Stationery: red stripes, blue globe with airplane flying across it, the words “Air Mail” over the globe.
Cover: From: Ens CR Cummins USS LST 661
FPO San Francisco, Calif.
To: Mr. C M Cummins, 6109 Greenwood Ave, Chicago, 37, Illinois
Stamp: 6¢ red airmail, postmarked U. S. Navy Aug 14 1944
Censor: “Examined by Naval Censor,” initialed
12 August 1944
We remain in approximately the same place and will be here for a while. Our background would probably be considered beautiful scenery, with be-jungled mountains and cocoanut groves—some of your best soap formerly came from these islands. Our recreation consists of swimming, fishing, movies, scouring the beach for shells and creatures—no women, alcohol, or such present themselves, if a person should be interested. The men stationed down here for years, haven’t glimpsed a white woman for just that period of time.
Most of my energy and considerable time is expended each day in one or two round trips in a boat to a bay 20 miles away—this means 4 or 8 hours a day under the torturing sun along a rather tortuous channel. In many places the coral shelves are only a few fee under the surface of the water—at low tide the simply bumps from one rock to the next. Here we can best see the underwater forms of life—livid green fish five feet long, smaller green fish, vari-colored ones, huge turtles, eels, deep blue starfish, plus beautiful flowery coral formations. We pass sever native villages enroute—they are absolutely black, come with a blondish-red hair. They wave as we go by. Their homes are made of sliced cocoanut wood or simply GI tents. Their clothing (haven’t distinguished any women) is a khaki or red breech cloth. Yesterday afternoon they were performing a dance—all lined up just as chorus girls. They have hallowed-out log canoes, seem to spend their time fishing or looking for coral objects to sell.—and sleeping (haven’t seen any in the afternoon).
Am on watch, things are sublimely peaceful, so I shall write. The men are fishing from the side of the ship or from boats alongside. As yet tonight they have caught nothing. But the other night they hoop two tuna fish, that tasted as good as anything since home—pop would have reveled—he might not even mind the fishing—no mosquitoes, cool breezes blowing, starry sky, etc.
A few days ago I saw Paul Douglas, the former 5th Ward alderman, but did not recognize him as now he is as thin as a rail.
The other day First Lt. Marvin Mitchell (Marines) came aboard. we were good friends in high school & college, especially the former. when we were freshman at HP [Hyde Park High School] we had 8th, 9th, & 10th periods together—finishing the day with Miss Mix.
Three days ago he came aboard for dinner and the evening movie, and last might I returned the visit. He knows considerable about our coming operation. The marines have a rugged life ashore. Their main complaint though is the fact that they have been doing all the fighting on land over here, the army refusing to move in until palatial quarter, etc. were established. This would seem to be true to a considerable extent—that the army has lacked sufficient organization. On Saipan, with the Marines on the flanks, the Japs pushed right through the army in the center.
Another item that has kept me busy is the postcards for our absentee voting. When politics enters in, the gold braid necessarily takes every precaution to avoid trouble—so every senior officer up the line has to have a letter in which I state exactly every step that I make.
My other troubles consist of my ailments—just one thing after another to pester a person—sunburn, athlete’s foot, rashes, etc.—due to the heat.
But life in the main is an easy one. My physical condition, except for the my wind, is good—though we all seem to tire readily under the sun. The officers are a harmonious group, and the men well satisfied. Here we have beach parties, scouring the islands, and swimming parties each afternoon.
Father’s birthday should come along around this time, so hearty congratulations are in due order. I can almost taste (at least my mouth waters) the fresh garden vegetables e.g. the roasting ears. Many things well serve to remind me of my fine home and wonderful family. My next letter with be to little brother, with the prospect of college approaching.
Love and kisses,