Sunday, August 29, 2021

Okinawa--Please Be Brave

Lieut. Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Sunday 23 September 1945, 10 PM
Dearest Sweet,
     Sunday, the day of rest. I didn't have any appointments scheduled so I had the whole day to do as I pleased. What did I do? Nothing. I'm getting to be a first class hand at piddling time away. I read "House and Gardens" and "American Home" magazines. Also I read a few items from the July "Readers' Digest." After lunch I made up next week's menu, played checkers, sat around talking and killing time in general. Then back to more reading until 5:00 when I showered and changed for dinner. After dinner I played poker for an hour, lost $5.00. Then I went to the movies. We had "Having Wonderful Crime" with Pat O'Brien, George Murphy and Carol Landis. Pretty good even though it was raining right through the whole show.
     I hit the jackpot in the mail again. There were six letters from you and one each from both mothers. I didn't realize that so many letters were delayed. Today I got two postmarked the 9th and four the 17th.
     Although I've often wished I'd taken a still camera along, don't buy any. We'll get one as soon as we can. It could be long before Xmas.
     How is Dave getting his discharge? Has he 44 points? If he hasn't I doubt that he'll get out. Anyway Deb and Dave will be together and I'm sure that they'll be satisfied even he does have to hang on for a few months more.
     I still don't know if we'll go to Japan, but the nearest dry-dock large enough for the Ocelot is at Sasebo. If we go there I'll surely look Sid up.
     The snaps taken of you and the kids taken at Arrowhead are excellent. You really look good to me. All I can do at this time is look and dream.
     I know the next few weeks will be hard dear but there is nothing we can do but wait. Getting yourself all upset isn't going to do either you or the kids or me a bit of good. Please be patient. This can't last much longer. Now that school has started, I hope you'll be kept busy and won't have so much time to think and worry about your trouble. Really, soon I'll be home and all your problems will fade. All will seem like a bad dream.
     Our skipper, Lt. Cmdr. Warwick, is not regular Navy. As a matter of fact he has almost 60 points and is awaiting relief so he can be discharged. Because he is the commanding officer, I'll bet he has to wait the full 120 days before he is relieved.
Sevron 10 is an abbreviation for Service Squadron 10. Sevron 10 has been part of the third and fifth fleets alternating when either fleet was in action. The commander of the Service Division is Commodore Du Val.
     Well darling, I'm getting sleepy and I'm all writ out. Wish I had something definite to tell you but I haven't. Maybe something will break this coming week.
     Please be brave. Your unhappiness has an effect on me and though I, too, feel low at times I don't tell anyone about it because it never does me any good to do so.
     Goodnight Sweet and I'll see you in my dreams.

Snaps from Lake Arrowhead

Wednesday, August 25, 2021


Lieut. Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Saturday 22 September 1945, 12:15 AM
Dearest Eleanor,
     Hello Sweetheart, here I am. Still in Okinawa just wondering what gives next. I had a busy morning with three patients from a LCI (landing craft infantry) and two from an LCT (landing craft tank). In the afternoon one patient from a tug. Besides that I had a few of our own men so I had a full day. The new flagship for Service Squadron Ten is here so all we only we have on board at present are about 200 men and officers. Not enough to keep me busy.
     I read for awhile this afternoon and then showered and dressed for chow. After chow I played a few games of checkers and then went to the movie. We had Gloria Jean in "Remember April" and it wasn't too good. After the movie I sat in on another poker game and won $13.75. When a guy like me can win consistently the others must be mighty poor poker players. Anyway I'm ahead about $20 so I'll play along for awhile.
     I hit another jackpot in the mail today. I got six more letters from you postmarked 5, 7, 8, 8, 15 and 15.
     Rosh Hashanah came and went without me even knowing about it. I still think my prospects of coming home soon are good. It's quite a job to keep your spirits up and mine as well. Believe me, being out here has been no Sunday school picnic. The past week-end was really hellish. However I learned today that I'm getting a commendation from the captain for my part in keeping the ship going while we were in extreme danger. I'd rather have orders back to my Sweet and I'd just as soon never to have experienced the storm, but it is over and done with. All aboard came through safe and sound. This isn't official but I understand that over four hundred men were lost in the storm and that sixty-three ships from LST's and up were blown up onto the beach or reef. In addition many small craft were wrecked and some are still unaccounted for.
     You may you remember "Hurricane." Well this blow was every bit as bad and we were right in the center of it. I don't know why I keep talking about it except that we were so lucky to come through the way we did.
     The pictures of Norma are swell-elegant. Really, "Little Stinky" looks just like she did fourteen months ago though I suppose she is somewhat taller.
     That is thirty for tonight so I'll say goodnight to my one and only love, See you in my dreams.

