Cover: plain with “AIR MAIL” stamped below censor stamp
From: Ens CR Cummins
USS LST 661
FPO San Francisco Cal
To: The Cummins
6109 Greenwood Ave.
Chicago, 37, Illinois
Postmark: U.S. NAVY with 2 stars at 3 and 9 o’clock, 16 JUN 1944 over 6¢ red airmail stamp
Censor: PASSED BY NAVAL CENSOR, initialed (maybe ER)
Stationery: red stripes, blue globe with place and “AIR MAIL”
Aloha, aloha, dear ones.
You would guess my whereabouts. Propaganda has it that when God was creating the earth, as he looked over his product he decided that the globe was not complete. Therefore he drop a few jewels and here we are –in the land of the grass skirts and fair-skinned maidens. Of course, the war has desecrated this land of the wonderful climate with instruments of war, and uniforms.
Our journey over here was quite quiet—in other words uneventful. I have been very busy with my work in gunnery, having had only time for a magazine or two in the way of reading matter. Have been preparing tests for my men for advancement in rates—then many sundry items, of exceeding uninterest.
The watch schedule was rigid, but a different system evolved and we will have adequate sleep with time for our “private lives.” This is the first night in a long time that I feel like a healthy, happy red-blooded man—due to a football game.
Since leaving California we have had our decks covered so that our basketball court was displaced—so we haven’t even had morning calisthentics. But tonight I had my exercise, just finished a shower—so, with a few scratches from the rough terrain, I feel that I, for a few minutes, drifted away from the sedentary existence of a naval officer.
The days here have passed with strolls thro’ town and numerous movies. Honolulu itself is a dingy, one-storied, dark-painted city. The major source of entertainment is movies, and we have full-length features on the main deck of our ship each night—giving me a supply sufficient for a while.
Yesterday I had a pleasant day in Waikiki—at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel—a magnificent structure that the navy has taken over. Here they have the renown Waikiki Beach, out-rigger canoes, surf boards, swimming, basketball, boxing, ping pong—anything you can think of. During the afternoon (liberty expires at 1800 for the enlisted men, 2200 for officers—necessitating the start of liberty in the morning) when the piano duo was not playing, the dance band was. They had various earing places, an officers’ lounge, etc. all in this enormous structure. In the lounge I met several U. of C. fellows—Louise will remember Dale Johnson, of H.P. and the U. of C.
He has been in small boats for quite a while—going thro’ Little Creek and starting the base at Fort Pierce. He is on board a transport—says we, on an LST, have the better set-up. They went thro’ Quajlelinn, Entwietok and Saipan (my spelling is not guaranteed, chillum’). In these campaigns they, from 29 boats, have lost only one man. They have used their guns only once—at Saipan as this lone Jap bomber finished its bombing run coming back in strafing—with the boats in the water and the guns on the beach, there were at least a thousand guns firing at one place—they hit him, too, with one of the little small boat .30 cal. machine guns. The pilots’ opinion was that the Japanese air force was but a butt for wisecracks in comparison to the US planes and men.
Tomorrow, if we are still here, I am visiting these friends of Joan. It will be marvelous to be inside of a home, probably tho’ not without a few inward pangs.
The two best thinks about hitting port are getting mail and setting foot on dry land—then, too, to simply “get away from it all”—to get off the ship, forget about gunnery, boats, etc.—even the war, almost. You almost forget what civilian clothes and women look like.
At any rate, it has been passive genuine fun—a lovely vacation spot.
Goodnight pop, mom,