Native Girls Do Not Appeal

Lieut. Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Saturday 30 June 1945, 10:15 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
          Hello Honey how is my sweet?  For me today was just like any other day away from you.  I had my usual program of work this morning. After lunch I joined a few officers going ashore for a few drinks.
          We left at 2:00 PM and arrived some thirty minutes later.  At about 3:30 it began to rain and it poured until 4:30.  However I didn't mind as we had a good place to sit and drink without getting all wet (on the outside of course).  At 5:00 PM we returned to the ship
          After chow I laid down in my bunk until movie time.  The picture tonight was a repeat, "The Falcon in Hollywood."  There were also three shorts so we had a full program.  Now here I am.
          The mail today brought me three letters postmarked the 21st and 22nd of June, so here goes. You certainly don't have to remind me of Norma's birthday.  I pray that I'll never miss another of hers, Linda's or yours, ever.
          Out this way there are no purses like the one I sent Linda but I'll keep an eye peeled for something she'll like as well.
          Leon's report of the large numbers of dentists bears out my argument that I'll be relieved before my eighteen months are up.
          Again, don't worry about me.  I'm very careful and I'm not falling through any hatches.  Forget it!  As for native girls--whether I'm drunk or sober they do not appeal to me.  No one does.  I just want you.
          The way they are working things now, officers get orders to report immediately for oversea duty.  No leaves are being given. At most any time, Leon may get orders to shove out.  As short as they are of doctors in the states, they are even shorter of them out here.
          There is nothing more for now, Honey, so I'll sign off.  Goodnight and pleasant dreams.

P.S. I'm returning Linda's art.  I don't want to lose it.

Looked for Sol's Ship

Lieut. Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Friday 29 June 1945, 9:45 PM
Dearest Sweets,
          How are you tonight?  I do hope you've gotten over your blue spell and are smiling again.
          I worked all morning. But my usual routine changed with the mail.  I only received the National Jewish Monthly.  No letters.  Guess I'm getting spoiled.        
          I had another disappointment this afternoon.  I got hold of a boat to go out to see Sol.  We looked for his ship for two hours; the last hour was in the rain.  I returned to the Ocelot wet and disgusted.  His ship was to be here until the first, but instead it sailed this morning.  I think back to the states.  Oh well I did see Sol for a few minutes on Tuesday.  Maybe our paths will cross again soon.
          Seeing as I was drenched to the skin I drank a hot cup of coffee and went to my room to change into dry clothes. I showered and found I still had an hour before chow, so I censored some mail and began another book, "Strange Woman" by Ben Ames Williams.  I didn't get very far but it is interesting.
          After dinner we had our usual game of cribbage and then went to the movies.  We had "Cabin in the Sky" and though I'd seen it before, twice I think, I still enjoyed the music in it a lot.  Now here I am.
          I wrapped the bracelet that I made for Ethyl and will send it off in the morning.  Outside of that there is nothing else to tell.  No news--good, bad or indifferent.
          Goodnight my Darling. Please keep that chin up for me Sweet.  Soon this bad dream will be over and we'll be together again.
          In the meantime I'll see you in my dreams and be with you in my thoughts.
Loving you always,

Commodore Relieved by Rear-Admiral

Lieut. Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Thursday 28 June 1945, 7:20 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
          Hello my Sweet.  Just as usual, here I am.  Had quite a busy morning with several emergencies and also saw three patients this afternoon.  Then I made up another bracelet and will send it to Ethyl.  I don't have a clasp but I'm sure Doc will be able to put one on.  Then I showered and changed for chow.  After eating I played cribbage with the captain and two other officers.
          In a letter I received a couple of days ago, you asked me a question that I forgot to answer.  The commodore is the commander of the flag aboard our ship or I should say "was" until he was recently relieved by a rear-admiral.
          I received two letters and a card from you dated the 19th and 20th of June.  Not bad service.
          I agree with you.  Linda's drawings are excellent and show real talent.  I'll save them.  You mention a photo proof that is enclosed but no photo.  Guess you forgot to enclose it.
          I'm sorry you are feeling blue again.  It does seem like you feel like that periodically concurrent with you periods.  Would you like me to rub your back?  When I come home, I promise to do that for you any time you wish.
          Don't worry about me falling down ladders or hatches.  I never get that tight.  I'm very careful and quite agile (for an old man).
          Tomorrow, if I can get a boat for my own use, I'll run over to see Sol again.  It's quite a way from here and it'll mean tying up the boat for a whole afternoon.
          That is all for now so I'll sign off.  Oh yes the movie is another oldie, "Lucky Jordan" with Alan Ladd, but I'll go to see it anyway.
          Goodnight my darling until tomorrow, I am still
Your loving husband,

