Wednesday, January 03, 2007

22 May 1956

Dear Folks

I don’t know whether I will be able to mail this or not, since I am almost completely out of stamps, with the exception of some 9-centers & one 20-cent Special Delivery. We had hoped that while sitting here in Rhodes all day as we were, they might sneak us at least one mail call, but they didn’t. As a revision of a statement in last night’s letter, it has been well over a week since I’ve heard from you, It seems like a year.

Nothing much new—we’re riding off Rhodes like a great, squat grey swan, surrounded by ugly ducklings of various sizes & ancestries.

This is the second draft of this letter, as the first was so completely illegible even I couldn’t make it out. Today has been a weird day—everyone is in a protoplasmic mood—that is to say, ghostly; no one seemed quite themselves. Perhaps it is just me, & I’m very tired. This is a strange type of tired—not sleepy & not exhausted, just as though I were a million miles away. Not pleasant, & not unpleasant.

Enclosed find two "letters" I copied from something the Chief had. Oh, how true, how true.
Istanbul day after tomorrow.

Enough for tonite.



* * * *
Dear Comrade:

Enclosed is a form letter from your friendly moral officer. It is designed to aid you in keeping the people back home informed of the rather frequent schedule changes that we seem to be enjoying. We realize that it is difficult to write often enough to keep your family informed of our schedule so if you will fill in the blanks as the changes are promulgated, it will help cut down on Admiral Burke’s correspondence to your families.

I would like to take this opportunity to dispel some rumors that are currently rife aboard the ship. It is not true that we will be here indefinitely. This ship will definitely go into mothballs in the Continental United States. It is expected that what remains of the crew will be paid off at that time.

There is no truth in the idea that a man can enlist on board the ship, stay with it through this deployment, and then retire. The initial enlistment must be made within the continental limits of the United States.

There is some truth that, due to the extended nature of this deployment, those who were with the ship when it initially arrived in the area might lose their citizenship due to prolonged absence from the States. Congress recognizes the initial disadvantage of this situation and is attempting to do something about it.

As for rumors of our being shifted to the Western Med, this is not likely due to the fact that Ben Gurion’s grandson has just succeeded to the throne of Israel and since he has no heir, we must wait to make sure that whoever succeeds him will be able to maintain the status quo.

Now, men, I would like to see a bigger turnout at the shuffleboard games for all men under fifty. You youngsters just do not seem to care about keeping in shape.

And last, but not least, there is a good chance of our getting liberty again in Suda Bay, so save your money for the big city..

Literally yours

Your Friendly Morale Officer
_________ 19__
c/o Fleet Post Office
Suda Bay, Crete

My Dear(est) ____________

Well, since that last letter I wrote, we have received a little more information about our schedule. It seems that the date I gave you of ________, 19__ was wrong, and that we will not be able to start home until sometime in _________ of this/next year. Since it looks like we will be going to the U.S. by way of ____________, it will probably take us about ____ (days) (weeks) (months) (years) to get home. That means that after we get rid of our squadrons in _______________ we should be seeing each other about the _____ of _______, 19__. Of course, this is not definite but will give you something to think about.

It hardly seems that we have been gone only ______ (months) (years) and that you have already been able to pay off the car (house) and get _______ started in (school) (high school) (college). To think that he was only ___ (months) (years) old when we left. Sure was surprised to hear that your hair has turned grey. Of course I have lost most of my (hair) (teeth) (or both), so we will have a few changes to get used to when we do get together again.

We have been given another port to visit besides Suda Bay and Augusta Bay. It will nice to get to ____________; even if there isn’t a town there, it will be a change.

Well, it sure has been nice visiting with you in these letters, and I’ll be sure to write next week..
Sincerely, your devoted

(husband) (father) (grandfather) (sweetheart)
(brother) (son) (uncle) (cousin) (nephew),

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