[Written to Alice in Frankfort, Indiana. Return addressed: Richard, 10th Repl. Draft, 3rd Amphib. Corps, c/o Fleet P.M., San Francisco, California. Postmarked at U.S. Navy, on 3 Oct 1944. Envelope stamped on front, “Passed by Naval Censor,” and initialed by the Censor, “CRD.”]
Oct. 2, 1944
Believe it or not, I’m finally getting around to writting a letter. I guess you know about when we left camp. We went within [CENSORED] morning. Then we [CENSORED] the next morning. We were on a pretty nice ship. Naturally, it was crowded but we made it in good shape. We were aboard 15 days and was I ever glad to get off. As you know, I can’t tell you where we are. Your guess was wrong, however. We are in the South Pacific. We crossed the International Date Line and the Equator. Crossing the Equator is where the fun came in. We were initiated and I am now a trusted Shellback. The price I had to pay for the great honor was 30¢. 30¢ is the price of a hair-cut. After they were finished with me, all I could do was have my head shaved. It’s cooler that way but I doubt if you would like it. It’s growing out fast though. It’s at least ¼ an inch long now. I can’t quite comb it.
We’re on a nice little island – no natives – and we are living almost as good as when I first got at Pendleton. We aren’t settled, I’ve only lived in 3 different tents in the last 4 days. Nobody seems to know anything – as usual. We just lay around and go on work details.
It is very dangerous here. One of 2 things might happen to us: We may get bit by a mosquito (I haven’t seen of heard one yet) or we might get hit on the head. The place is covered with coconut (or something like that) trees and the darned nuts like to fall. A few of the guys have patches on the heads from them.
We picked a good time to get over here. The rainy is coming on pretty soon. We had a good preview all day yesterday. This is a dam-p place.
When you write, send your letters by air mail. I think that is the fastest because of the 4 days difference in just getting to Calif. I think from there, all the mail comes out the same way.
The Skuttlebutt is flying thick and fast. So far, it says we are going to [CENSORED], and even back to the States. You can take your choice of the stories and believe the one you like best. It won’t make any difference anyway.
Your picture is right here in front of me. Chester and I made is a little table between our cots and there you are, just about a foot from me at all times. I spend more time just laying here dreaming. I wish we were back in Lafayette or even Oceanside. We had a lot of fun in both places, didn’t we? We’ll take up where we left off one of these days. – one of these days –
I love you with all my heart.