All posts by cumminsclan

CRC 1944(?)-11-8 to family

Stationery: red stripes at left, “AIR MAIL” in blue with red stripes over and under on reverse

Cover: From: Ens CR Cummins OSS 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 A.M.

Censor: PASSED BY NAVAL CENSOR, initialed THS(?)


8 Oct



Dear mom and dad,

Just returned from church services on an adjacent ship. The chaplain’s sermon (or oration) was on the plentiful profanity in evidence in the navy (or any branch of the male service). No doubt he had ample grounds for his speech, but it was disappointing to us who have so rare an opportunity to attend a church service.

Here am I back aboard the 661 on a bright, lazy Sunday morning—with no funnies, no pictorial reviews. Yes, we are once again afloat—though the betting odds were 5 to 1 against it for a long time. Joan should have a fairly good idea of what happened to us, though I did have to be obscure because of the censorship regulations. The only injury to our personnel aboard ship was sustained when one of the men slipped on the greasy galley ladder and fractured his arm—oh, yes, I have had a slight bit of heat rash and my wedding band cut a crease in my finger. Our troubles are due to low supplies and a minimum of water. The ship, though, isn’t as she was when she rolled off the ways in the shipyard.

We have had (or seen) as much action and interesting events as any ship in this operation—having a ringside seat, so to speak.

Because of my poor correspondence you have probably long since assumed that your wayward penny was disposed of by the honorable Japs. You should know by now that Robert will be eliminated by old age. We have been unable to get mail off the ship for the past week—and we can say nothing specific about our actions. Our lives and “social life” are the same always—an occasional round of bridge, a book once in a while, good natured haranguing, heavy watch schedule (just recently eased). Tom Shockey (from Evanston) and I are now “Officers-of-the-deck”—which means that we have entire control of the ship during our watch period. Previous to this (except in port) we stood watches under Lt. j g’s, though the sum total of our experience and knowledge were equal.

The next few weeks we will have a life of rest and leisure. We had hoped to be towed back to some form of civilization, but it looks as if we would be cared for in some out of the way place. I shall have o establish some form of athletic program. as our decks are empty I won’t have the space factor to contend with. We need some good exercise too. The I did have some strenuous work in a small boat for a few days last week, this is all that I can claim. The main trouble is that we are all so weary from our watch schedule.

You should be very happy that your son did not join the Marines. They really have a tough, unhealthy dangerous life. This battle here will prove to be the bloodiest yet. We had an opportunity to go ashore and observe some of the Jap defenses—and Nature’s obstacles. Even to make the island habitable without the enemy on it would be a feat. Anything that you hear about the enemy entrenchments (they had 22 years to construct them) are assuredly true.

Folks, the mail is shoving off and this to go with it–

Bye, bye, chillun,


CRC 1945-2-18 to parents

Cover: “air mail” at left with vertical red stripes, and “air mail” on reverse, from: Ens. C.R. Cummins, USS LST 661, FPO S.F. Cal., to: Mr. and Mrs. CM Cummins, 6109 Greenwood Ave., Chicago, 37, Illinois, “PASSED BY NAVAL CENSOR” stamp, initialed, 6¢ red airmail stamp, postmarked U.S. NAVY, 19 FEB 1945


18 Feb

Sunday 1130

Dear ones,

Just before our chicken dinner—Your letter of Feb 14th came today, my esteemed Valentines. So you observe that I am not so very far away by mail, though I find that my actual prescence has found the distance to be an impassable barrier for the time being. Meaning, to all intents and purposes, that my torso will be bouncing around the waters of the Pacific for several more months Since we have been here there has been no progress whatsoever made upon the necessary re _ _ _ _. We will be here for an unpredictable length of time. A number of the LST’s that were with us are headed stateward—if we could run under our own power we probably would too.

