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"Sometimes it’s a little hazy, and sometimes it comes back to you real live…" (Video interview, 9:43)

   Lewis Clayton Shaw, Jr.
Image of Lewis Clayton Shaw, Jr.
Detail from a group photo, Lewis Shaw in front of the USS Cohocton, China [undated]
War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Navy
Unit: USS Helena (CL 50), USS Oglala, USS Cohocton (AO 101)
Service Location: Pacific Theater; China; Japan
Rank: Pharmacist's Mate First Class
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Enlisting in 1940, Pharmacist’s Mate First Class Lewis Clayton Shaw, Jr. chose the Navy in hopes of securing a dry place to sleep every night while in the service. What he could not have anticipated was his front and center view of the beginning of World War II. Assigned to the USS Oglala, a minelayer, he was stationed at Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Though he survived the attack, the Oglala did not; following a transfer to the USS Helena, a St. Louis Class-light cruiser, he went on to participate in the Battle of Guadalcanal. Following the end of the war, he spent time aboard the USS Cohocton, a fleet oiler, which took him to China and Japan. In his interview, he discusses his work as a Pharmacist’s Mate First Class, and how, seventy years after the war, some memories of his service remain as vivid as the day the events happened.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (4 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: video (34 min.)
  Photos
»Photo Album  (2 photos)
 Personal Correspondence
»V-Mail from Clayton Shaw [2/28/1943]
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»Staff Picks
 Video (Interview Excerpts) (4 items)
Taking a shower on the morning of December 7th; hearing the planes approach; getting dressed in a hurry. (01:05) Seeing casualties; taking care of a wounded shipmate; Oglala sunk; working at a temporary hospital; assigned to the Helena. (03:24) Memories of the attack; taking care of burn victims (03:01)
Experiences at Guadalcanal; clearing beach for the landing; injuries treated aboard ship. (03:06)  
  
 

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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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