Chuck mentions his code in this letter, somewhat conspicuously even though it was going through the censor. I’m having trouble figuring out his decoder from the previous letter, so I haven’t tried to pull out the hidden message yet.
The “fantail” is a an extension off the back of aircraft-carrying ships that extended the runway for takeoff and landing. The runway on landing ships was just long enough for takeoff, with planes usually dipping before rising as they fell off of the fantail. Inversely, in landing, there was an “arrester” that caught planes (rather abruptly and non-gracefully from accounts I’ve read) before they wrecked into anything else on the deck. Landing was particularly dangerous in night sorties, as turning runway lights on left the ship vulnerable to the enemy ships. Pilots would have to land in the dark, leading to a high volume of wrecked planes. Fortunately, the US was mass producing planes in such force by 1944 that when they became damaged or corroded from the salty air, they would simply get pushed overboard and written off. The flyboys were accustomed to making sea “landings” near their ship, with their cockpit locked open so they wouldn’t get sucked down and could be picked up.
Chuck laments his drumming. Chuck was an avid drummer from his youth up until his death in his 80’s. His favorite music was ballroom jazz and naturally Hawaiian music. Into old age, he played in a senior band every weekend. A sense of percussion runs in the family. My father drummed the steering wheel and I do the same, often making up my own counter rhythm to songs…despite never doing anything significantly musical. I could see how, if I had, I’d have naturally followed in Chuck’s path.
I’m not sure what he means by making his “rate”. Obviously it is a pay rate of some kind, but from the envelope it doesn’t look like his rank has changed since the last letters.
I’m not sure what is going on with the photo from home. He has been requesting it in several letters, obviously not having received it yet. I have a handful of photos of the family from this time period, so it isn’t that one didn’t exist. I wonder if perhaps he was simply not receiving many letters from home. I do not have the reciprocated letters in this dialogue.
Charles D. Paul U.S.N.R. MoMM 2/c
USS Signet Div-Two
Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, Cal.
Mr. & Mrs. Frank O. Paul
Downey, Idaho [crossed out]
c/o Joseph Case
Passed by Naval Censor
Via Air Mail
Sept. 3 1944
I haven’t heard from you for some time. I guess everything is alright. I hope so. are you still in Downey, Idaho? I will chance it and send this letter to same.
I am not used to hot weather, it really saps[?] all my energy out. At least I can get a good tan, if I don’t burn first. We would go swimming over the fantail, if the water wasn’t so unpure. I could go for a good swim.
Some of the fellows had the hair cut clean off. It sure makes them look stupid. Everyone seems to know how to cut hair. They like to try. once in a while someone gets a good one. I wish I could see my hair.
I was reading about the Idaho Falls Temple. I would like to see it. I would like to see the temple with palm trees, coconut trees and etc. all over the grounds. I have seen pictures of it and expect to see it someday.
Well, I made my rate finally. I can sure use the money. I want to have money sent home every month. I am buying a bond $25 every 1 1/2 months. I wish you would let me know if you are getting them. I started buying them January 1st.
Remember the first and the fifth? It is about time we were starting to think of such things. I will never forget it. It is pretty hard to know how to say things sometimes. Especially for me. But a person might be able to figure it out. I hope so.
Time sure seems to drag on and on. I even lose track of time at times. I guess it doesn’t matter much anyway. I am just waiting for time to pass so this war will be over and we all can go home.
I have been drumming around on tin cans a little lately. I had them fixed so i could work up a pretty good rhythm. Now I have got the bug started again and all I would like to do is drum. I wish i had taken it up when I first joined the navy. I think I could of made it then. if we would get a little band up here, it would sort of break the monotony.
How’s the kid coming along? I wish I had a picture of you three together. I need one. It sort of helps at times. If I can, I will send a picture once in a while.
I am going to look Joe Prescott up tomorrow. I hope I can find him. I guess you remember him. He was one of my best pals.
I will write as often as I can, so won’t worry. They have gone after the mail. I hope I have at least one letter.
God bless you all at home.
Charles D. Paul