Mrs. Richard Edwards e-mail dated 11/30/02:
Mrs. Edwards sent a portion of Ed Kelly's letter. He was on the USS Hemminger, also.
Mr. Kelly writes:
My memory is fine on most things, but because I was very susceptible to motion sickness, food wasn't always on my mind.
Since I was an electrician I was given a set of keys to many departments aboard ship. I was privileged to have a key to the food locker and was able to get some of the better stuff that was served to the officers. A few of us engineers would have a cook out down in the engine room. Fried chicken and steak now and then kept our spirits up and our stomachs full. If sea sickness had not been a problem for me, I really think I would have enjoyed being aboard ship. The work was nothing compared to what I done on a farm in Florida--it was tough.
It seems like we spent several months around Honolulu doing submarine patrol duty. Honolulu itself was rather disappointing. Lots of saloons and burlesque shows were available to the hundreds of service men stationed there. I spent a week or so at Waikiki beach on rest and recuperation. It was okay but I can honestly say the beaches in Florida are much better. The countryside and the mountains were very interesting and beautiful. I remember the thousands of acres of pineapples and the Dole Pineapple Factory. Of course the water surrounding the islands is usually gin clear and on the windward side huge breakers smashed on the shore making an ideal place for surfboarders.
It may seem strange but I actually don't remember any of the officers names. I got along fine with most of them, except one captain who came aboard later. He seemed to have an air about him that Captain Bligh had in the movie "Mutiny on the Bounty". He was okay but was never someone I would want to call my friend.
Crossing the International Dateline hazing was not nearly as bad as I heard it was going to be. Eating some strange looking food that must have already been eaten once was slightly unpleasant to say the least. The physical part must have helped me forget my seasickness for awhile. Of course a typhoon is the same as a hurricane here in Fla. I have been through several of them on land but never before aboard a ship. It is quite a terrifying experience to feel the bow of the ship ride to the crest of a huge wave and then dive down to the bottom of the trough to become completely buried in tons of saltwater. The screaming wind and crashing waves gave mute testimony of the fury of mother nature in her display of power and violence that the ocean is capable of. It was an incredible experience that I hope never to go through again. It was unbelievable! It seemed forever until the ship righted itself and the sea became calm once more. What was it like after the war getting back to the good ole USA? I do remember being grateful and thanking God for being alive and all in one piece. So many thousands of young men and women were not so fortunate. I guess the feeling of standing on good solid earth and not having to return to that rough rocking ship was probably the foremost thing on my mind. It was good just to be home again.
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