Army Life is Rugged

Lieut. Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Wednesday 27 June 1945, 6:45 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
          Hello my darling, how are you tonight?  Last night's movie "Phantom Lady" was an oldie that we saw together. Franchot Tone is the villain who strangles people with ties, scarves etc. Another is accused and convicted of the crimes because his alibi disappears.  Do you remember it now?  Of course everything turned out right in the end.
          Guess taking a whole day off is a bad idea. I was quite busy all day today and didn't finish up until 3:30.  Then I went to the barber's for a haircut.  After a nice shower I crawled into my bunk.  In my skivvies I censored and read mail until 5:30 when I dressed for dinner.
          Because of some connections I was able to buy a case of coke (36 bottles) and a case of "Toddy" chocolate milk drink (24 cans).  The whole thing set me back $3.85.  Guess I can afford it.
          Today, I've been thinking more about Army life--it is really rugged.  They get rationed about one egg a week while we get all we want.  They live on hard cots in tents while I have a bunk with a box spring and mattress.  The water they drink is so highly chlorinated that the fumes hit you in the face when you raise your glass to your mouth; our water comes from distilling plants.  Fresh meat is a delicacy while on our ship we are able to store enough fresh food for one thousand men for three months and we reprovision more frequently than that.  There are so many other advantages to Navy over Army life that I often wonder why more men didn't try the Navy in preference to the Army.
          Our movie tonight is Judy Garland in "Presenting Lily Mars."  I don't remember seeing it.  No mail today so that is thirty for tonight.
          Goodnight my sweet until tomorrow when we'll meet (poetry!)


1945 Coke Bottle?


Thrilling Day

Lieut. Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Tuesday 26 June 1945, 6:45 PM
Dearest Darling,
          Hello my Sweet, here is that guy today.  Had quite a thrilling day.  I cancelled all my appointments and made plans with Dr. Law to look up Simmie.  An hour before we were to leave Sol walked in on me and was it good to see him.  His ship is quite a ways from where we are (fifteen miles).  He came over with someone who was on business, so he had to leave with him.  I'm going to find out how long his ship will be here and then plan as to when I'll go over to see him.  We visited for an hour.  Then my boat was alongside so we shoved off.
          We left at 9:45 and hit the beach at 10:30.  We walked through a small town and got out on the main highway.  We thumbed a ride and reached the 118th Hospital in about fifteen minutes.  We no more than walked through the gate, past the sentry when the first medical officer we ran into was Simmie.  Since I last saw him some thirteen years ago, he really hasn't changed much.   He has a little more weight on him which he well needed.
          We visited until noon and then had lunch with him.  After that we sat around at talked some more about old times and mutual acquaintances.
          We left at 1:30 and thumbed a ride thirty miles up the coast to another town.  From there we bummed a ride back to the ship arriving at 4:30.  All in all we covered about fifty miles.
          I've invited Simmie to be my guest aboard ship for a weekend.  He is going to try to make it the weekend after next.  Now that I've seen how the Army lives I'm twice as glad as I ever was that I was able to choose the Navy.  The food, comfort and working conditions in the Army are quite crude as compared with the clean, comfortable, well equipped shipboard life.  By the way it is now Captain Marcus and not lieutenant.  So much for that
          When we got back I showered.  Until chow time I relaxed in my bunk and censored mail.  After dinner I came down to my office and found two letters of the 17th and 18th awaiting me.
          Your report on Cappy and Edna needs no comment on my part.  By the way Simmie never did see Vic Spitzer as you reported.
          What shall I make for Ethyl? A bracelet like the one I sent you or one like I made for Linda.  I favor the shell bracelet, but I'll let you be the judge.
          What size film do I want?  Some 616 or 116 and some 35 mm.  Kodachrome (if available).  Otherwise some more black and white 35 mm. film.  Wrap the stuff in tin foil.  This heat is rough on film
          I really forgot all about Father's Day until I received all those beautiful cards from my three darlings and they were only one day late.  Pretty good timing.
          In many ways the Siegers are funny people but I do think that you'll have a nice time up there at Lake Arrowhead.  However I don't see why you should put up with Ruth, Babs, and probably Harry.  You don't owe them a thing and don't you forget it.
          I think tonight's movie is "Phantom Lady" and I don't' know who is in it.  I'll report on it tomorrow.
          In the meantime, my sweet, take it easy and don't let everything upset you.  Even if some people are thoughtless and forget you, there is one guy out here thousands of miles distant who loves you and thinks about you all the time (asleep or wake).
Yours as ever,

On this day Gil received the Philippine Liberation Ribbon but didn't mention it.

