Yes, nearly a year between letters! Perhaps one day, we will locate the “lost letters of 1943-1944”. After their successful mision in the Caroline Islands, the Task Group headed on to Hollandia, New Guinea. Mamie and the task force settled at Seeadler Harbor, Manus (Admiral Islands) for restocking and staging. In April 1943, they traversed deeper into Japanese Pacific territory and conducted attacks agains Palau, Yap, Ulithi, and Woleai. On May 2, Mamie set a heading back to the U.S. (stopping at Pearl Harbor on the way) for repairs, rest, and recreation at Puget Sound. She departed out to the Pacific again on July 15 with another brief stop at Pearl Harbor on July 23. She was still at Pearl Harbor on July 31, scheduled to depart on August 19 to return to Anawetak, Marshall Islands.
Kenney tends to write small and scrunched up, I expect it is due to the nature of air mail of ye olden days. E-mail has caused us to forget that once upon a time when you wrote letters that were traveling great distances, you wrote them on special lightweight paper so as to reduce the total weight of postal shipments. For civilians, air mail was extra postage by weight. These sheets were small and you would cram as much information as possible onto them. Postage is different for service members abroad, but I suspect there were still limitations on how much weight their letters were allowed to be. As I transcribed many of his letters, I broke down topics to help them read easier.
Post-dated August 7, 1944, “via AirMail”. A “passed by” stamp. A handwritten note by Ken or Eleanor is “Aug 8/31/44”. This is either the day they received it or it’s the day they mailed a reply letter.
U.S.S. Mass. Div. M
c/o F.P.O. San Fran., Calif
Mr. & Mrs. K.W. Rhoades
4011 North 30th St
United States Navy Airmail stationary. Along the top, Kenney writes:
Dick tells me Helene wrote him with a pen. How about your other brother babe?
July 31, 1944, 7 P.M.
Here I am again with a few lines to let you know I am thinking of you, and that all is well with me. I have two of your letters here, one from Dad and another from Mom. Dads had the pictures enclosed, no they sure didn’t turn out very well. I had a letter from. Dick this past week, he didn’t have much to say, just about the same he wrote you. But I believe he will be home soon.
Sure sorry to hear about Loomy. Imagine that it’s pretty tough on his folks being the only boy. [The Loomis family lived one street over from Ken’s family in 1940. Their son, Clyde Loomis died flying over France in 1944. He was a bombardier/navigator on a B-26.]
Glad to hear you were able to get the slippers. Dad, haven’t gotten them yet but imagine they will catch up soon. Thanks a lot. It may be a while before I write again, so don’t worry. Hope you will excuse the pencil and can read it O.K.
[I] am down in the engine room lying on my mattress under a blower, real nice and comfortable. You would really be shocked at my appearance now as I just finished getting my hair cut, a few of my buddies and I cut each others hair (all the way off) it really feels swell and we don’t figure we are going anywhere that it much matters any how. Sure wish I had a camera.
Well, it seems congratulations are almost due on your 24th wedding anniversary. Now please do as I ask. Take my allotment check for this month as my remembrance and get something you can use and want. I really want you to do that. If I were where I could get something nice it would be better, but if you get it you will get what you need and want.
Well, guess I better close for now. Do as I ask, I mean it.
Here’s wishing all the happiness in the world to you and may you have many more anniversaries.
Love to you all,