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Friday, June 30, 2017

Shipwrecked

AMERICAN RED CROSS
11 October 1945
Dearest Eleanor,
     Now your husband is a real shipwrecked sailor. Another typhoon hit this area two days ago (I think). I've lost all track of time. Because we were not fixed up for sea we ran into trouble again. This time we hit a reef and had to abandon ship. I left the ship, down a line and onto a raft and hit the beach. Outside of a couple of scratches on my legs I'm okay, so don't worry about me. Most installations on Okinawa were wrecked so we are all living in makeshift quarters. The first night I slept on the floor of a galley, but last night I did manage a camp cot.
     All the clothes and gear I have is what I had on and some greens that I got ashore. We've made arrangements to take a few of us back aboard to salvage a few essentials. Everything else is gone either through pilferage or due to the storm. We had three serious casualties that were flown to Guam. A few had minor injuries. All are out of sick bay now. The food consists of C or K rations and I can't say I care for it. If I have to subsist on this food long I'm sure to lose weight.
     No one knows how long it'll be before we are evacuated. I think I'll be home before I would have otherwise.
     Here are a few things you should know. Don't worry if my mail isn't regular. I'll write as often as possible. Don't write me any more unless you get a new address from me. All my mail will be held up. Even the post office here is gone.
     I've got to close now because I want this letter to get off as CB (Seabee) mail. Don't worry darling. I'll try to write again tomorrow.

Love,
Gil

Ocelot survivors the "morning after"



Newspaper article







Thursday, June 29, 2017

Nothing Written



Wednesday 10 October 1945

Okinawa
Typhoon track
Click on the link to read more about the fate of the USS Ocelot
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_shipwrecks_in_October_1945



Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Typhoon Louise

Tuesday 9 October 1945

Okinawa

Lt. Gilbert Steingart did not write to his wife Eleanor.



Category 3 typhoon (SSHWS)
Peak intensity 185 km/h (115 mph) (1-min) 969 mbar (hPA)



For more about Typhoon Louise.  Read more on Naval History and Heritage Command by clicking the link below
https://www.history.navy.mil/research/library/online-reading-room/title-list-alphabetically/p/pacific-typhoon-october-1945.html



Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Letters Lost

Monday 8 October 1945


Gil wrote to Eleanor, his sister Libby and his mother. All the letters were lost.

On the day before, 7 October, Gil commented that he had "seen Okinawa. It must have been a pretty place before the war. ...Where a town or village stood, there is just a mass of rubble. .. I've seen enough and don't care to go ashore again."

Path of Typhoon Louise



Monday, June 26, 2017

I've Seen Okinawa

U.S.S. OCELOT (IX-110)
c/o Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, California
Sunday 7 October 1945, 11:45 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
     Finally got ashore today. Now I've seen Okinawa. It must have been a pretty place before the war. There are still many spots resplendent with wild beauty. However wherever a town or village stood, there is just a mass of rubble. Naha has very few structures still standing and those that are minus a wall, roof or both. The enclosed snap taken by another officer last week is typical of the appearance of most buildings. I visited numerous towns and villages. In fact the majority are in even worse shape than the one pictured. Only piles of ruble and rock. On the other hand the land is quite fertile. Outside the vicinities of villages and towns, trees, bushes, sugar cane other vegetation and flowers (especially hibiscus) make for beautiful scenery.
     The island is quite hilly. In the hillsides, thousands of caves can be seen. There are numerous burial tombs in the hills. The hollowed out interiors have altars and a space for burying the dead. Undoubtedly the Japs holed up in these tombs and had to be blasted out. Many of them are sealed up now, though most are still open. However I wasn't curious enough to look into any of them. I'll believe what others said as to what is on the inside.
     There are many Jap prisoners and they are working willingly without being under guard. They got about six cents a day as Jap soldiers. Now as prisoners of war they get forty cents or more a day. Why shouldn't they like the change? The natives are dirty. Though not antagonistic, they still are not friendly. They live in reservations. Up till September 15 they couldn't leave those areas. Now however they have the run of the island.
We got ashore about 9:30 and rode around steadily until three o'clock so we saw plenty. In fact I've seen enough and don't care to go ashore again. I may make a run in just to buy some military currency as souvenirs. Enclosed is a ten sen note worth about six cents. I plan on buying 200 one sen notes and mail them to patients with greetings from Okinawa. Two hundred will cost sixty-six cents and I think that'll be good advertising. Don't you?
     I got four letters today, two from you, one from Libby and one from my mother. All of the 27th. You seem to be getting quite a bit of teaching. That should keep you busy and that is also good for you. Linda's school problem: as soon as peacetime adjustments are made and a normal routine resumes, it will correct itself. In the meantime, we and she will have to make the best of it.
     Tonight's movie was a stinker but the shorts were interesting. The program is enclosed. I'll sign off. It is past midnight and I'm tired and sleepy. Goodnight darling, how about paying me a visit in my dreams tonight?