$15 for a Piece

Lieut. Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Monday 25 June 1945, 6:45 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
          Hello again.  I've had quite a busy day today. To begin with I had a full morning and even had a couple emergencies from other craft.  Then I had an early lunch, a steak sandwich from the general mess.
          At noon both doctors and I went over to a hospital ship to attend a meeting of Medical, Dental, and Hospital Corps officers.  There was quite a mob.  I'd guess over four hundred.  They served a light lunch which I didn't partake except for the dessert, ice cream.  Then several papers were presented on various Medical and Dental problems occurring in forward areas and under battle conditions.  All in all it was an interesting and educational meeting.  We are supposed to have another soon.
          I got three letter today marked the 15th and 16th.  I see you taught right up to the end.  Well now you can relax and enjoy the fruits of your labors.
          Don't worry about Norma's not talking so well yet.  Many youngsters are like that and it is no indication of native intelligence.
          I do remember the Council House, but very vaguely.  After the war we will observe more of the Jewish holidays for the sake of the kids.  I always got a bang out of them and they should too.
          Don't worry about me doing anything foolish.  I have good duty here and I'd think twice before asking for a change except back to the states of course.
          You ask about the natives out here.  Well all the buildings and residences occupied by natives are "out of bound" to military personnel.  Of course there are many whose houses operate in spite of this order and many men are indulging and some to their sorrow later on. Several men from our ship went ashore and paid $15 for a "piece of ass."  One did it three times in one afternoon for $45.  Practically all the women are infected.  One medical officer ashore stated that 100% of the women he had examined were infected and many with more than one venereal disease.  I wouldn't touch them with a ten foot pool.  It is too bad for the people but it seems that any place you go where the Japs have been before us, the same condition prevails.  No female was spared if she was old enough to give them satisfaction.
          The clothes the natives wear are typically American, so there is nothing to buy.
          Last night's movie "Two Girls and a Sailor" is the best movie we've ever had aboard.  Tonight we have Olsen and Johnson in "Crazy House" and I can't recall if I've seen it or not.
          No more for now so I'll sign off.  Goodnight my Sweet, I love you.
Always yours,

Two Girls and a Sailor

Lieut. Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Sunday 24 June 1945, 6:45 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
          Hello Sweet, here it is Sunday again. It really isn't any different than any other day.  I did begin work at 9:00 AM instead of 8:30 AM but that was the only difference.
          After a busy morning and chow I finished reading "Postman Always Rings Twice" and began Thorne Smith's "Passionate Witch."  Then I had to arrange Catholic and Protestant services on deck and before I knew it was 5:15 and time to shower and dress for dinner.
          No cribbage game so here I am a little bit early.  The mail brought me one letter from you postmarked the 17th.  I've still to receive the 15th and 16th but that's the ways it goes.  Today's letter really thrilled me.  Those three photos of the kids are swell.   My how they've grown.  I'd better hurry home or my two little girls will be grown up young ladies.  Oh well something should pop in the next month or two. Maybe I'll get home long before Xmas.
          I guess Norma's party was on the 17th instead of the 20th.  The package I sent probably didn't get there in time but you should have received it by now.  How long is it taking for my mail to reach you now?
          We have a good movie tonight, "Two Girls and a Sailor" with Van Johnson, June Allison and Jimmy Durante.  However I always go, good or bad.
          So darling you are blue again.  Now dear I'm lonesome and miss you and the kids but I try not to let it get me down.  I know it's hard to do but I do, and I'm making the best of it.  The letter I received from Dr.  Ivie's several days ago indicates that he is quite homesick and unhappy.  It's got the best of him.  It does no good to feel sorry for yourself.  In any case no one else will feel sorry for you.  So the thing to do is to be cheerful and make the best of this situation.  It can't be long now before there'll be some changes.
          In the meantime Honey, think about how much fun it'll be when we are all together again.   Keep smiling.
Loving you always

