our family. He is a good friend.

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