Love,
Gil


Photos of Naha










Ten Sen




Movie






Sunday, June 25, 2017

Work on Ship Moving Along

U.S.S. OCELOT (IX-110)
c/o Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, California
Saturday 6 October 1945, 10:00 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
     Well I did a little work today but instead of having a few week's work I'll have only a couple of days. I guess I worked too hard at it before. Now there is nothing to do.
     Dr. Bushyager's relief came aboard today, so Bushy should be leaving in a couple of days. He got air transportation authorized in his orders, so he'll be back in the United States inside of ten days.
     Although we haven't received anything official, we heard over the radio that officers only need 45 points now. Just as I figured I'll have enough points by March 1 or sooner if there are any more reductions. However don't plan on my being out when I get back. I'll be lacking a few points. Being a dentist I can work for a month or more in the United States without having to learn a new job as line officers would.
     Work on the ship is moving right along. If the weather stays nice, repairs should be complete long before the 22nd and then we'll be on our way.
     Today, the mail brought me two letters from you and a card from Ethyl. Your letters were marked the 24th. Those letters were slow in coming. I've received letters through the 29th. Catalina sounds good to me. I know we'll enjoy our vacation there next year. It's a date.
     Tonight's movie was "Those Endearing Young Charms" with Robert Young and Lorraine Day. It was amusing, in fact good for a few laughs. We also had a community sing film. We all sang lustily.
     Five of us are planning to go ashore tomorrow. Every time we plan to go something happens. Hope tomorrow will be different.
Goodnight darling. I love you.

Your faraway husband,
Gil

Medical officers
Gil (left) and Bushy (right)





Saturday, June 24, 2017

10,000 Miles from Home

U.S.S. OCELOT (IX-110)
c/o Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, California
Friday 5 October 1945
Dearest Eleanor,
     Now I'm out looking for work. I ordered all the men with forty or more points to report for examinations and found a week's work to do. It'll be nice to be busy for a change.
     Today was field day. After the corpsmen were supposed to be ready for inspection, I went through sick bay compartments and found several spaces that hadn't even been touched. I sure raised hell. That is my job as division officer. Anyway they turned to and cleaned the place up.
     This afternoon brought a stack of mail. I got nine letters, all from you ranging from September 22 to 29. Also an Esquire and Temple Tattler. The temple seems to have me on their mailing list so don't bother sending me any more yourself. I had already read the one I received today.
     Now to your letters. You don't have to write to anyone about courses. The Dental Association will have all the information for me when I want it. Also don't waste time or money looking for office space for me. I could be released when I get back, but unless the points are reduced by then I'll still have months to go. If I know the Navy, I'll get my leave and then have to report back for duty.
     I never said I'd be home in a month. You don't seem to realize that I'm about 10,000 miles from the United States which means twenty to thirty days by sea depending on the speed of the ship. In our case we could make it in twenty-five days, not counting stops. Sometime in the early part of December is still my guess.
     Take it easy gal; I'll get an assignment close to home. Terminal Island and Los Angeles both have demobilization centers and that is where I'll probably get duty. If not I will be at the hospital. Anyway without going to Washington, I'll have plenty of time to get my orders changed if I don't get what I want.
     You sure jump to conclusions. I didn't say Tokyo for repairs, but only mentioned that as a possibility. Of course by now you know that Tokyo is out. We'll go first to Guam and then home. That's the way it looks now.
     Don't do anything about a car. We'll need money for other things. It isn't any economy to buy a car when the Buick can be fixed up for $200. Remember there is a sales tax, luxury tax and higher prices now than later. Between fur coats and automobiles plus a trip to Mexico it looks like we'll be fresh out of money when we'll need it the most. Come to earth Sweet and be reasonable for a change.
     If Leon is going overseas now we'll never meet unless he flies out. We'll be out of Okinawa before he can possibly get here by sea. But who know, I could bump into him at Guam or Pearl.
     I hope that by now you've seen Dr. Lewis and found that all is well. You've had enough worries in the past twenty-one months without any female trouble. When I get back, I'm sure you'll snap out of it. Anyway see Dr. Lewis and don't just talk about it.
     You've mentioned quite a bit about Ruth and Dick in your letters. Frankly I'm disgusted with both of them. It is only to keep peace in the family that I write Ruth an occasional letter. Probably when I get back I'll tell her off. She can get into one's hair.
     Tonight's movie was an oldie, "Stagecoach" with John Wayne and Claire Trevor. Very good just the same, so who cares if it's old or new?
     That is thirty for tonight Darling. As hard as it'll be for the next few weeks, please be patient and don't do anything you'd be sorry for later.

