January 7, 1968
Dear Mom and Dad and Granny,
What do you mean, “Don’t I have time to write”. I told you we were in port most of the time between my last two letters. You just can’t understand how it is out here. In port I work from sunup till almost sundown and sometimes after sundown, except for an hour and a half at noon for lunch. As soon as I get knocked off from work I have to go on liberty or I’ll have to work some more. Sure, I could use the extra thirty minutes that’s left after I eat before I go on working, but on four hours sleep a night what do you think I use that thirty minutes for? It also takes about three days after we leave port for me to catch up.
At sea the time is limited too. Very seldom can one be alone to write letters, and then what’s there to write about. We rearm, refuel and replenish every third day, but other than that, everything’s the same. Two GQ’s a day, watches, and then if we’re not doing either we’re working or sleeping. Sunday is about the only day we really have a chance to be alone and to ourselves and then we usually rearm, refuel and replenish. This week we were lucky. We did all that yesterday. I don’t suppose you’ll ever know what it’s really like.
Oh, there is one thing new. Besides the destroyer that tags along after us, there’s now a Russian trawler. Oh, it stays out of sight most of the time, picking up our trash and interrupting messages. But once in a while, like last night while we were replenishing, they crossed our bow at a hundred yards. Close enough to make it interesting for two ships cruising alongside each other, only a hundred feet apart. Have you forgotten the list of things I needed? Well, I’ve got more to add. I need toothpicks desperately, and some pictures of myself. Something for the “bar girls” to remember me by.
I’ll buy me a camera of my own in Japan, but meanwhile you’ve got to have these negatives developed and you’d better do it!! You wouldn’t want me sleeping somewhere else while I’m home, would you!
Have two pictures made of the one by itself, and send one back. Ok!
P.S. Why don’t you send me some pictures.