WW II Letters home, January 10 and January 27, 1941

Envelope post dated January 10, 1941  World War II Timeline: January 10-24, 1941

Mr. & Mrs. K.W. Rhoades & family
4011 North 30 St
Omaha, Nebraska

Friday [January 10]

Dear Folks,

Well, here we are, back in Long Beach again.  We anchored yesterday evening. I got two letters from home today, one from mom and one from Dick, where’s yours, dad?  I am glad to hear you are still working for Fred, Dick, I imagine it comes in pretty handy.  I got a letter from Johny Schafer and was sure surprised to hear from him.  Yes mom you are getting onto the Navy slang O.K. (shoot the breeze) is correct.

So you got a special in Eng.1, Dick?  Well from the voice of experience, that’s bad.

We are pulling out again Monday [January 13] for some more cruising, [January] 20th we shove off for the islands and will be there until October, I guess (eight months).  When we were out this last week, we had gunning practice at night, boy that was quite a thrill.  I went up on deck and they had a target 9 miles away picked out with search lights.  There would be a blinding flash, a large boom, and then you could see the slug as a ball of fire and could watch right where it hit.  I never stood so many watches in my life.  I think I got 20 hrs sleep out of the four nights we were out.

Two YouTube video’s from CriticalPast.com of the U.S.S. Colorado.  The first one is dated 1942, possibly after Kenny was reassigned to another ship.  The second video shows a daytime version of the gunning practice that Kenney watched.

I’m sorry to hear Dad’s foot is bothering him but hope it is much better now.  So Helene wants to know if I will be home for her birthday, boy I sure wish I could be.  But I imagine it will be quite a long period before I get home again.  The Navy isn’t giving out longer leaves than 8 to 10 days, and you have to fight to get those.  That would hardly be long enough to come home on.  Is it is still cold and snowing back there?  I wouldn’t mind a little snow right now.  Well, I guess I better close now and get my blues ready for tomorrow’s inspection.

All my love to all
Let me hear from all of you soon

I am sending a few B&W coupons for you, dad.

Envelope post dated January 27, 1941, written across envelope is “Via Clipper Mail”
World War II Timeline: January 26-February 15, 1941

Kenney Rhoades
U.S.S. Colorado
Pearl Harbor Honolulu
Box 14

Mr. & Mrs. K.W. Rhoades & family
4011 North 30 St
Omaha, Nebraska

Monday, Jan 27

Dear Folks,

Well, here I am in Pearl Harbor, the tropics, where the heat is so bad, and boy that sure isn’t any lie.  We just tied up, it’s 10 AM and at least 110deg already.  I stood watch all the way down here in the engine room, 4 [hours] on and 4 [hours] off with the heat from 110 to 130.  Boy, I [have] never sweat so much in all my life.  Our uniform is white shorts and undershirts.  Boy do we look funny, but it sure is a comfort.  We had a pretty rough trip all the way, lots of wind and plenty of swells, but old salty me didn’t even get the least bit sick.

I’m looking forward to going swimming at Waikiki Beach and also surfboard riding.  If I live long enough, I’ll write and tell you about it (haha).  Well, what’s new back there, is it still cold?  Is business picking up any and Dick how did you make out in your report cards?  It is sure pretty down here (what I’ve seen of it).  Lots of palm trees and green grass, nice looking tropical homes [?t].  It rains just enough to get things wet about every night.  There sure are lots of Gov[ernment] ships here it looks like the whole U.S. fleet, more [ships] than I ever expected to see at one time.

A colorized image of an original black and white photo taken on Waikiki Beach in the months before attack on Pearl Harbor. See the original black and white photo as well as other pre-Pearl Harbor attack photo’s on the Time Life website. A Photographer has some additional photo’s published on Flicker, but they are copywrited.
Waikiki beach near the Moana Hotel with Diamond Head in the distance c. 1940 found on the website for National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

I am going to try and get a tropical suntan but you have to be careful.  You can get a real good burn in 20 min. and sunburn.  If it causes you to turn in to sickbay [it] goes in your record as misconduct.  Well, I can’t think of any more to write about.  It will probably take 6 or seven days for our letters to get back and forth so please write often as possible and let me hear from all of you.

Loads of love,

[A postscript was written in pen] I am putting in for Submarine duty at the Sub. base out here.  It will be some time before I know if I get it or not but will let you know immediately.  If I get it, I will be stationed here.  It gives a good chance to save money out here.  My reasons are a qualified Sub man gets his regular pay plus 30 dollars base pay and a dollar every time they go down.  Life is much better than here and rates [ranks/promotions] are faster.  Wish me luck.  If I get it, it will probably be a good while longer before I see you all again, that is the only catch2.
Love Kenny

  1. This may be referring to a grade mark in English? Not sure.
  2. Life on a submarine in World War II. If only Kenny knew what he was really asking for.  Also, see A Submariner’s Letter from World War II