Love,
Gil

Dick, Gil's nephew
  
Ruth, Gil's sister-in-law










Friday, June 23, 2017

Brinker is a Pharmacist Mate

U.S.S. OCELOT (IX-110)
c/o Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, California
Thursday 4 October 1945, 9:15 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
     Hello my Darling here I am again. I awoke this morning bright and early and ready to go ashore. However it was quite rough out and we would have had a wet trip in to the beach. Besides it looked like rain so we postponed our trip. Instead I saw a few patients--very few indeed--and then read and played checkers. Somehow the day went.
     Saturday we are sending twenty-four men ashore and then back to the United States for them. They have the necessary points to get out. Among them are four pharmacist mates including my assistant Alexander. One of the other pharmacist mates lives in Burbank. If he gets back before we do I'm going to have him phone you. His name is Brinker and he is a very fine chap.
     Late this afternoon we got some mail aboard. I got two old letters from you that included Arrowhead pictures, plus a Southern California Dental Association Bulletin and the August B'nai B'rith National Monthly.   There is nothing new out here to tell about except that this cold spell is continuing. It is nice not to be sweating all the time. Sleeping in this weather is wonderful; one wakes up really rested and has a little zip in him all day.
     Tonight's movie was nothing to get excited about. It was "Why Girls Leave Home" with Lola Lane and Pamela Blake. It isn't worth looking for but it did kill 1-1/2 hours.
     Well Dear, goodnight and scratch another day off the list of days we are to be apart. I love you Sweet but can't tell you how much till I get home.
Yours and lonely,
Gil

Lake Arrowhead photo
Linda, Norma, Uncle Harry and others


Brinker stayed in touch after the war.








Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Medicinal Alcohol

U.S.S. OCELOT (IX-110)
c/o Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, California
Wednesday 3 October 1945, 1:30 AM
Dearest Eleanor,
     Hello Darling here I am again and a little late or should I say early in the morning. Well you see it was this way. Roger Kirk, who has been waiting for his relief for two months now, had a couple of fliers visit him. They are staying aboard. We've all been sitting up having a few drinks and just visiting. When I get ashore one of them has promised to get a jeep and show me Okinawa. I'll take a rain check on his promise.
     I did have a few appointments this morning but it didn't take me long to clean up for the day. The rest of the time went like yesterday and the day before.
     I finished "Mr. Winkle Goes to War." I am almost through with "Young Man with a Horn" a story about a talented trumpet player. I am enjoying the book a lot and think you'd like it too. The author is Dorothy Baker.
     Tonight's movie was "Blood on the Sun" with James Cagney and Sylvia Sidney. It was a good movie though some of the sequences weren't quite convincing.
     No mail at all today so I'm hoping for a jackpot tomorrow. The wind shifted and it's really cool tonight. In fact we broke out blankets. I think I'll use mine tonight.
     Nothing new about when we leave or when you can expect me. I bet I'm just as anxious about it all as you are.
     That is thirty for tonight Sweet so "nite-nite" and pleasant dreams.