Congratulations to Loyd for crossing his first gap on the road to higher learning. For weeks I have been intending to write him—but if I wrote all my apologies for not writing people I should indeed consume the majority of the remainder of my days in writing. The most important factor is that he does like his school, for that is a prime prerequisite. I have been most anxious to learn of his basketball feats, but no information has been forthcoming. I have my doubts as to whether Wheaton College is a tougher place than the alma maters of his kin—this type of question is such that its only future is an argumentative state. I have thought that perhaps he may be concerned because he cannot go into the armed forces. For his information, we out here wish him all the power in the world in the furtherance of his education. Patriotism is alright in its place—has anyone ever found a place for it? He is accomplishing more good for his country by studying than any of us are here.

Why are you beginning spring cleaning is early February, when the temperature is hardly above freezing? I imagine you do have a great deal to do—is it at all possible to find someone to help you with it? I believe you promised me you would if you could.

I like very much hearing of your so-called “trivial things” and having letters from you is a most pleasant sensation.

Poor papa and the oil burner. I can’t say that I envy you your job, or your loss of sleep, pater.

We have shore leave every other day. As yet only been off the base a few times. We have been busy obtaining supplies, I haven’t had any. I have had a bothersome cold (we are not accustomed to these cool nights), and the island is not particularly enticing in the first place.

One the whole, our stay here has been a most restful, relaxing period. Somehow, at sea there always seems to be a certain amount of nervous tension involvement—a continual, poorly defined pressure—constantly. Here we know we have plenty of time for everything we have to do, and accomplish our work when the urge strikes us. Too, almost the majority of the officers are off the ship most of the time, and the greater degree of solitude is most agreeable.

Our first hours in here were quite startling, in that we once again came into contact with those elements which had been commonplace to us—buses, women and children, civilians, actual rides in automobiles, French Fried potatoes, milk shakes, etc. (Milk is at a premium, so as yet I haven’t had any). Perhaps you can imagine what a sensation it was to sit down to dinner with a menu—and to gaze at the “passing parade.”

Last Sunday afternoon two Seabee officers took several of us on a tour of the island in jeeps. It was interesting to see the pineapple and sugar can fields. The thrills of the ride were driving through the two mountain passes (3500 and 2000 ft. high) and looking down upon the island and the Pacific from such a height.

Goodbye, for a few days, dear ones. With much love & many kisses,

Your devoted,


CRC 1944-7-7 to family

Torn by JES, taped by MSC


Cover: “Airmail” stripes in lower right corner

From: Lt(jg) CR Cummins


FPO San Fran. Cal.

To: The Cummins

6109 Greenwood Ave.

Chicago, 37, Illinois

Stamp: 6¢ red airmail

Postmark: U.S. NAVY 8 JUL 1945

Censor stamp: “PASSED BY NAVAL CENSOR,” initialed



7 July

Hello! Folks,

Well, I can’t say that there is much news–not any for that matter. The can of cookies came yesterday—this time my thank you is prompt, all times my gratitude is great. I haven’t tasted them yet—saving them for another day.

Enclosed are pictures taken a short time ago—to prove to you that I am managing to eke out a living That is out dog Phibby (short for Amphibious) in one of the pictures—just in from a swim. This was a little sandbar about 75 yards from the ship—the most ideal beach that could be desired.

For ten days (ending Monday) I have been suspended from all duties by virtue of this fact: I censored an outgoing package for one of the men. After I initialed it he slipped 1000 rounds of .22 ammunition in it. The offense was discovered by the coast censorship authorities and relayed to us for action.

I have had a delightful time reading and studying an assortment of subjects—sleeping to my heart’s content, living my own life almost exclusively.

But shortly our work begins again—the hot sun, glare of the ocean, loss of sleep, etc. I am frankly happy to see that period at hand, though I shall be just as elated to return to the easier routine.

When you are in port you want to get to sea, and vice versa.

I have had letters from Bob Walker, Chet Smith, and a Marine officer friend of the 1st Marine Div. Bob is skipper of his LCI—evidently in the Philippines. Chet is a Marine pilot flying from a light carrier—Okinawa, I think.

I shall take the best of care of myself—you do the same—

Love and Kisses,


CRC 1945-7-15 to parents

Cover: “AIR MAIL” in two red stripes in lower right corner

From: Lt(jg) CR Cummins

FPO San Fran. Cal.

