October 22, 1945
Hi Ole buddy howís Navy life ageing these days when so many of you young boys are so anxious to get back to home and woman. Greetings from the land of cherry trees, kimonos and Geisha girls.
Itís been some time since my last letter to you in which I tried to give you an idea of where, and how far and wide the mighty ďMĒ traveled before we were torpedoed.
How are you these days Andy? I am fine except for a bothersome cold I just caught from this cool climate.
Iíll start by telling you as soon as the patch was welded over the torpedo hit we sailed through a typhoon from Okinawa to Nagasaki, Japan where we loaded on ex- prisoners of War. Dutch captured on Java, British, Australian, and Americans captured in the Philippines, Bataan, & Corregidor. I happened to single out a soldier from Chicago we talked over old times and I told him what the people at home thought of the War and how things were at home. He was in the Army since 1941.
We brought the half starved men to Okinawa feeding them up on turkey and the trimmings with ice cream.
Then we were assigned to hazardous duty. They asked for volunteers and all the radio men volunteered. But very few of the rest of the crew volunteered so they drafted as many as they needed. Donít breathe a word to my folks that I volunteered for hazardous duty or they would be worried.
An old ship, the S.S. Pratt Victory a merchant had received a torpedo at Okinawa also, and it and the Marathon were designated as guinea pigs to proceed to Japan at once and test the Japanese waters and inland sea for mines before they could send in troop ships with occupation forces. B29ís laid quite a few propulsion mines in Jap inland seas and a large 10,000 ton ship would have to test the waters after the mine sweepers did their sweeping. We were picked because of our being freshly torpedoed. First we went into Bungo Suido, a big strait and tested there and in the channels around these. We up by Hiroshima and Kure, two large cities off the inland sea then went out and up to Nagoya. We are right off Yokkaichi now which is directly below Nagoya.
We havenít had mail since we left Okinawa so its long over a month now since Iíve heard from anyone.
Recently Okinawa had a terrific typhoon hit her center and it destroyed a lot of installations and caused much devastation. Our Fleet Post Office there was destroyed and there were many small craft ruined and beached or laid up on reefs in Buckner Bay. All the hangars and planes were battered and destroyed. You must have read about it. We were lucky to get out of that one as we were in Japan. But we have ridden them out at sea a couple of times and it threw us around like a match and we are in the 10.000 ton class.
Kure is a Jap naval base and while there we cam across a sunken Jap Battleship and aircraft carrier. We went aboard the wagon and our navy carrier planes sure planted eggs on it. The superstructure was a mass of melted steel, the large guns were intact but just about everything was unoperative and the ships was split right in two. Some guys ripped off souvenirs but I didnít get anything. It had radar and fire control somewhat like ours, I imagine they got it from the German though.
Well Andy we got mail tonight the first in over a month of Japan duty and man it sure is good to get a few letters. There was very little though so I suppose some of our mail was lost in the typhoon. I got one from Mom. She said Bill left to go in the Navy so there are two Jones brothers n the Navy now. Wish Bill could get on the same ship. I am now trying to get back to the states for my 30 day leave and then a new ship or occupation duty I suppose?
We just got a message in the other day saying that the volunteers on these guinea pigs (thats what they call us) are supposed to be relieved from these ships and replaced. So maybe I can get a transportation from Okinawa and get home. Right now all these islands are full of high point men trying to get out. I have 38 points and could get in in a couple months if I were in the reserve.
Billís car is going to get some good use when I get home. Wish we could be in Chi together Andy as the car would take us any place we cared to go and the gas is plentiful.
We as long as Bill wanted to go in the Navy he will get some good liberties, travel a bit and learn how to live on his own a little. When he has enough he will be glad to get home like you and I are. He will be drafted eventually and this way his Navy time will count for any compulsary selective service the government might start during peace time. I think all young men should be given training so we will be prepared for anything the next time, how about you ole pal?
Well Andy itís time for me to get some sleep and I have some more news for you so will finish this tonight.
I have been ahore in Yokkaichi about 3 times already. The Army occupation troops are supposed to arrive in a day or too now that the channels have been tested.
We had our fun ashore so we donít mind the Army moving in. We sure did some trading there.
We all took over to the beach about 4 cartons of smokes apiece and traded them for 200 yen a carton and 20 ye a package. 15 yen equals about an American dollar and 100 Sen equals 1 Yen. I am enclosing 3 Sen notes each os which is 50 Yen. I had about 8 or 900 Yen when I finished my trading and I spent it all at a bazaar and bought kimonos, fans, silk, flags, and a lot of souvenirs.
I am sending them all home for the folks. If I keep them Iíd probably sell them as I could get a high price at Okinawa or Pearl Harbor as not many guys get into Japan other than occupation forces.
Well Andy we lost the world series but I didnít do any betting so alls well. I sure was hoping to see the Cubs sin it. We heard all the games direct from San Francisco who relayed the game direct from Wrigley Field. Although we had to get up at 3:00 A.M. It was a consolation to know that at the same time it was 12:00 Noon in Chicago and that the people were actually seeing the game while we were hearing it over 10,000 miles away.
Well Old man guess Iíll sign off and give you a rest. You sure are lucky to have such good duty Andy so donít do any kicking out there. We have a skipper that I would like to throw in a lions den and watch him ripped apart. Heís trying to keep us out here when com 5th fleet wants to replace us and send up home.
Well kid lets have a letter soon. I havenít had mail in a long time.
Bill is in the Navy now. Hope I can get a leave and on the same ship he gets. That wouldnít be hard to take!