WW II letters home, March 8, 1941

The next two letters may have been in the same envelope as they are folded the same.  OR the envelope for the March 8 letter is missing.

Typed letter
Saturday March 8
10 PM [actually typed IO PM 😏]

Dear Folks,

Well here is your wandering son once more, with nothing much to say as usual.  I hope you will pardon the typing, but as you can easily see it is much easier to read than my writing.  It is also a lot of fun.  I imagine you wonder how I rate a typewriter?  Well, one of my buddies turned snipe and is a yeoman striker in the ordnance office, and being 10 PM [Kenney actually typed io p.m.] now there isn’t anyone here but us and another of my pal’s.  I kind of took control of the typewriter.

A snipe was a Navy Engineer.  A striker is an unrated seaman who is waiting for his next assignment. It appears as though Kenney’s friend was formerly an Engineer but was eligible for a transfer to another division and was probably working in the communications room while waiting for his rating (rank) in ordinance (munitions).  Kenney, himself, was a snipe with plans to take a test for .

Well, as I said before, there isn’t much news.  We finished our fleet maneuvers Wend. and the [USS] Maryland departed for the states (Long Beach).  We are just steaming around waiting for Wend. to come so we can go in for a week.  Boy it sure takes a long time to do any of this so I am going to turn in now and will finish it sometime before we anchor Wed. You see I have the 4 to 8 [watch] coming up and as we have been standing 4 on and 4 off 4 on and 8 off, I am in need of a little sleep, so for now its love and goodnight.


Well I figured I would never get this finished with my hunt and peck method of typing so am finishing it by writing but will enclose it anyway.  We are going out for 10 days again tomorrow, Monday, March 17.


Envelope post dated March 17, 1941

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

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

Sunday, March 16

Dear Folks,

Well at last, here I am again. I realize it has been quite a while since I’ve written and you are probably looking forward to this letter, but I have a reason (excuse) as usual.  You see, we have been out to sea for 10 days, got back last Wend morning and since then have been working every minute getting the his in condition for an Admiral’s inspection.  What I mean [is], we really turned to and it sure shines in every part.  But now that inspection is over maybe things will slack up a little (I hope).  We had our inspection yesterday morning and it went off swell.  Then I went on liberty with some other fellows and now that I have some time and have had a little relaxation [I] figure[d] I had better write.  Well there isn’t anything new, as usual.

Captains inspection aboard the USS Colorado, undated photo, accessed 10 January 2018 from  the Official USS Colorado Alumni website. 

How are you all back home?  Everything going smoothly?  I hope.  It should be warming up some by now and maybe you are getting a taste of early spring weather.

Boy what I wouldn’t give to be back [home] again.  Sometime, like during this past week, I get so damn disgusted and wish I had never came in this outfit, and then again sometimes I’m not sorry, but glad.  However when I’m disgusted I just say to myself, “well I’ve only got 5 years and 4 months to do” (haha).  I’m practically a short timer (yeah, short time in).

In your letters, you haven’t mentioned whether you got the $10 money order I sent awhile back.  However if you did, Dad, I need it and wish you would send it back.  I’ll make it up later.  You see, I’m a little in debt.  [I] still owe $10 on my radio and [am] only drawing $8 a payday. [It] doesn’t carry me very good for two weeks.  I won’t get to take my test until [the] 15th of April and then it will be about the first of May before I can get rated.  They can only give these test once a quarter and I lacked a couple of weeks of having enough time in [service] in the last quarter.

Arkansas farm woman doing laundry cir.  1938, Library of Congress
Doing laundry in Detroit in 1940, accessed from the Detroit Metro Times, 25 photos from the homefront: Detroit during the early 1940s, World War II

You know, Mom, I think you would be pretty proud of your son if you could just put your eyes on him for a while.  I’ve gotten into the habit of washing the clothes I wear every night.  You would really be surprised at how nice and neat I keep my appearance.  I use bleach on my whites and keep them just as white as though you were still washing them for me.  It really gives a great deal of satisfaction to keep clean and neat.  Just as the Admiral said yesterday, “The engineer force is always clean.  When they get dirty they do it in a hurry and then clean up immediately, where the deck force gets dirty gradually and don’t take much pains in staying clean.”  He was really 100% for us, but really cracked the whip on the deck apes.  He must have been an engineer at one time.

Well, I can’t think of any more at the present so will close now.

With all my love to all
Don’t forget the ten bucks unless you need it as I can borrow it if necessary.  Write soon, all of you.

The day Kenney wrote the latter letter, a blizzard had just hit the mid-west.  Prior to the blizzard, temperatures were in the high 20’s low 30’s.  The Nebraska State Journal, 17 March 1941, accessed from Newspapers.com.

The US doesn’t enter the war until December 1941 but from the start of World War II in 1939, the headlines reflect U.S. interest in the war.  The following headlines are also from The Nebraska State Journal for 8 March 1941.  The mission of the USS Colorado (Kenney’s ship) at this point is to conduct battle drills and train from it’s base in Pearl Harbor.