Can't attend B'nai B'rith Past Presidents Night

Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart
          U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
                     Friday 15 September 1944

Dear Earl,

          Just received your letter and am answering immediately.  I sure wish that I could attend the lodge meeting Past Presidents' night and help initiate the new members.  That being impossible will you please act as my proxy and convey my best wishes to the lodge and my congratulations to the new initiates.

          Through the bulletin and the news Eleanor writes me I am keeping up on lodge activities.  However, I have been wondering how the War Service Committee is getting along.  You know it was my baby last year and at the present time I feel it is as important a committee as any that we have.  How is the letter writing project going?  I never realized how important that was until I shipped out.  When a fellow is thousands of miles from home it's amazing to see how much of a lift a letter brings.  I sincerely hope that my not having received letters is no indication that the project has fallen by the wayside.

          I'd like to tell you all about my ship duties and whereabouts, but the censor would cut most of it out.  I can say that I am the only dentist aboard and that my office is as modernly equipped as was my office at home.  In addition to my professional duties for the ship, I act as Welfare Officer which includes arranging recreational activities.  In fact just recently our ship had an all day outing at a nearby beach.  All the beer and coke the crew could drink was on the house (ship).  Also charcoal broiled steaks and hot dogs.  We engaged in games of volleyball and baseball and swam in the ocean.  Everyone had such a good time that I'm planning another outing as soon as possible.  I am also acting as Division Officer for the "H" or Hospital Division.  All officers take turns censoring mail.  So you see with my extra professional duties, I manage to keep busy.

          Recently I stopped in at an Officers' Club for a drink and ran into Abe Weinberg.  What a jolly reunions that was.  As a matter of fact I am constantly running into people I knew in the states.

          I know you and the men are interested as to whether I've run into any discrimination.  No!  As a matter of fact I'm very surprised at the total absence of it.  The officers and men aboard seem to be very fine and accept men at face value.

          There isn't much more I can say now.  Convey my best wishes to all for a victorious New Year. I do hope that when the next Past Presidents' Night is held I shall be able to attend personally.

Sincerely and fraternally yours,

Gilbert Steingart