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First Person

Paul Slater

Life as a sailor during World War II

After the Japanese "sneak attack" on the naval base at Pearl Harbor, New York City native Paul Slater went to work for the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He explains, however, that, "the tenor of the time was such that you just could not stay there." So, he joined the Navy, and was assigned to the destroyer escort the USS Walter S. Brown. Paul and his crewmates survived the Atlantic Hurricane of 1944 which took five vessels and 344 lives, and they were involved in the famous Battle of UGS 40 in May of that year. As Paul remembers, "the crew was a collection of kids, many of whom had never been to sea...almost everyone was learning on the job, including the officers."

View a timeline of Paul Slater's life

Paul Slater's Stories

Slater and two young men dressed in Navy uniforms


Paul's early life and his decision to join the Navy

A roomful of young sailors onboard


Life on Board the Walter S. Brown

a navy destroyer at sea


Fulfilling the mission of a World War II destroyer escort ship


Listen to Paul Slater's full interview.

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