To: Mr. & Mrs. CM Cummins

6109 Greenwood Ave.

Chicago, 37, Illinois

Postmark: U.S. NAVY 16 JUL 1945 over 6¢ red airmail stamp

Censor: PASSED BY NAVAL CENSOR, initialed (maybe LHS)


15 July


Gutend abend, parential,

You didn’t know that I am a linguist, did you?—even Japanese, with “jima, shima, retta, gunto,” et

The ride was a placid one in every respect. We had a rougher day today at anchor than at any time underway.

My mail here so far has consisted of one single letter—from mom—none from Jonie. So once again we must have encountered a peculiar twist in the mail situation. Today I finished your cookies, finding the cake and the candle at the bottom. Thank you for the thought—here is my smile at the discovery [an arrow points to a wide ‘U’] (diagrammatic). It was just a little too hard to eat—but I could have eaten it smothered with fresh strawberries and a mound of whipped cream—have you ever tried this with cake that was rather past its better age? Here’s a great big hug and a kiss to all.

I remember Bernice Wilkerson’s name, but can’t recall her appearance.

Underway it was hot, per usual. The thermometer hit 100º several days, on the others 95º or so. The days must be at hand when your temperatures will equal ours. Our advantage is that the air is fresh and there is usually something of a breeze. Without that breeze, being under the sun is almost unendurable. I present quite a spectacle in my sun helmet, dark goggles, and grease coating—but have saved myself considerable punishment.

We hardly had a moment to rest from our work. Sleep was at a premium. Today I recovered I little of it—sleeping until noon—and I am off this moment to the land of dreams—


CRC 1945-7-24 to parents

torn by JES, taped by MSC

double stripe “AIRMAIL” in lower right corner

from: Lt(jg) CR Cummins


FPO San Fran. Cal.

To: Mr. and Mrs. CM Cummins

6109 Greenwood Ave.

Chicago, 37, Illinois

Postmarked: U.S. NAVY 25 JUL 1945 over 6¢ red airmail stamp

Censor: double stripe PASSED BY NAVAL CENSOR, initialed FHL (?)


24 July


Good morning, family,

It has been many days since my last letter you way. Our incoming mail finally arrived, including four letters from 6109—really enjoyed having them. I had the midwatch (midnight to 0400) last night so my writing is not going to be up to its usual superlative standard.

Enclosed are two pictures of your erstwhile son One was an “artistic” shot of Shockey’s, but you can observe me in the far distant background.

It has ben reasonable restful here. We are annoyed at least once a night by an enemy plane attack on the island. Most of the planes are shot down or chased away by our fighters.

We went to sea for several days to weather a severe storm—and had the two roughest days of all time for us—rough by virtue of angry waters.

I haven’t felt equal to accomplishing any tremendous works recently—just in the mood for rest.

Once again I inhabit my room by myself. Though the doctor was the best of company, nothing can equal this delightful solitude. My room could use a little paint, but other than that it is in good shape.

We haven’t seen anyone here that we knew—it is such a large island and there are so many different anchorages.

The tank deck is now fixed up for basketball and badminton—giving me some much-needed exercise. My waistline isn’t exactly what it was when I was sweet sixteen—may I can cut it down some.

One day Tom, the mailman, and I went ashore to make a long land trip to get our mail which was on a ship in another harbor. We had a number of transportation problems—it ended in being an all-day trip with very little food during the course of that day. However, it was most interesting—the natives, their homes, the hills filled with tombs. The roads were worse than those southeastern Ohio roads of the early thirties—when the old lizzies couldn’t make it up the hills. The Seabees are working day and night (I suppose there are Army engineers around, too) to rapidly improve the island.

We have movies each night in port—the ones here haven’t been very good.

My health is as good as ever, and, except for moments, my spirits too. I love you dearly—sending you much, much hugs and kisses—


CRC 1945-8-5 to parents

double stripe “AIRMAIL” in lower right corner

from: Lt(jg) CR Cummins


FPO San Fran. Cal.

