During World War II, my dad, Gilbert Steingart, served as a navy dentist. He wrote over 500 letters to his wife, my mother Eleanor. His duty in the Pacific Theater took him from San Diego to Pearl Harbor, Eniwetok, Ulithi, Leyte Gulf (Philippines), and Buckner Bay (Okinawa).
After my mother's death, Daddy wanted to toss the letters. I convinced him to give them to me instead. The letters are a memoir of a remarkable time. Most of the letters begin with the words "Dearest Eleanor."
AMERICAN RED CROSS
Tuesday 15 February 1944
This has been a very busy day.Worked steadily from eight this morning until
four.Went to class from four until
five, then chow and now this letter.
Went to the B'nai B'rith meeting last
night. Was I disgusted! The Santa Monica lodge really has something to be proud
of.These fellows are as tight as they
make them and just as conservative.They
give fifteen cents apiece to war service and think they're doing their
part.I was going to make a few remarks
but I kept quiet when I saw what the situation was.You were certainly right when you said that I
would get a cool reception.They were
friendly alright but when housing was mentioned they all clammed up as if I was
asking for a donation.
I am going to see the "Fighting
Seabees" tonight and then to bed after a little work on my course.
How is everything with
you?I haven't received any letter as
yet.Hope nothing is wrong.Will make a point of investigating those
three bedroom flats this week and when you come down next week I am sure
everything will be settled.
We got a new dental officer today and
they made room here by sending one of the other doctors to the auxiliary
clinic.Nothing else to gab about.I am looking forward to a swell weekend.
furnish volunteer aid to the sick and wounded of armies......" and
"To act in matters of voluntary relief and in accord with the military and
naval authorities as a medium of communication between the people of the United
States of America and their Army and Navy......"The Charter of The American National Red
Cross.By Act of Congress January 5,