Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Fouled Up

U.S.S. OCELOT (IX-110)
c/o Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, California
Wednesday, 5 September 1945, 1:45 AM
Dearest Darling,
     Here I am writing to you early in the morning again. With the various fleet movements and personnel changes, my appointments are all fouled up. Out of five appointments this morning not one showed up.
This afternoon I took ashore the cosmetics you sent me and traded most of them for some souvenirs. I got a set of mother of pearl which should make up into a beautiful ring and earring set, some woven sandals, two beaded bags, two native bracelets and some shells. When we get to Okinawa maybe I'll be able to trade off the rest of the stuff. They went for the perfume and nail polish. The lipstick was the hardest to get rid of but I did get $1.00 in trade minimum for each item, some $2.00.
     We got back to the ship at 5:15 so I showered before going to chow. After chow the tug I usually use came alongside and seven of us went over to Tolosa for the evening. While we were there I met some USO entertainers that had been aboard and we visited. I even had a short dance with one of the girls. I'd have enjoyed it much more if it were you whom I was dancing with. At 11:15 we went out on the dock but we didn't shove off until 11:35. Arrived at the Ocelot at 12:30 and went to the wardroom for a sandwich and coffee. Now here I am.
     Because it is late I'm going to sign off now. Goodnight my Sweet and pleasant dreams.
Your husband who loves you,
Gil


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Censorship Ain't No Mo

U.S.S. OCELOT (IX-110)
c/o Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, California
Tuesday 4 Sept 1945, 9:30 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
     Hello Honey, the lid is off. Censorship ain't no mo? Fire away.
     Briefly here is what happened when we got to Pearl. Commodore Carter, Commander of Service Squadron Ten was looking for a flagship and since the Ocelot had no definite duty to perform, she was it. For nine weeks we lay along the dock while the shipyard equipped the ship for his duty. A service squadron has the duty of supplying food, clothes, ammunition, fuel, personnel and anything else you can think of to the fleet. The Ocelot was the floating headquarters and we housed about 85 officers and 700 men on our ship. Squadron 10 grew by leaps and bounds and soon there were several divisions functioning at Eniwetok, Ulithi, Leyte, Saipan and Okinawa. When Commodore Carter went back to the states, Rear Admiral A. E. Smith relieved him as Commander of Squadron Ten. In addition, Service Division 101 under Commodore Du Val also was established aboard. Now that the war is over, the Squadron is breaking up. 101 is going to China and Korea and Squadron 10 to Okinawa and then Japan.
Here's the good news. The Ocelot is very old and has no place in a peacetime Navy. There are many newer vessels suitable for flag ships. Admiral Smith has asked for another and is supposed to get it within thirty days. Further the Ocelot has no heating in crews' quarters and isn't suited for duty in a cold climate. So the scuttlebutt is that as soon as the Squadron gets its new flag ship we'll go back to the U.S. for decommissioning.
     I've never even intimated it before but we did have a few visitors while we were in Ulithi. I saw a tanker torpedoed and sunk about 2000 yards from our ship. One night before the movies while we were singing Red River Valley, two Jap planes flew overhead. We all cussed them out thinking they were our own. The reason for the cursing was that they were flying very low and without lights. Anyway the Randolph, a carrier, was about 1000 yards astern. Suddenly one of the planes dove and the whole anchorage lit up. There were numerous casualties but the ship was repaired and back in action in two weeks. We've had other lesser excitements but we came through OK. I'm surprised you never read about it in the Outlook. Dave saw the item about it which was broadcast by Tokyo Rose. He cut it out and sent it to me. He hoped you hadn't seen it and didn't call your attention to it lest you worry unnecessarily.
     So much for that. Today was quite a busy day for me but no dentistry, just collateral duties. We are slated to leave for Okinawa on the 7th and it'll take 5 to 6 days to make the run. We will be anchored in Buckner Bay so if Leon does ship out tell him to look for me. The Ocelot is a famous ship and anyone who has seen duty in the West Pacific knows about her. He shouldn't have any trouble finding it.
     Just think Darling in another month or six weeks I may be homeward bound. I get so excited just thinking about coming home to you and the kids that I wonder how I'll act when the thought becomes a reality.
     We had a good movie tonight. Gary Cooper and Loretta Young in "Along Comes Jones" was it and quite good.
     I got five letters and a card all from you but they were marked the 22nd and 23rd of August. I've already received some of the 25th so all the news was old. By now you are home and I hope the stay up at Lake Arrowhead was real nice. Yes Dear we have a honeymoon to go on and I hope it's real soon. I'm a lousy writer of love letters but when I get back I'll prove personally that I'm no amateur.
     So Sweet, I'll sign off. Goodnight and pleasant dreams.
Love
Gil

