Follow by Email

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