November 1940

Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

An excerpt from “The Life Story of a lucky Tennessee Sailor that Lived to Retire” by Abb R. Truett:

This entry may depict some ethnic and racial prejudices that were once commonplace in American society. Such depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. These transcriptions are being presented as they were originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed.

November, 1940, as we came up from the south to New York on a Standard Oil tanker, I was called by the Navy for active duty. The Navy dispatched me to the U.S.S. Santee at Baltimore as a Commissioned Officer. The U.S.S. Santee at that time was on oil tanker rigged for fueling ships at sea.

My first assignment aboard the Santee was First Lieutenant and loading officer. A few days after I arrived aboard, we set sail for the West Coast through the Panama Canal. When we arrived on the Pacific coast at Los Angeles harbor, we did a few practice drills loading ships at sea. Then, sometime in April, we sailed for Pearl Harbor and in May, 1941, the U.S.S. Santee was getting in shape to convert into a light aircraft carrier. I was transferred to the U.S.S. Cuyama, another oil tanker that also fueled ships at sea.

U.S.S. Cuyama Offitcers

P. R. Coloney- Commanding Officer
V. F. Rathbun -Executive Officer
W. F. Huckaby – Navigator Officer
D. D. Lett-A.A. Battery Officer
E. M. Tellefson- Communication Officer
C. W. Lowith – Engineer Officer
R. G. Brown – Gunnery Officer
P. A. Bane -First Lieutenant
A. R. Truett – First Division Officer
F. E. Mullins – A.A. Battery Officer
J. J. Reidy -Second Division Officer
I. R. Strickland -Asst. Engineer Officer
J. W. Root- Medical Officer
B. A. Chandler-Supply & Disbursing Officer
R. F. Hitchcock -Asst. Supply Officer

The U.S.s.Cuyama loaded cargo of diesel oil and fuel oil in San Francisco Bay for Pearl Harbor. We also went to some of the South Pacific Islands lohninson Is., Palmyro Is. Wake Is., and Midway Is.. We met Lieutenant Colonel James P. Devereux, Commander of the Marines who later made the heroic stand against the Japs for sixteen days before he and his Marines surrendered. We were back in Los Angeles Harbor sometime in the late summer of 1941.


Pauline’s Letters:


June 3rd, 1940

Saturday, December 29th, 2018

Monday morning

Dear Mae,

Read your letter this morning, sure was glad to hear from you. I am having a good time but not as good as I had last year. Of course I didn’t expect to, it is entirely different, but it will be cheaper. It is very pretty here but nothing much to do but swim, but I am enjoying that. We have been going to the Gulf and Tampa Bay, we went to church yesterday morning and had dinner in town. Spent the rest of the day at Treasure Island, it is on the Gulf. We are planning on leaving here Thursday morning and go to Silver Springs and part of the East Coast. Hope I don’t get disappointed. They want to stay with Mr. Taylor as long as they can. Think I will go to town and see a show today. Hope Lucille will get to go to Mobile, I know she will enjoy it.

I haven’t heard much about the war. We don’t have a radio and haven’t seen but one paper since we arrived, so you see I don’t know much.

Thank you for sending Blondie, I got a kick out of it.They want to know who my letter was from when they heard me laughing.

Will try to send Mr. Kaplan a card, hope you can read this.

Pauline

June 4th, 1940 Winston Churchill delivers his, “We shall never surrender”, speech to the House of Commons.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_World_War_II_(1940)


From Grandma’s photo album. Taken in Sarasota Florida, year unknown but possibly same year as this letter.

The hotel in this postcard is in the background of the photo.

Mae & Lucille are Pauline’s sisters.

Pauline’s Letters:


April 1917

Thursday, December 27th, 2018

Abb Truett left high school to join the Navy in April 1917, when the United States entered World War 1.

An excerpt from “The Life Story of a lucky Tennessee Sailor that Lived to Retire” by Abb R. Truett:

After the war in 1919, I was honorably discharged from the Navy in New York City I began to look for a job there. There were thousands and thousands of ex-servicemen walking the street doing the same thing I was doing; looking for a job.

Days went into weeks, no job. I was hungry and disgusted. I was down to my last dime. I bought three bananas and went to a water fountain; that was my lunch. Then I was broke.

Then that afternoon an idea came to me. The Navy at City Park Barracks where I was discharged had about ten thousand sailors waiting to be mustered out. I had in my possession a general pass, signed by the Captain of the barracks, which I received long before I was discharged from the Navy. I had been assistant moving picture operator in the barracks. The Navy had two shows a week, so the chief operator and myself had to go
to Times Square twice a week to pick up these shows. The Captain of the barracks issued a general pass to the chief operator and myself. Now I had it made. I went to the Navy Y.М.С.A. on Sand Street in Brooklyn where I had my suitcase checked, took out my Navy uniform, and exchanged my civilian suit into my old uniform. I picked up my general pass and proceeded down Sand Street to the entrance of the Navy barracks where the officer of the day and a Navy guard were on duty. I saluted the officer on duty and showed my pass to the guard at the gate, passed on through and proceeded to the CHOW LINE. That food looked good to me, surpassing any food I ever sat down to. Some of the sailors located an empty bunk for me. I had a good nights sleep and got in the chow line the next morning for breakfast. After filling my craw with hot cakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, hash brown potatoes, and coffee, I was ready for the day. I went to the gate, showed my general pass and was on my way, looking for a job. I kept my uniform on, for in those days, if you were in uniform the two subway systems, the 1.R.T. and B.M.T., then passed uniform service men through the gates free. I did this for about a week,then I joined the Merchant Marines.


Pauline’s Letters: