18 Jan. 1956
Received your letters of the 9th & 12th, & must say that for sending them air mail, I’d hate to see how long it would take by regular mail. In one was the license application, requesting notarization. Unfortunately, Notary Publics in the Mediterranean are amazingly few & far between. When does it have to be in?
Please, both of you—I get out August 12, not 16—let’s not make it any worse than it already is. Speaking of getting out, Lief should be any time now. With luck, he should be just about even with me in school by the time I get out—much as I hate him, I wish we could go to the same school. I’ll have to send a letter to Northwestern; also to Northern, & maybe one to the U. of Missouri, which has an excellent journalism school.
Lost two planes & pilots yesterday; one during the day, & one at night. The first one came in too low & was given a wave-off—he put on full power but his tail hook caught on one of the arresting wires & pulled his whole tail off. He went sliding over the deck, his fuel tanks burst & spreading flaming gasoline over everything, setting fire to the flight deck, the number two elevator, & burning several men in the catwalks & on the hangar deck—the plane itself went right on over the side—we didn’t even slow down.
That night, two planes were hooked to the catapults at the same time—one had on full power, ready to be launched, while the other, on the opposite catapult, had only quarter power, waiting for the first. When the director gave the signal, the two catapult operators threw their switches & both planes were shot off at the same time. The one with full power made it—the other had only enough time to pull up his wheels before hitting the water. A destroyer came up immediately, while the plane was still afloat, but the pilot was gone.
Father, you are now the possessor of a very fine & very powerful set of 8x30 Hensholt binoculars—Merry Xmas. I had planned on ordering them through the ship’s store, but while buying film for my camera saw they had a pair someone had ordered before & never picked up. Should I take a chance & mail them home, or keep them till I get there? I’d like to use them myself, but won’t, thus insuring that nothing will happen to them.
In case you didn’t notice or couldn’t translate the note on the last envelope, I said "Can use more stamps" & can—all sizes, but mostly 3’s. Got a few today in one of the letters.
Do you know that the Navy will be paying me more per month while I’m in school than it does now? I’ll get $110, whereas now I’m only getting $100.
Received my income tax withholding statement—I earned $1475.56 during the last year, & $140.54 was taken out of my pay. On $1,500, the charge is $154, so I owe them some money. If you haven’t filled out your returns yet let me know & I’ll send you mine so you can have it done, too.
Just think—206 days from today & I’ll be a free man. God, I can’t imagine what I’d do if I had three years to do!
I’d love to have seen the look on John’s face when that girl told him I was on a Mediterranean cruise (& she will—anything to talk to a handsome teacher). I can hear him now: "Well, naturally, I’ve never been to the Mediterranean, but after all, he’s in the Navy! " That’s John—nobody can have anything or have been anywhere or have done anything better than he. He has a positive phobia about it!
More food (178 tons) coming aboard tomorrow, & it’s about time—we’re running short on or out of everything. We ran out of cocoa several weeks ago, so I’ve been drinking nothing but water, & that only occasionally.
Since I can think of nothing more scintillating to say than to ask once again what these white spots are on my fingernails, I’ll close now and do some reading.
Until next time, I am