The commendation dated 18 September 1945

Hurricane--The Movie

Link to scenes from The Hurricane 

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Okinawa--Need Dry Docking

Lieut. Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Friday 21 September 1945, 11:05 PM
Dearest Eleanor, 
     Hello Sweet, here I am and back to the old "grind" again. Had my usual working schedule this morning and the early part of the afternoon. Then I went to my room and tried to read but my eyes wouldn't stay open so I napped until after 5:00 PM. I should be just about caught up on the sleep I lost. I showered and dressed for dinner and right after that the mail came. Another jackpot for me--six letters from you, one from Libby and one from Ruth.
     First about the Buick. No dice, it'll cost five to six hundred dollars, at least, to trade and that is too much to spend now. Besides the first cars off the line may repeat our experience with our '41 Buick. After you get more definite information about the actual cost, let me know. But at the moment I'm cold on the whole idea.
     Your second idea, the trip to Mexico sounds ideal. Find out and let me know what the plane fare is and expected expenses. We'll both rate a vacation together and a second honeymoon suits me to a "t." Maybe the fur coat will work out anyway. Who can tell?
     At present we are anchored in Buckner Bay. If Leon does ship out to Okinawa, he'll probably get duty here. I don't think we'll remain here long however. We need dry docking and there isn't one large enough here. The closest one is in Tokyo Bay and that is where we'll probably go. That is if they fix the Ocelot up. That's the way it looks now.
     The pink slip should be in the vault. I'm sure that by now you've located it. I don't think Dave will get out any sooner than I. He has a few more months of duty but my sea duty points will make up the difference. I forgot that he is an enlisted man and that means only 44 instead of 49 points. Guess I'm wrong and he will be out soon.
     I'll write and tell Ruth off. With all her "thoughtfulness and consideration" of you and Deb, she has no business to criticize. To hell with her.
     I don't believe I know Lt. Harris. But in Dago, I met several dentists who I can't remember. So maybe I did. Anyway I'm glad you enjoyed the meeting of the Officers' Wives Club and are meeting more interesting people.
     After dinner tonight we sat around and read mail until movie time. The picture, "Her Highness and the Bellboy" with Hedy Lamarr, was excellent. After that I played a little poker. I didn't mention it before but this is the third time I've played recently. I lost $4.00 the first time, won $5.50 last night and $3.00 tonight. We play a 25 cent limit game but there aren't any real card sharps aboard and I can more than hold my own.
     No more for now Sweet, so goodnight and pleasant dreams.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Okinawa--Lost Both Anchors

Lieut. Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Thursday, 20 September 1945, 9:45 PM
Dearest Wife,
     Hello Darling here I am safe and sound. We got off the reef this afternoon and we are not taking on any water. How this ship stood the beating she did is besides me. The liberty ship that landed on the reef beside us is about ready to break in two; she is a much newer ship than the "Mighty O" as the Ocelot is so often called.
     All hands were called at 4:30 AM so today has been another long one. Now that we are afloat again and aren't leaking like we thought we would, I'll be able to get back to a more or less normal routine. I did work all morning and the early part of the afternoon. Then I read for awhile and dozed off for an hour. When I woke I showered and dressed for dinner. It was right after chow, at high tide, that we slid off the reef without damaging the hull at all.
     We lost both anchors in the storm so there are two tugs, one on each side of us, that are tied to hold us till morning when we'll tie up to a buoy.
    Tonight's movie was pretty good. It was "You Can't Ration Love" and I agree entirely.
There was a little mail today but none for me. However I'm not complaining. I'm still high man around here and as long as we're apart I know that my darling will keep me that way.
     Wish I knew what comes next but I don't so that's all there is. There ain't no more except that I love you. Goodnight Sweet and pleasant, happy dreams that will soon come true.

Negative of Ocelot and tugs.

Mighty "O" and tugs

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Okinawa--Ocelot Won't Budge

Lieut. Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Wednesday 19 September 1945, 10:00 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
     Hello Darling here I am again and here we are still. When the tide comes in the tugs pull and strain but the "old" Ocelot won't budge. It really doesn't look like she'll ever be much good again. I'm hoping that we'll celebrate you birthday together.
     I don't know where the days go, but they do go with very little to show for their passing. We were all called out of our bunks at 3:15 this morning because the tide was high and we thought maybe we'd get off the reef. Well all they can show for four attempts at getting up off at high tide is a lot of sleepy officers and men.
     I did move all my gear to my new stateroom. I've never been quite as comfortable on this ship before. However I've got some of my stuff in a sea bag which I won't unpack until we see what comes of the present operation.
     We just learned what would have been if the storm hadn't wrecked us. This morning we were supposed to shove off for Tokyo, stay there for a couple of days and then go north to Ominato, then back to Tokyo, Okinawa and finally Shanghai. The itinerary involves several months so as far as I am personally concerned, things happened for the best.
     After dinner tonight, we got some mail aboard. I got letters from you and my mother and a stack of dental literature and Navy dental bulletins.
     We had an excellent movie tonight. You must see it. "That's the Spirit" with Jack Okie and Peggy Ryan was the show. I found it unusual and very entertaining.
     Gosh I'm sleepy! Will I ever catch up? Hope we don't have to get up at 3:30 AM again. That is when the tide will be in. Well, we'll just have to wait and see.
     In the meantime Darling, goodnight. I'll see you in my dreams because I love you.
Yours alone,

Ocelot with tugs

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Okinawa--High and Dry on a Reef

 Letter misdated--Correct date 18 September 

Lieut. Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Tuesday 19 September 1945, 10:30 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
     Hello darling here is your shipwrecked sailor on his ship sitting high and dry on a reef. Everything is pretty much under control but we won't know what gives until we are pulled off the reef.
     The flag moved off today and until we get off we'll really live in style. All to myself, I have an excellent stateroom on the bridge deck with an adjoining toilet and shower. All these staterooms have a two way intercom system. All I have to do to speak to any of the other officers is to flash and switch and carry on.
     All afternoon, we had a couple of tugs trying to get us off the reef, but they couldn't budge us even an inch. Guess they'll put about two more on in the morning. Four should be able to do the job okay.
     In the meantime, all we can do is sit back and take things easy. We only have about two hundred men aboard. Most of them are all fixed up dentally speaking so I have very little to do.
     Again today, there was no mail. Guess it'll stack up for several days and then I'll hit the jackpot again.
     After yesterday's letter, this one will probably seem very short and uninteresting. But there is nothing more to talk about.
Good night Sweet. Love and kisses to all my three gals.

Tugs trying to get Ocelot off reef

Letter Misdated