Love,
Gil

Article from the Santa Monica Evening Outlook






Monday, June 19, 2017

Loafing Routine

U.S.S. OCELOT (IX-110)
c/o Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, California
Tuesday 2 October 1945, 9:35 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
     Hello Honey how is my Sweet today? I've had another routine day if you'd call loafing routine. I'm getting so rested you'll have a heck of a time holding me down, or will you?
I did spend two hours this morning on monthly and quarterly reports. Now they are out of the way for another thirty days. The rest of the day just went. What did I do? I read, played checkers, sat around and talked. There you have it. Even the mail wasn't anything to talk about. Just an old B'nai B'rith Bulletin (July).
     Tonight's movie was "Blonde Ransom" with Donald Cook and Virginia Grey. It began with the usual night club gamblers and racketeers and turned out to be very amusing.
     With the amount of activity or lack thereof it sure is hard to know what to write about. The repairs on the "Mighty O" are going right along but there is much to do before we can get underway. From the way things look now we'll be lucky to get out of here in two weeks. However, who knows, tomorrow it may be another be another story.
     I'll sign off now Sweetheart. Goodnight and pleasant dreams.
Love,
Gil
P.S. With the lack of activity even having a haircut is something. Well, I did have that done today.



Sunday, June 18, 2017

Final Say

U.S.S. OCELOT (IX-110)
c/o Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, California
Monday 1 October 1945, 10:00 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
     A new week and a new month. Hope that as this month gets older I find myself closer and closer to you. Everyone on the Ocelot is anxious to get going. But the gold braid have the final say and take their sweet time about things. Stall as they will however, we hope to be back early in December. If they do go to work on us real quick like it may even be November.
     Today being the beginning of a new month, there were a number of reports to make out and I'm just barely started on them. However they should all be out in a few days. No dentistry again today just my new routine of loafing and finding that awfully hard to do.
     I'm reading "Mr. Winkle Goes to War" and find it both amusing and interesting. I think you'd enjoy reading it.
     The mail came just as we were finishing dinner and I read your letter for dessert. There was also a letter from your mother who is visiting in Philly. I'm glad you didn't let my letter about the storm worry you. I was afraid to tell you about it but everyone else was writing home about it, so I changed my mind.
     My heavy duties as caterer are no more. With just 15 officers to feed the job is very easy. We are living in flag quarters and eating in what was the admiral's wardroom.
     I don't know what'll happen to my account of the storm when the Evening Outlook gets it and frankly I don't care.
     Guess you haven't gotten all my letters yet. I never did have piles but I did have a fistula which Dr. Law cauterized--now you know what was wrong with my "tochas."
     Tonight's movie was "Captain Eddie," the story of the crash of the Rickenbacker plant and his life, a very interesting movie.
     As soon as I'm through I'll shower and read until I get sleepy. So goodnight Sweet. Love and kisses to all my three girls.
Devotedly,
Gil

U.S.S. Ocelot




Saturday, June 17, 2017

Another Typhoon

U.S.S. OCELOT (IX-110)
c/o Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, California
Sunday 30 September 1945, 9:45 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
     Sunday, the day of rest. Am I resting! I'm getting so lazy it's even hard to get me to go to eat. No appointments today, no work, no nothing. Loafing, playing checkers, reading and eating make up my day's activities. I did have a 3rd molar abscess to lance and drain at 5:15 this afternoon but I'm sure being overpaid for the amount of work I'm doing.
     We were standing by for another typhoon today but she veered off to the south and hit Formosa instead. However even in the bay, the sea was choppy enough that we took all our small boats aboard rather than risk losing them. It was roughest about noon and it has calmed down considerably since then.
By tomorrow everything should be peaceful and quiet once more.
     Because of the rough sea we didn't send or receive any mail today. Fortunately we did have an extra movie aboard so we showed it tonight. It was "Once Upon a Time" with Cary Grant, the story about a dancing caterpillar. Anyway old as it was, it did prove worth re-seeing and did help an hour or so pass a little quicker.
     After the movie I played some ping pong again and worked up a good sweat. Anyway I cooled off with a nice shower and now here I am.
     Not another thing to write about Sweet so I'll say goodnight.

