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Nancy E. Sloan Oral History

Identifier: OHP 115

Scope and Contents

Nancy Sloan married Dennis Sloan, who served aboard Growler as an officer from 1959 to 1960. She began her interview by explaining that she met Dennis through a blind date during a visit to the Naval Academy and noting the initial hesitation that her family expressed when she eventually married a “Navy guy.” Sloan then spoke about her introduction to life as a Navy wife, which occurred when Dennis was in submarine school. She also described her trip to Hawaii after Dennis was assigned to Growler. The discussion of this trip then led to an explanation of the camaraderie between Navy wives, as Sloan recounted how the skipper’s wife, Sue Priest, took her under her wing and assisted her with travel arrangements after Sloan experienced an unexpected death in the family. Sloan also recalled that she received advice from her mother-in-law, whose husband was in the Air Force, regarding how to be a good military wife. As the interview continued, Sloan explained how there was a hierarchy among the wives just as there was a hierarchy among the men on the submarine. The interview then briefly transitioned back to the trip to Hawaii. Sloan described the trip, the Navy housing, and the interactions with the other Navy wives, including organized events such as picnics with the entire wardroom. Family then became the next topic of conversation, as Sloan explained that she was not able to communicate with Dennis while he was aboard Growler and spoke about the birth of their first daughter at Tripler Army Hospital in Hawaii, noting that Dennis was present. She also discussed the family’s many moves during Dennis’s time in the Navy, stating that the moves became routine and the family was able to integrate into the new communities fairly quickly, primarily by finding a church right away. She then explained how these moves influenced their children, and shortly after, expressed her belief that families provided important support for men in the service. As the interview came to an end, Sloan described the atmosphere when Growler left for a patrol and returned home, stating that when the boat left, the wives immediately gathered to help ease the separation, and when the boat returned, they resumed their “usual” routines. Sloan then concluded her interview by recalling her funniest memory from Dennis’s time on Growler, which was the futile attempts to clean his clothes after being worn on a diesel submarine, stating that she practically needed a clothespin for her nose.


  • September 14, 2016



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