Friday, February 25, 2022

Okinawa--Just Waiting

 Wednesday, 31 October 1945, 8:45 P.M.

Dearest Eleanor,
     Another month gone to hell. For more than three weeks now, I've been sitting around and waiting. For what? Well, for some gold braided old so and so to make up his mind about what to do with us. When I say us, I don't mean just the Ocelot crew. There are numerous groups all over the island just waiting and seeing time go by.
     Today we had another development. The Commander of Service Division 104 came out and flatly stated that no man with less than twenty-four months of continuous duty overseas could go home unless he had enough points. He was referring to the survivors of the typhoon particularly. Thank goodness that statement applies only to enlisted men, not officers. Then he called for volunteers for a particularly hazardous duty. Survivors who volunteered would be sent home for thirty days leave after sixty days on this duty. Big hearted of him, isn't it? Just for the chance of going home soon, many men with low point scores and just a few months overseas are volunteering. Personally, I don't give a damn. They can't hold me much after December 1st. Maybe as response to my letters to the bureau, my orders will come through. There is one more angle, but it is involved and I won't try to explain it. However as soon as the ship is officially abandoned I'll try it. Maybe I'll go home then. That'll be in ten days or two weeks. Keep your fingers crossed.
     Enclosed is a check for $410.80 to compensate for my storm losses. Don't you think I made out okay on that deal? I'm also enclosing the memorandum about the hazardous duty. Of course they don't dare put in writing the staying amount twenty-four months, but the men were told that prior to passing the information along.
     Tonight's movie was another repeat, "Earl Carroll's Vanities" with Constance Moore and Dennis O'Keefe.
     And that's the dope for now. I'm so mad about the deal that some of the men are getting that I'll pop if I don't sign off.
     Goodnight Darling. I love you and by God they can't keep us apart much longer no matter what.

Yours for always,
P.S. No matter what you do or say don't quote me. It's just information you gathered from my letters.

Paid $410.80 for Storm Losses

Tuesday, February 15, 2022


 Tuesday, 30 October 1945, 8:45 PM

Dearest Eleanor,
     Another day gone. Another day of waiting. Loafed all morning and then did nothing all afternoon. What a perfect day.
     There was no mail today, but I did get your telegram. It was sent on the 16th. Yesterday I got airmail of the 20th. You can see how useless it is to send anything like a telegram to the forward area.
     Here are a couple more pictures. Most of the shots of the Ocelot are similar, but save them all.
     Here is news. A survey board flew out from Washington to look over the Ocelot. They have recommended that the ship be abandoned so--the word went to Washington and after due consideration (?) the approval will come back. That is the Navy way to do it.
     We had a double feature movie tonight but the less said about each feature the better. That is thirty for tonight.
     Goodnight Sweetheart and believe my love for you is miles longer than this letter.

Such horseplay is going on tonight. Three of our officers are out playing poker so here is what we've done:
#1--Sawed off one of the legs of one man's cot.
#2--Short sheeting the second man's cot. (Ask Dave for explanation)
#3--placed a broom under the sheet in the third cot and a block of wood in the pillow.
Also we've taken the fuses out so they won't be able to turn on the lights when they come in. Stand by for action! A full report will follow tomorrow.

Okinawa--Distorted News


Note: Gil misdated the letter. Monday was 29 October 1945
Monday, 30 October 1945, 8:45 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
     Hello Darling, here I am again. It poured all night and has rained on and off all day long. This morning I took an officer, the skipper of the YP238 and one of our own enlisted men over to the CBs for treatment. I wound up by extracting a tooth for each of them.
     This afternoon Pete Leslie, the chief engineer, and I went over to the CB photo lab and got the enclosed prints. Leslie has the negatives and has promised me some enlargements when he gets home. However he won't be released until February or March, so hold on to the prints.
     The mail brought me seven letters from you and one each from your mother, my mother and Dave. I'm glad you are continuing to write. We expected to be on our way home by now, but so far nothing has happened. Personally, I think something will break within a week or so, but that's just what I think.
     Of my clothes, I have my blue raincoat, greys, some underwear and socks. All that remains of my souvenirs is a box of shells. Oh yes, I do have the picture album. I made sure that it was safe before I got off.
     Dr. Bushyager didn't get off till about a week ago. We abandoned ship in the raft and had whatever medical records we could get hold of were with us.
     We've been getting quite a laugh out of the news reports. They are all distorted and full of misinformation. As I've written before, the Ocelot had several casualties. The dope about several of the other ships is confused as well. Maybe it's better that way.
     The Xmas cards sound very nice. Go ahead and get them. Seeing as how I'm being compensated fully by the Navy for my loss of clothes and personal property, don't do anything with Al, at least for the time being. So far I haven't bought anything but the watch and shaver. I have two issues of field greens, a fur lined jacket, field shoes, two changes of khakis and one of greys. I intend to make that do till I get home. Anyway, if I do have to buy anything more, it won't be much.
     Tonight's movie was another repeat "Patrick the Great," but I went just the same.
     Goodnight Sweet. Soon we'll be together. Love and kisses from

