Category Archives: 1944

CRC 1944-5-8 to parents

Stationery: “Robert Cummins” in silver, in sans-serif font

Cover: unmarked stationery, red 6¢ airmail stamp plus 2¢ John Adams

Postmarked U.S. NAVY, 144, May 9, 830AM, from:  Ens C R Cummins, Flot 30, Ft. Pierce, Fla, to: The Cummins Domain, 6109 Greenwood Ave., Chicago, 37, Illinois, Airmail


8 May 1944

Three cheers, chillun!

Once more we are of on our disconnected tour of the continent—this time to Panama City, Florida tomorrow. It is quite likely that we will loaf there for several weeks, just as we have been here for the past two weeks—just read, exercise, see movies. I don’t know anything concerning a leave, but have great hopes of wrangling one soon.

Today I was clearing up essential details. I wrote several letters, and decided to wait to write David and Emil Weis until I know my new address.

I will be aboard an LST (landing ship, tanks). You have probably seen numerous pictures of them. Remember lovely mother, I expect you to know much more than Mrs. Matchett concerning the activities of her son.

Pop, you were correct about being anxious to move. I am completely “fed up” with all the petty politics, deals, etc. here and I hope I can get someplace in the navy where these are minimized and ability is of some account. Then too, I am a “big city” man and these small towns do not present excitement of any sort for a man-in-waiting.

Loyd, congratulations on the bank account—how about a loan one of these days? How are the Chicago belles?

Sis, I am going to write you tomorrow or Wed., so hold your breath until then.

Love & Kisses, Bob



CRC 1944-7-15 to parents

Cover: plain with “AIR MAIL” stamped below censor stamp

From: Ens CR Cummins

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”


15 July


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,

Louise, Loyd



1944-7-24 to LDC

Stationery: red stripes air mail

Cover: from: Ens CR Cummins, OSSLST 661, FPO San Francisco, Calif

to: Master DL Cummins, 6109 Greenwood Avenue, Chicago, 37, Illinois


Postmark: U.S. NAVY, Aug 2, 9:30 AM, 1944 over “Free” handwritten

some arithmetic in pencil on reverse


24 July 1800

Dearest Ones,

Am all tucked in in my birthday suit prepared to sleep in preparation for a night watch. Can you imagine Robert going to bed this early? We lost an hour tonight, this being part of the cause. Tomorrow we cross the equator and the International Date line, and are consequently initiated into the mysteries of the orders of Neptunus Rex and the Golden Dragon—the former for the equator and the latter for the date line. [there are photos of this ceremony—msc]

The thermometer is high—accounting for my unclothed condition and perspiration marks in the paper.

Today I am beginning another one of my new programs—the novel components of which are: a period of sunbathing in the late afternoon (at the same time do my sadly neglected letter-writing), some form of exercise during the day (probably basketball after the evening meal), and eight hours sleep.

Honolulu was quite similar to any city of its size in the U.S.—except for the absence of apartment buildings, all buildings were one-story then, too, the high proportion of brown and yellow skins. The main form of entertainment was movies. Everyone must be off the streets by 2200.

The famous Royal Hawaiian Hotel On Waikiki Beach is now devoted completely to naval personnel. Here they had almost every form of sport plus other features such as movies, orchestra. Tom and I had a fine time swimming and playing Waikiki Beach this one day.

The day before we left I visited friend’s of Joan on the island. They have an attractive home overlooking a beautiful bay, surrounded by low-lying hills. We had charcoal steak—directly from heaven. They were pleasant, well-informed people—my knowledge of the politics of the island, and the history were much improved. It was wonderful to sit in an easy chair and almost forget about wars for a while.

The sea was rough the first three days keeping the Marines, our tough passengers in the sack for the major portion of the time. Since then we have had a slight continuous roll.

My reading has been fairly plentiful but I have had too many other affairs to attend too. I finished the tests I was giving my men for advancement in rates. This took a long time and much consideration.

We have had several instructional and reasonably entertaining films. Church services have been held each Sunday. These are simple gatherings conducted by one of our physicians—with prayer, music, and a few words of wisdom.

Mom, pop, sis, Loyd—goodnight for now—be back with my pen very soon.

Love and kisses,



CRC 1944-8-12 to family

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

Dear ones,

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).


            13 August


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,


CRC 1944-10-25 to parents


Cover: vertical red stripes at left, broken by blue “air mail” script, on reverse “AIR MAIL” in blue, with red stripes over and under

From: Ens CR Cummins USS LST 661

FPO San Fran, Cal.

To: Mr. & Mrs. C M Cummins, 6109 Greenwood Ave., Chicago, 37, Illinois

Stamp: 6¢ red airmail, postmarked U. S. NAVY 25 OCT 1944

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


24 Oct


Hi! chillun,

I hope you are as happy and taking like as easy as we are out here. Mom, you might prefer our weather here to that that you must be having now—Winter is here for us too, or approaching—it is 110º-115º at the hottest (1400) but at night it drops away down to 85º-90º. We have done nothing outside of the regular ship’s routine for close to a month—except a little extra cleaning and painting though we could not carry much paint because of the fire hazard—of course we can carry high octane gasoline and high explosives. The guns are all in excellent condition—well painted et al.

My center of attention has been getting some form of athletic program—basketball has been our forte so far, with ping pong and horseshoes in supporting roles. We have a good basketball court set up on the tank deck. In our tournament the Gunner’s are leading—haven’t yet lost a game (plug). I have been playing for exercise’s sake and enjoying it tremendously—though perhaps the signs of old age and degeneration are not absent (22 ½ years old, whew!)

Last night a double feature movie entered our simple life (untainted by women, etc.)—“Gentleman Jim,” concerning the boxer Jim Corbett, was by far the better of the two. This was the first show we had seen in months, making it great fun—though my eyes were quite weary when it was all over.

Mail now arrives about every other day.

We spend the remainder of our free time in reading or playing bridge—but some of use seem to manage to keep very busy.

Here it is the following morning. I have been perusing your letters but find few answered questions.

Hugh should like his duty in Panama—at least for a while. Those that I talked to there seemed to have been weary of it all.

So mother was nervous before her first Round Table meeting—a campaigner such as she is, too.

Was sorry to here of Ellsworth’s misfortune—life as an officer is certainly a pleasanter and cleaner life, though in a specialty branch in the states it won’t make much difference. He used to be extremely healthy, but has hit a hard run of physical ailments.

By now you must have a good idea as to what action we were in—at least Joan does. How with the invasion of the Philippines having taken place without us, there would not seem to be many invasions remaining—but those that will come will be much tougher for the navy.

Yes, mom, I can picture you settling down, just caring for your grandchildren, darning & knitting. When I see this I shall truly know that the age of miracles has not yet passed. Just exactly when are you going to begin having grandchildren would be another good question. Though at the present time I am the only wayward son that has strayed for from home. The U.S. seems a long way away from here—farther than it actually is. Being at home with your loved ones nears seems such a far cry from here. We all miss it more than you will ever know—our thoughts and our dreams are always centered there, and we move through our routine as if we were some form of automatons. Our prayers are for you and your well-being, our worries for you and not for ourselves—so for us do all you can to keep healthy and happy until we shall be back to slam the ice box door and leave rings on the bath tub.

Your loving son,


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 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,