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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.


Philippine Liberation Ribbon

Article about the bombing of the Randolph