Your loving husband,

The Prints

The Captain and Exec of the "Mighty O"

Ocelot and bow of Nestor

APL Ritz Carlton and stern of Nestor

The rafts to the Nester and Ocelot

The Ocelot again

Here is that mess again

Another shipwreck

More ships aground

Lt. Peter J Leslie

The Ocelot, Nester and YP238

A bridge of rafts to the Nester and Ocelot

Distorted News Report

Transcript of letters that Eleanor typed and sent to newspapers.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Okinawa--Everday Has Been Sunday

 Sunday, 28 October 1945, 8:30 PM

Dearest Eleanor,
     Sunday, a day of rest. For a couple of weeks, everyday has been Sunday. I wouldn't mind a busy Monday for a change. Most of the officers were a sorry mess this morning. Such hangovers. Personally I felt fine and gave them all the ha, ha.
     It rained on and off all day so we just lay around in our hut, played a little cribbage and read. As you can see, not very much to write about.
     The enclosed snaps will give you an idea of what happened to the Ocelot. This set of eight cost me $5.00, so hold on to them. If anyone should want a copy have a negative made up and more prints run off.
     We just got back from the movies. We saw "Here Comes Kelly." Why I sat through it a second time I'll never know except there was nothing else to do.
     No news. There is lots of talk about most installations on Okinawa folding up within the next thirty days. Scuttlebutt usually has some basis, but I don't go for that kind of stuff anymore.
     I'll sign off for now and hope that in a day or two I'll have some good news to write about for a change. Goodnight Darling.


Snaps with Gil's notes

Friday, February 11, 2022

Okinawa--$20 Watch

 Saturday, 27 October 1945, Midnight

Dearest Eleanor,
     We got hold of a jeep this morning and made a run down to the ship. The ship store had just received some new wristwatches. I bought a 17 jewel watch for $20. It isn't the kind I wanted, but I lost both of mine in the storm and without a timepiece I've been lost ever since.
     This camp we are staying at is part of an Ammunition Depot. The officers here have just finished building their own club. Last night they had an open house and invited the officer survivors living here to attend. Did we have a time! Personally, I've learned my capacity and when I reached my limit I stopped. Some officers haven't learned yet. Now they are in various degrees of unconsciousness. A couple will have a mess to clean up in the morning. The party itself was very nice. They served the first decent food I've eaten since I've been ashore. There was roast turkey with dressing, cranberry sauce, fresh mashed potatoes, peas, coffee, and apple pie a la mode. It was all served buffet style and I had second helpings of turkey and all the trimmings. They brought down five Red Cross girls, three nurses and an Army band. The dancing music was excellent but with a ratio of fifteen to one, cutting in became a nuisance. So I quit dancing. Trying to dance was useless, no sooner than I started someone else would cut in on me. So I just sat back and enjoyed the rat race.
     They're all howling for me to turn off the light so I'd better sign off. Goodnight Sweetheart, I'll see you in my dreams.


USS Ocelot

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Okinawa--Fed Up

  Friday, 26 October 1945, 9:45 PM

Dearest Eleanor,
     Hello Sweetheart how are you tonight? Me? I'm fine and getting fat and sassy. As a matter of fact I'm getting just a wee bit fed up. The gold braid in Washington would have you believe that every effort is being made to demobilize and bring the men back from overseas. Yet here we sit. Sixteen officers and about two hundred men are waiting for some survey board to say the Ocelot is of no further use and may be decommissioned.
     There is supposed to be a shortage of doctors. Yet we have three doctors sitting around with no equipment or facilities. Who needs three doctors for two hundred healthy young men? The whole trouble is that there are a few captains, commodores and admirals who would be out of jobs if some of these activities were decommissioned. Then they might not be able to retain their present ranks.
     I've never complained before. As long as I had a job, equipment to work with and patients to care for, I could see a reason for being out here. Now however, I have no equipment. I've been on the beach since the 9th and haven't done a stitch of work. None of us are doing anything but eating, sleeping and bitching. Plenty of that.
     Here is what you can do. Write our congressman and tell him that you husband's ship has been through two typhoons. After each storm the crew was told that they were to return to the states. In the last typhoon the ship was lost and the crew, officers and men are living ashore just waiting for something to happen. None of us are performing any function--just eating and sleeping and waiting. From the look of things, it'll be another month before the ship will be decommissioned. Don't quote me but say you gathered this information from my letters. I'm looking for orders soon, but the way this is dragging out it, it might become necessary for me to have the necessary points to get out before I can leave here. That would run into December. Some of the other officers are writing home, too. Who knows? Maybe we can get some quick action.
     There is a big picture of the Ocelot in the 16 October New York News. I'm enclosing a couple of negatives. The picture with me in it was taken the day before we abandoned ship. The other was taken the day after the storm.
     Tonight's movie was "Why Girls Leave Home." I went even though I saw it on the ship more or less recently. Outside of that there isn't any more news.
     Goodnight Darling, I love you and hope our days apart are few and soon we'll be together forever.

Yours very impatiently,