Outlook Article About Bombing of the Randolph























Saturday, May 20, 2017

Bitch of a Day

U.S.S. OCELOT (IX-110)
c/o Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, California
Monday, 3 September 1945, 1:30 AM
Dearest Eleanor,
     Hello darling. Here is your busy husband again. This has been one "bitch" of a day. I was busy all morning and ran into the toughest extraction to date. I worked for a whole hour. When we were through I was more worn out than the patient.
     Captain Hartfield got his orders yesterday and turned over his command to the new skipper this afternoon. I had several monthly reports that he had to sign. Since he was scheduled to leave about 5:00 PM I had to hustle to get them out.
     At 3:45 I took a VP over to Tolosa and brought back a USO show. It was called Lucky Seven and consisted of five women and two men. They are a colored troupe and they sure have rhythm. A colored lieutenant colonel (medical officer) came along with them. I had an interesting talk with him. The show was excellent and at 9:15 I had a picket boat pick us up to return the troupe to Tolosa.
     Just as we came alongside the dock it began to rain and our return trip was really rough. It blew and rained so hard that there was a solid sheet of rain around us and we couldn't see more that a few feet ahead of our bow. The run ordinarily takes thirty-five minutes, but it took one hour and fifteen minutes to get back to the Ocelot. Naturally when we sighted the Ocelot the rain eased up. Then I went up to the wardroom and sat around and talked until just a few moments ago.
     No mail today. I'll be glad when everything gets squared away again and the mail service becomes more dependable. You'll never know how disappointed I am when the mailman passes by my office without dropping anything from my Sweet off (split infinitives--such grammar!) Of course it isn't your fault. I know you write me every day, but I'm still registering my complaint.
     Today is Labor Day but until an hour ago none of us were even cognizant of the holiday. Oh well the only holiday I'm looking to is when I get back to my own sweet wife and darling kiddies.
     Goodnight Honey, it really is time for me to turn in. We have quarters for muster (line up in formation to be accounted for) at 8:00 AM so I'd better get some shuteye pronto. See you in my dreams.
Love,
Gil






Friday, May 19, 2017

Picket Boat Is My Favorite

U.S.S. OCELOT (IX-110)
c/o Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, California
Sunday, 2 September 1945, 10:35 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
     Sunday, a day of rest or so it says in the "big book." I spent most of the morning working on next week's menus and getting the stewards squared away on how I wanted things done.
     After lunch I got me a tug and went over to Tolosa for a few beers. There were three of us in the party. We had a new tug today, a seventy-five footer with a crew of ten men. The US Navy got this ship from New Zealand, a reverse land lease deal. It cost $145,000. You've probably wondered why I've been using tugs most of the time. Well they are more comfortable than a VP or a whaleboat and make better time. Of course the picket boat is still my favorite but there are only two available and they are hard to get. Anyway we got back to the Ocelot at 6:30 just in time for a late turkey dinner with all the trimmings.
     After chow I went up on the forecastle and listened to music until movie time. We had another pyrotechnical display tonight to celebrate VJ Day. It didn't come up to the August 10 celebration. Do you realize that though it was September 2nd here when the treaty was signed that it was still September 1st in the United States? Tomorrow will be Labor Day here, but you'll be celebrating VJ Day. Confusing isn't it?
     Tonight's movie was "A Blonde from Brooklyn," a class B picture but not too bad. Also we had a short about Port Hueneme.
     No mail today so this is thirty for tonight. Goodnight Darling until tomorrow.
Loving you as ever,
Gil

Picket boat being launched at Kirkland Marine during WWII.



Thursday, May 18, 2017

Censorship Relaxed

U.S.S. OCELOT (IX-110)
c/o Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, California
Saturday 1 September 1945, 10:30 PM