The three photos--in dancing school costumes

 Linda--Snow Ballet


Linda--Dutch Doll

Corpsman Takes Care of Prophys

Lieut. Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Saturday 23 June 1945, 10:30 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
          Hello my darling, how is my sweet wife tonight?  Today was another typical work day.  I was busy all morning.  I've got my afternoons booked up with prophys; my corpsman takes care of those so that gives me a little extra time.  However I'm afraid it is just a lull before the storm and soon I'll be as busy as I ever was.
          I read a short but interesting book this afternoon. "The Postman Rings Twice" by James B. Cain, the author of "Double Indemnity."  The next book on my list is by Thorne Smith, "The Passionate Witch."  These are both from a shipment of thirty-six books the library received.  I choose my reading matter before I break the books into the library.  Once they get into circulation it's hard to keep up with them.
          Today I got two letters postmarked the 16th, one from Ruth and one from your mother.  Guess I'll get yours of the 15th and 16th tomorrow.
          After dinner tonight we played cribbage as usual.  Then we went to the movies.  We had an oldie, "You Were Never Lovelier" with Rita Hayworth, Fred Astaire, and Adolph Monjou.  Quite good even a second time.  Of course it's so old I couldn't remember a thing about it.
          There will be some changes made in our set up soon and I'm keeping my fingers crossed.  No one knows what's going to happen because the Admiral isn't here yet.  Here's hoping.
          There is no more for now Darling, so I'll sign off.  Goodnight my Sweet.  I'll see you in my dreams.
Yours always,

G. I. Honeymoon

Lieut. Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Friday 22 June 1945, 11:15 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
          Today has been just the usual thing.  I worked all morning and from 1:00 to 2:00 P.M.  I was just in time to catch a boat going over to the beach and had a few drinks there.  We got back at 5:30. I just had time to wash up before dinner.
          After chow we played our regular game of cribbage.  Tonight's movie was amusing but because of poor direction (I think) it missed being a swell sophisticated comedy.  It was "G.I. Honeymoon" with unknown leads.  The lines are good and in places quite suggestive.  Either the Hay's office turned over a new leaf or fell asleep.
          After the movie we sat around in the wardroom discussing the post-war economy and then our educational system.  It I hadn't quit we'd still be at it.
          I got another letter of the 14th today so here goes.  You've had quite a steady teaching assignment and I know the money will come in handy.  Talking about money, I'm getting $352 a month now.  Deduct $7.50 for insurance and the $225 I send you and I still have considerably over $100 left.  When I get home I'll get $20 less (my sea pay) and will be glad not to get it.
          We haven't had the movies you mention yet but should soon.
          I do hope Betty isn't picking up any money left lying around.  If she'll steal money, how do you know what else she'll walk out with one of these days?
          It's late, I'm sleepy and I still have a stack of mail to censor so goodnight my darling.  I'll see you in dreams.

Hotter Than Hades

Lieut. Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Thursday, 21 June 1945, 7:00 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
          Hello Darling, how was our baby's birthday yesterday?  I'm missing so much now that it'll take years of catching and making up for it all.
          I had my usual busy morning and early afternoon.  I found out just where Simmie is and will look him up in a couple of days.
          There is really nothing new or different to talk about.  I haven't been ashore lately because the clubs have been so mobbed that there really isn't much fun in going over.  In a few days things should quiet down a little and then I'll make up for last time.
          The mail brought me six pieces today.  A letter marked the 14th, the Outlook which you sent and letters from my mother, Libby, Charlie Blume and Dave.
          My cold only lasted two days which is amazing because you remember how my sinuses would drain for days after a cold.  It must be the climate but I'd still give it back to the Indians or Japs or anyone who really wants it. In the past few days, there has been no rain or overcast skies. It's been hotter than Hades.  I sure miss the refreshing breeze we used to get at our last station.
          Last night's movie "The Great Mike" was a stinkeroo of the first order.  Tonight we had an oldie but a good one, "Dixie" with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour.
          Graves was only out of the states for a year and he has gone back, so I'm still optimistic about being home in the fall.
          No more for now so I'll sign off with love and kisses to you and out sweet girls.