To: The Cummins

6109 Greenwood Ave.

Chicago, 37, Illinois

Postmarked: U.S. NAVY 6 AUG 1945 over 6¢ red airmail stamp

Censor: double stripe PASSED BY NAVAL CENSOR, initialed FHL (?)


5 August


Dear ones,

A lazy Sunday afternoon—most of us are rather tired because we were kept up half the night by air raid alert. This is the usual case for the majority of the island but for a few days we were in a sheltered nook where they didn’t pay an attention to enemy planes—consequently we had several beautiful nights of sleep. It has been raining consistently the past few days, giving us a more comfortable temperature.

We will be here for a considerable length of time, attending to any duties that they require of us. So far we have been very busy with an assortment of details.

At our last beaching we were able to see several of our old Marine friends. Those ashore are always most anxious to be gracious—partly because they like us and partly because we have many things that they can use.

Everywhere they supply us with plentiful transportation to view the surrounding territory—the devastated cities, empty villages, natives, villages packed with teeming humanity. We have had several interesting tours. The natives seem friendly, usually ready with a smile and a wave of the hand.

They are a mixture of Japanese, Chinese, and Portugese blood. They look strong and healthy, but there are many signs of disease.

Portions of the island were almost untouched by the effects of war. The foliage was still

full, everything in its natural state—except for signs of activity: road-building, trucking, etc. This period of time here has so far been the most interesting we have yet encountered. We have liked it very much and are thankful that were left here rather than sent back to lie around almost indefinitely.

Momie, I’m glad you enjoyed your birthday—here’s another big hug and a kiss just for you.

As long as I am this far away from the states I guess it isn’t much use to send cookies or packages of any sort. One thing I would like to have is a studio glamor (someone besides Ray) picture of pater and mater. What say you, chillun? I hereby appoint Louise as my executive in carrying out this request. Anything of this nature that you send, send airmail. Just last week I received half a dozen 3¢ letters mailed in November—my hopes of getting the rest of my Christmas packages rose. It seems that I have been fortunate in that most of your cookies have gotten through.

Sorry everything there is so scarce. We have been eating well, few things being absent from our diet. My waistline is certainly not shrinking any. Off and on out tank deck is empty and we can a play a little football game, basketball game, or badminton. As yet conditions have been such that I haven’t been down there much.

I don’t remember knowing any Marvin Miller, mother—perhaps you are thinking of Marvin Mitchell, of H.P.H.S. He is a 1st Lt. in the Marines—happens to be on Guam right now—I saw him in the Russells last year, he came to Pelelui in our convoy.

Am glad that you finally got away from the many binging ties for awhile. Some of this hilly, green country here reminded me of the Ohio hills—and the muddy roads (so muddy that a civilain car could hardly budge) of days in the past—e.g. on the hill up to Uncle Loyd’s. We should have mail tonight (first in a week) and learn more of your travels

With a superabundance of affection,


CRC 1945-8-8 to LDC

Torn and taped

Cover: plain

From: Lt(jg) CR Cummins


FPO San Fran Cal.

To: Mr. Donald L. Cummins

6109 Greenwood Ave.

Chicago, 37, Illinois

Postmark: U.S. NAVY 9 SEP 1945

Stamp: 6¢ red airmail

Censor: double line, PASSED BY NAVAL CENSOR, with AIR MAIL below, initials THS(?)

8 Sept


Hi! Kiddo,

I do owe you several letters, I know—but not so very manu.

I appreciate your concern over my punishment—in fact, I am sorry I mentioned it, because it caused so much concern in the family circle—and to me it meant nothing at all. For I felt that essentially I had done nothing wrong It gave me a rest, and caused no ill-feeling in any particular.

Your baseball success has been fun to follow Congratulations are in order for winning the letter, as a beginning toward several others. I was amazed that Wheaton happened to beat the U. of C. in one baseball game, though I am sure it was because Kile was saving his strength for stronger opposition.

You must have enjoyed your trip to Texas. According to the Texans, there is no state can compare with it. In fact, they disdain to consider it part of the Union. They certainly do talk endlessly about their “wonderful” corner. No one has ever given me an unprejudiced viewpoint of “Sugie,” but I am sure that she must be super-special. Just remember that your school and studying is important about all else. Other than this, more power to you.