Dearest Darling,
     And now begins a new month. Today has been hot and sultry and I did have my usual busy morning. I spent this afternoon bringing the wardroom books up to date and closing them for last month. After eleven months on this job I finally convinced the Captain to appoint a new treasurer and what happens but I get elected as caterer. Instead of handling the money, I'll have to prepare the menus, and supervise the wardroom, officer's quarters and the stewards who work in officer's country. One consolation is that a new caterer is elected every two months and cannot be re-elected unless he is willing.
     At 5:00 P.M. I showered and dressed for dinner. After chow we played cribbage and then to the movies. We had "Nob Hill," with George Raft and Sally Blaine. Not a bad movie but nothing too exciting.
     Censorship rules have been relaxed to the extent that we can now say where we are but not where we are going. From the enclosed pictures you can guess where we are. If you'll look on a large map you'll find San Pedro (or Pablo) Bay in the Northern part of Leyte Gulf. We are anchored in the bay about 12 miles south of Tacloban which is the capital of Leyte. When I've mentioned using the tug I usually went there or to Tulosa which is about 8 miles east on Leyte. We are really closer to Samar and there is an excellent officers club there and also a large enlisted men's recreation area. The only objection is that one is confined to the area and there are no roads to go places and do things. Simmie is about 2 miles north of Tulosa and I've already been past Dulag which is 20 miles north of Tulosa. This town is rather primitive and the civilians are poor and live in filth and squalor. However the Navy Club is nice and is open at night which explains its attraction over the others that secure at 5:00 P.M.
     Has Leon left yet? If he has write him and if he hasn't tell him to look for the Ocelot when he reports in. We will be in that neck of the woods one of these days. By the way soon there may be no mail for five days or so but I know you'll understand.
I got four letters today, two from you and one each from Mike and my sister Libby. I was glad that Nat's operation is over and that all went well.
     Maybe we won't stay up north long. I have good and valid reasons but can't discuss them as yet. Anyway there is a good chance of us heading home in a month or two and I personally feel it would be a safe bet. Anyway the Ocelot is an old ship and would be one of the first to be decommissioned when the program gets underway.
     Please darling don't be too unhappy or pessimistic. This sudden end of the war has disrupted the rotation plan and we may be apart a month or two longer this way. But it is over and I'll be a civilian again a lot quicker than I ever dreamed a month ago. Points for sea duty will be given in a couple of months and I bet that fathers will also get extra points. Anyway I believe I'll be out by March but I'll be home months before that.
     Goodnight my love, I do miss you and need you and pray than soon we can talk things over instead of this long range correspondence.
Yours forever
Gil

Gil's Photos of Leyte


















Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Censorship Not Lifted

U.S.S. OCELOT (IX-110)
c/o Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, California
Friday 31 August 1945, 10:15 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
     Hello Sweet. It is the end of another month. One of these days, the end of the month will be the time for sending out statements and paying bills. Will I love it!
     Had another busy morning but had nothing to do in the afternoon, field day you know. So I read for awhile and then showered and dressed for dinner. After that a little cribbage until movie time and after that here I am. Tonight's movie was "Salome, Where She Danced." She wasn't a bad little number but the movie itself stank. Guess we can't have everything, can we?
     I got letters from you marked the 22nd and 24th and one from my mother. I still haven't written anyone. I owe practically everyone. One of these days I'll get ambitious and catch up.
     Your letter of the 22nd was the letter Libby sent to you, so there isn't much for me to say there. She is really worried about Nat though she doesn't write like she is. At least that is my impression.
     I'm glad the Bergmans arrived. Now you'll company until you leave Lake Arrowhead.
     Tell "I" he has a refund coming. He gets an extra whiff of gas the next time I work on him.
     I really haven't thought too much about an office. I'll be back in the states with time to serve in the Navy. That'll give me a chance to look around. At least that's the way I've got it doped out now.
     Censorship has not been lifted as yet but as soon as it is I'll have lots to tell you.
     In the meantime darling keep hoping and maybe one day real soon the happy news that I'm coming home will become a reality. Night my love until tomorrow.
Devotedly,
Gil

Qualification report dated on this day, but not mentioned in the letter.








Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Too Many Dental Requests

U.S.S. OCELOT (IX-110)
c/o Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, California
Thursday 30 August 1945, 7:00 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
     Hello Sweet, here I am again. It was close to morning when we got back from the beach last night. I was fairly sober and after a good night's sleep I feel swell.
     This morning was the usual busy one with more requests for dental treatment than I could possibly handle. I take as many as I can and refer the others to nearby ships. This afternoon we had a series of drills: fire, abandon ship, and general quarters. Then back to my room I went. "Sodom by the Sea" is quite an interesting history of Coney Island and I'm enjoying reading it. At 5:00 PM I showered and dressed for dinner. After a delicious chicken dinner here I am.
     I got one letter from you today and it is postmarked the 18th, two days prior to the ones I received two days ago. I'm sorry you don't like the set up there. You sound sorry you went but I'm sure after a few days you'll get used to it and enjoy your stay. I figured you'd be nervous making the move by yourself which was why I suggested, when your plans got fouled up, that you stay home. Anyway by now you should be over your nerves and with a little company I'm sure everything will work out okay. Cedar Glenn is where we rented the Rausch House. Yes I do remember that vacation. A wonderful weekend, that is all it really was.
     The location opposite the Board of Education on 6th Street sounds okay but I bet the property is high. You can investigate it when you get home but don't do anything in a hurry.
     Tonight's movie is a real oldie, "Hurricane" with Dorothy Lamour and Jon Hall. Remember it?
     No more for now Darling. So good night and pleasant vacation.
Love
Gil

U.S.S. Ocelot