Letter from Sailor First Class Eugene Jordan, to his former teacher, Mrs. Palmer of Wilson High School in St. Paul, dated August 26, 1945.
Dear Mrs. Palmer -
& Your New Staff:
I'm writing this letter to you with the anticipation that it will be one of the first letters your department receives this semester.
I guess this past summer has produced more history than any other time in the history of our country and besides providing history it has also brought to many of us new thrills and experiences which will be long remembered. I speak from the viewpoint of a serviceman who is anxiously awaiting the day when he can go ashore a free man. During this past summer I have been actively engaged in the war, out here, except for one brief period during which our ship returned to the U.S.A., for a few days. When we first heard of the Atomic Bomb we couldn't believe it was true, but at the same time we looked at the other side of the picture and saw the very likely possibility of an early Victory. If the Atomic bomb wasn't enough to boost our morale along came Russia's declaration of war and right then and there we we started making plans for a soon homecoming. It wasn't long after this (Incidentally I was in the States at this time) that word was received on August 14th of the Jap surrender. I guess you couldn't ask for a better climax to a summer of thrills.
I'd like to tell you a little bit about how V-J day was received in San Francisco. I was there throughout the time of the premature celebrations, the great day itself, and the wild aftermath. San Francisco really took a beating and speaking from experience I personally took a beating financially etc.for a day like that only comes once in a [person's] lifetime. I used to dream, while we were out here, the first time, about how it would be back in the States the day the Armistice was decreed and never did I dream that I'd be able to be there helping to make it a great day - I guess fate has been with our ship throughout the war for we haven't suffered a scratch or have we encountered any deaths aboard our ship. And I figure that fate had planned for us to be back on time for the celebration.
Market Street, San Francisco's famed main street was the source of all the activity. The news hit the city at about 4 P.M. and everything went wild and stayed in that condition until evening of the next day. I suppose St. Paul and Minneapolis also had quite a celebration but I doubt whether you had over 100,000 sailors helping to make everything topsy-turvy as San Francisco was faced with. I could go on forever and tell you everything in detail, but that would be like writing a book so I'll just go on to another subject.
Even though I was in the States when the war ended it made no difference to the Navy for I'm on my way out here again, but one thing that's swell about this trip is that all the tenseness and strain on our minds is gone and we have no fear of any Jap loosing a torpedo or bomb at us. We all know that this time we'll come back for sure and to some of us maybe we'll come back for good. I doubt whether I'll be lucky enough to be discharged on our next trip back, but I stand a good chance of getting a leave and that is all I need.
I'm looking forward to getting out of this outfit with much anxiety and I'm all ready making plans to make use of the G.I. Bill of Rights at the U of M. sometime next fall. I hope that I'll be out by that time - but I can't say for sure.
I can now tell you about the places I was at on our first trip out here and maybe before too long the censorship regulations will be changed and I'll be able to tell you about the places [where I am] at the time.
Here is a list of the places I have been to -Hawaiian Islands, Pearl Harbor, Guadalcanal, Tulagi, New Hebrides, Espirito Santos, Marshall Islands, Eniwetok, Kwajalein, New Caledonia, Noumea, Admiralty Islands, Manus, New Guinea, Oro Bay, [Finschafen], Hollandia, [Philippine] Islands, Leyte, Samar, Mirianas, Cebu, Panay, Mindoro, [Negros], Luzon, Manila, Corregidor, and Bataan. That's the entire list of places I have been at in the past months and undoubtedly on this trip I'll be able to add quite a few more new places.
Before I close I'd like to say good luck to you and your staff on this year's forthcoming issues of the "Wilsonian." I'm also looking forward to receiving the first issue.
Incidentally, enclosed you will find a picture of myself and another mate taken in Manila. Note the beard on ["yours truly's"] face.
Until Next Time,
Your Former Student,
Eugene Jordan S1/C (RdM)