We have been to Japan, now are on our way back to Okinawa (all censorship regulations have been lifted). We were the first six LST’s to beach on Jap soil, we brought in the first group of sea-borne troops, we were the first ships at Kyushu, Japan—though minesweepers preceded us in. While we were there we had ample opportunity for looking around the towns. We beached in a large bay in southern Kyushu, near the Nagaya airfield—a tremendous field at one time but long since deserted by the Japs going further north. The field was covered with hundreds of wrecked Jap planes. All the hangers, buildings, and installations were completely demolished. All we salvaged from the planes were compasses and radios (tubeless).

We didn’t know what to expect from the Jap population, consequently doing our careful exploring with .45 pistol in hand. As it turned out, the vast majority of the civilians had fled to the hills, fearing death at the hands of the Americans. The Jap army and police were plentiful, to handle work details and police duties. They did not seem greatly burdened with humility, though they said they were happy the war is over. We went through several of the cities, thro’ their homes, school-houses, temples, etc. Found some worthwhile articles—I have a commercial radio, a large pendulum clock, two Jap pistols, many small articles.

Tonight we are travelling with lights on and ports open for the first time—so it looks as if the war is really over, though it is difficult to believe—


CRC 1945-8-16 to parents

Cover: plain

From: Lt(jg) CR Cummins


FPO San Francisco

To: Mr. & Mrs. CM Cummins’

6109 Greenwood Ave.

Chicago, 37, Illinois

Postmark: U.S. NAVY 17 AUG 1945

Stamp: 6¢ red airmail

Censor: double line, PASSED BY NAVAL CENSOR, with AIR MAIL below, initials THS(?)


16 Aug


Hello, yo’ all,

Halleluliah! The war’s end is here—that is, the fighting is—but there will be many of us that remain out here for a considerable length of time. The cessation of hostilities paradoxically enough, means that this ship will reach the states long after it would have if the war had continued.

It is hard to believe that it as has ended. It seems I must tax my memory to go back to those years when there was no war. To think that we will one day fairly soon return to home—to wives, families, civilian clothes, our private lives! What a glorious day that will be! –and not a little awesome.

We are hoping, since we must be kept out here, that we will get to go up to Japan, and to some cities of China.

For the time being we have duty transporting natives from their old homes to new ones. Until a person actually sees something such as these natives and the way they live he has no conception of the great things that U.S. culture consists of. The natives here have nothing at all that would be acceptable by the poorest American standards of comparison.

They seem to be a happy people. The women are pushed into the background, and are consequently shy. The men doff their hats, bowing again. The children are just like children all over the world—the boys are probably best friends—they readily pick up English expressions. The people have, typically Oriental, stoically accepted their fate as to having been a battleground. they have not caused any dangerous trouble whatsoever. They have been treated rather well by the good-natured Americans.

Our days have been full and interesting. The homeward stretch is here—

Love and kisses,


CRC 1945-8-19 to OLC

Cover: plain

From: Lt(jg) CR Cummins


FPO San Fran. Cal.

To: Mrs. D.F. Matchett Jr.

6243 Kimbark Ave.

Chicago, 37, Illinois

Postmark: [top invisible] NAVY 20 AUG 1945

Stamp: 6¢ red airmal

Censor: double line, PASSED BY NAVAL CENSOR, with AIR MAIL below, initials THS(?


19 August

Little sister,

You know I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I owed you a letter, especially since one came just yesterday. I’ll answer you letters first thing—

I agree with you—that Russia did the right (strategically) thing in waiting until we were ready to invade Japan before declaring war. I do think that Russia must be handled with kid gloves, and rightfully so—for if there is another was soon it will be with Russia.

I had anxiously awaited news of Loyd’s last interview with the new specialist.

I did thank the Forum for my Christmas gift—you sweet, charming, innocent little child. Ted De Looze’s letter in the latest “Flash” struck home, for we are transporting these same natives on the 661.