Sheath Knife

Lieut. Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Wednesday 20 June 1945, 6:50 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
          Today was just another day of work.  I was busy all morning.  I cancelled the afternoon appointments because of surprise inspection by the fleet medical officer.  By the time he left sick bay it was after three so there wasn't anything more for me to do but crap out.
          I stripped down to my skivvies, censored mail and read until 5:00 PM.  Then I showered and dressed for dinner.  No cribbage game tonight so here I am.
          The mailman brought me five more letters today postmarked the 12th and 13th so here goes.  I see you are still teaching.  Bet you'll make as much this month as I do.
          About money matters.  The reserve account should be 100% available now and if it is, close it and transfer the funds to the checking account.  About your spending I had my say and I know you'll be careful.
          Is the knife you're sending me a sheath knife?  I bought one out here for $1.95 but it isn't much good, the regular Marine issue should be much better.
          I'll try to look up Simmie the first time I go ashore.  Now that I have his address he shouldn't be hard to find.A         
          I really enjoyed those little pictures but was disappointed in the minicolor shot.  It isn't very clear, how much did it cost?  I'm saving all pictures and I'm really looking forward to the rest if they are better than those you sent.
          In about ten days I'm giving a little "wetting down" party at the club for a few ship's officers and will shoot the spool of film you sent me.
          The movie tonight is Stuart Ervine in "Big Mike" and I hope it's good.
          Outside of that there is nothing more so I'll say goodnight to my darling on our baby's third birthday.

Marine Issue Sheath Knife

Page from Gil's photo album. The minicolor shot is of Norma in a bunny costume. The color has faded away. The colored photo taken in Hawaii with Gil,Jim Frug and their jeep is better preserved.

Black and White Mixture

Lt. Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Tuesday 19 June 1945, 10:10 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
          Hello my Sweet, here I am again and feeling much better than I did last night.  I doped myself with Codeine, APCs, and some Black and White mixture.  Had a good night's sleep and awoke with my cold practically gone.
          As usual, worked all morning. After lunch four of us got a boat and went over to the hospital ship to see Jim Lyons.  He is doing nicely and certainly is in good spirits. He should be evacuated soon.  We had a rough trip back.  It took an hour and the spray soaked me down pretty well.  Had a shower and then I censored mail until 5:30 when I dressed for dinner.
          After dinner we played cribbage until 7:30 and then went to the movies.  We had "Without Love" with Hepburn and Tracy.  It was very good.
          There was no mail today but I really didn't expect any.  I'm practically through with "It is Still the Morning" and I'm really enjoying it.
          By the way I took a box of those "vitamin pills" over to Lyons.  I still have another full box so you can see how much candy I eat.  I also have a full box of salt water taffy that my mother sent.
          After this letter I'll write to our mothers, Libby, Ethyl and others if I'm still holding out which I probably won't.
          Not a thing that's new since yesterday so I'll sign off.  Goodnight my Sweet, I'm just dreaming of our happy days together in the not too distant future.
Yours alone,

Leyte Gulf

Cigars--A Navy Custom

Lt.  Gilbert Steingart
U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco
Monday, 18 June 1945, 7:15 PM
Dearest Eleanor,
          Hello Hon, here I am again.  I've got a peach of a head cold today and my sinuses are sure draining.  However otherwise I feel okay, so I should be over this in a couple of days.  I had a busy morning but this afternoon I "crapped out" in my bunk because of my running nose.
          I'm reading a swell novel and if you haven't already you should read it. It is "It is Still the Morning" by Louis Danz, a simple story of an ordinary young man but written in a very unusual style.  I showered at 5:15 and dressed for dinner.
          I bought two boxes of cigars ($8.00) to pass amongst the officers and some of the crew--an old Navy custom.
          After yesterday I really didn't expect any mail.  Zowie another jackpot.  I got five lovely, sweet Father's Day cards from my three girls, two letters from my favorite wife, a letter from Dr. Ivie and a copy of the picture a navy photographer took of me on the beach where we were before we moved.  You remember I wrote you about it and told you it would appear in the paper.  Well a couple of days after the picture was taken we met the same photographer on the beach and he said he wanted to retake the picture and did.  However the photo he sent is the original and he has me down as lieutenant commander.  Should the paper contact you before running the picture, correct that.  I'd send the picture on but it only shows our backs and is lousy.  I'll just keep it.
          The Merchant Marine deal is alright but it does have its drawbacks.  There is no compensation for injury or death or any of the veteran's benefits after the war.  Also the only medical and dental care they get is emergency treatment.  The leaves are worth something but after the war, benefits accruing from service in the Armed Forces will far outweigh the good pay.  They also don't get the income tax exemption of $1500 which service personnel get.
          No, we don't show our letters to anyone, at least I don't.  However I have shared some of the poetry and clippings with other officers.
          The movie tonight is "It's in the Bag" with Fred Allen and Jack Benny.  I hope it's funny.
          Nothing more for now my Darling so I'll sign off with love and kisses from
Your loving "daddy!"

Taken by Navy Photographer in Ulithi