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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Cries of Victory

Lieut. Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Friday 10 August 1945. 12:40 A.M.
(Really Saturday morning)
My Dearest,
     The wonderful news that the war is over came over the air about nine o'clock this evening. Although officially the war is still on and they are still fighting I pray that corroboration of victory will be made by morning.
     I worked all morning and after lunch the skipper, another officer and I got a boat and headed for town. There we picked up a jeep and really saw the island. We covered over ninety miles by land and about twenty-five by sea and didn't get back to the ship until 11:45 PM in a pouring rain. However there was ample shelter on the boat and we didn't get very wet.
     It was while we were drinking beer at a club ashore that the news came over the radio and pandemonium broke out in the club. The harbor was suddenly lit up like a Xmas tree. There were tremendous numbers of red, green and white lights plus long fingers of searchlights reaching out and illuminating the heavens. Sirens and boat whistles were blowing and rockets and flares rose to add to the illumination of the skies.
     We got into our jeep and headed back to our boat which was docked a mere twenty miles away. The roads were jam packed with servicemen and civilians. Horns were blowing, engines were roaring and cries of victory pervaded the atmosphere. By the time we reached town there were plenty of drunks on the street. Tomorrow there will be many big, aching, heads. Still, in spite of all the excitement I can just imagine how people back home celebrated. There was I'm sure, plenty of everything I described plus many an aching hearts and tears as well. Such is VJ day. I really fear for world civilization if another conflict should occur in years to come.
     There is plenty of speculation aboard as to what happens now and when we will go home. No one knows now but certainly in a few days policies will be adopted. Then we'll know better where we all stand.
     No mail today except for the August Esquire, so I have very little to add. Goodnight Sweetheart, I'll see you in my dreams (if I can sleep -- too excited.). I guess I'll read a little first. I began a book by Phillip Wylie entitled "Generation of Vipers." It is a critique on the American way of life. Though it sounds like heavy reading I'm finding it quite interesting and easy to read.
     Again my darling goodnight and pleasant dreams that will soon come true. Kiss our girls for me. Tell them their daddy loves them and you too and misses you all so much.

Love,
Gil

Victory Celebration pictures at Service Squadron Ten Anchorage, Leyte Gulf. The U.S.S. Ocelot was the flagship for the squadron. Note the proviso "This picture is not mailable under existing censorship regulations. Printed aboard U.S.S. AJAX"




Pictures Taken From the USS Ocelot in Leyte Gulf on August 10