I didn’t call from Hawaii because personnel assigned to ships was not permitted to call—I did try every angle, but didn’t want to take any chances of getting someone into trouble. Either Hugh isn’t assigned yet to a shop or the regulations have been changed—or he may have pulled some deal.

David’s guess as to my location was correct. I don’t have much idea of how long we’ll be here. We are hoping to have some glimpse of Japan—we are so near now.

I am quite ready to have some of your cooking—it sounds good in writing, anyway. (? icing ?)

It has only been about a month since I last wrote you.

Well, this takes car of my unanswered letters of yours.

Naturally we are happy and relieved that we can now see our homes in the relatively near future.

There was no great jubilation (except the premature firing when a number were hurt)—most of us just had that certain smile on our faces. Our enthusiasm was dampened by the knowledge that we would be here for quite some time to come.

Now our feeling against the regular navy and stateside boys have been much deepened by the Navy point system—no credit for overseas duty or combat. How they can sit back in their plush chairs and just forget about those who have risked their lives and have been away from home I cannot imagine. I realize they need to keep many ships operating—but why not let the lads who have been fighting the war by their firesides come out for a while. Our idea is to require one year of sea duty before a person can be considered by discharge—brother, wouldn’t you have a run for their nearest congressman or naval patron!

Just this morning I heard that any marriage before Aug 15th would count under the point system. This eliminated a dire grievance of mine, for I had been penalized in points because Joan was in the service.

I am not one given to complaining schwester, but they have committed a great wrong in establishing such a point system. They have ruined all their chances of having any sizable number of Reserve officers and men stay in—of those afloat.

Ta, Ta, sis—just for a few days, of course  — Bob

P.S. How does Dave stand?



CRC 1945-8-28 to parents

Cover: plain

From: Lt(jg) CR Cummins


FPO San Fran. Cal.

To: The Cummins

6109 Greenwood Ave.

Chicago, 37 Illinois

Postmark: U.S. NAVY 30 AUG 1945

Stamp: 6¢ red airmail

Censor: double line, PASSED BY NAVAL CENSOR, with AIR MAIL below, initials THS(?)


28 August


Guten abend,

That it is too—with cool tropic breezes blowing—and very soon we’ll be headed up where the breezes aren’t quite so cool.

We have been well occupied, but there isn’t much that can written of. We have all been greatly peeved because of the Navy point system (no credit for overseas time), and this has taken up a considerable portion of our conversation—besides dampening our spirits immeasurable.

I have wondered if you remembered an Alquist family from Iron Mountain, Mich. This Alquist (or “Axel’) is in the 1st Marine Div.—rode with us to Pelelui. Since we have been here we have come to know and like him even more.

No, mom, I am not too thin. As a matter of fact I am not sending you one picture taken with the doctor that I did not like because it showed me at a disadvantage in this respect. I am attempting now (and will be until I am home) to return a little closer to my boyhood weight.

Of these pictures: one is taken with Dr. Davis, my roommate from Pearl Harbor to here. The other two were taken ashore here while Tom and I were on one of our excursions. The ship’s photographer has taken an interesting series of pictures here. Because of our limited developing facilities I am only able to obtain one copy of most of the pictures. Joan and I should have a good collection by the time we are able to colaborate. The answer that I received to my request to have you have your pictures taken was most unsatisfactory. Would you two like a spanking.

Joan and I are going to have an apartment as soon as possible—I hope that there is one waiting when I arrive though I would love to help her choose it.

You women! Send me names and information about people, but never any concrete facts that would help me locate someone—address, ship, unit, etc.! A.A. is on Okinawa, Bill Banks is flying form Pearly Harbor to someplace on the west coast. Oh! Oh!

Your rationing should be gradually lifted (after a while, at least)—so that you can have an easier time shopping.

In all sincerity I say not to send Christmas packages. You can hold a special Christmas celebration for me when I am with you—though it may be several months late. Even if you sent packages to me now, the way we are bouncing around the high seas, they would be very unlikely to ever catch me—certainly not by 25 Dec.

It is uncertain when I’ll be there. I know I’ll be far from the first out. This look as if it will be a long process. Just so we keep moving and busy I’ll be content for a time.

Much love,