Loving You Always,
Gil 

Negative of USS Ocelot




Friday, June 16, 2017

Waiting to Get "H"

U.S.S. OCELOT (IX-110)
c/o Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, California
Saturday 29 September 1945, 10:45 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
     Here I am my darling, still sitting and waiting for the word to get the "h" out of here. I saw a few patients this morning. Most of the days just drag along now. The latest dope is that we'll be out of here in about ten days. Still you'd better not look for me much before December 1. I pray that I'm not raising you hopes falsely again, but it looks like the real thing this time.
     This afternoon I wrote letters to Uncles Mike and Bill and one to Libby as well. Then I began a mystery story called "Fast Company." After dinner we talked until movie time. The feature was "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town." I enjoyed it as much as I did nine years ago. After the movie Dr. Bushyager and I played ping pong for about 45 minutes and now here I am.
     Something very unusual happened today. Mail came aboard, but there was none for me. All the officers kidded me about it because I had my hand out when the mail orderly came in. I was so sure. Oh well, I know my Sweet loves me and I love her. I'll get twice as much mail next time.
     Darling, there is not another darn thing to write about. So goodnight and pleasant dreams.
Love,
Gil


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Getting Patched Up

Lieut. Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Friday 28 September 1945, 9:35 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
     Hello my darling, here I am again. Today was still just another day. We are slowly but surely getting all patched up and soon we'll be on our way. I did a little work this morning but there is hardly enough to keep me busy.
     One of boys smashed his finger cutting a couple of tendons. For lack of anything else to do I watched the operation which lasted almost two hours. Then I retired to my room and read for awhile. I finished "Star Spangled Virgin" and then showered and dressed for dinner. After chow we all sat around in the wardroom until movie time and after that here I am. The movie consisted of two good shorts and a good murder-detective story with Edward Arnold. "The Hidden Eye."
The mail brought me two letters of the 20th and since yesterday's was of the 21st it brings me up to date.
     Between Linda's vomiting spells and your cold, you must have had a miserable time. Thank goodness Norma is okay now.
     Squadron 10 serviced both the 3rd or 5th fleets. While we were in Ulithi we were attacked three times.
     Once a group of midget subs got through the nets or over a break in the reef and sank a tanker. Before they could do anymore damage we sank four and believed that was all of them.
     Another time an ammunition ship was hit by subs and again all the subs that were detected were sunk.
     Of course the "Kamikaze" (suicide attack) by three bombers was the most exciting. We were at the movies. At that time many of our own planes, all with their lights own, were flying overhead. Just about ten minutes after the movie started a plane without lights flew over us at a very low altitude. We cussed that pilot out saying he ought to be shot down for flying so low without lights. Suddenly, dead astern from us the whole sea lit up. The Randolph was hit. The general quarters alarm sounded and as I dashed aft to my station Sorline Island also lit up. One of the Japs mistook the island for another carrier. Later, the Japs announced that they hit the Randolph and the Cowpens. Well they were half right anyway. The third plane dived into the sea, so that was that.
     These actions don't give me any battle stars. The Navy doesn't give the away quite that easily. However I do get another campaign ribbon, the "Philippine Liberation Ribbon." When we were in Leyte Gulf, bands of Japs still operating about six miles from the beach on Samur Island. However I never did see or hear any of it and wasn't particularly interested.
     I probably won't be home early in November but we should be in the states in the later part of November. Of course decommissioning will take a few days but we should be able to see each other in the meantime and make plans for my leave and our second honeymoon.
And that is thirty for tonight. Goodnight Sweet and please come to me in my dreams tonight. I need you too.

Love,
Gil



Philippine Liberation Ribbon


Article about the bombing of the Randolph