South Pacific
 Ewa MCAS | On Leave in Hawaii | On to New Hebrides | Efate and Russells | Bougainville | Rabaul

Sep 26, 1943 - letter to Mother:

Dear Mother, I just thought I'd take a few minutes and say hello. There's not much to say. In reality I haven't done anything and perhaps if I had - I wouldn't be able to tell you about it.
Our voyage was very nice. A bit crowded, but at the same time very enjoyable. We had plenty of games of "chance" with bridge cards. I even picked up a little dough here and there.
The Pacific is just as blue and pretty as they say it is. Especially at night. The phosphorus is like millions of little electric lights. Each wave and splash of water glistens and shines like diamonds. Every night I spent hours on deck watching the bow cut through that inky-blue water and the glistening of the phosphorescent depths below. I only wished you were here to see it because I know you would have enjoyed it much more than I did.
The above letter continues:
I'm feeling fine. The nights are cool and you can sleep like a log. I've been getting plenty of rest. Enough to make me lazy, as a matter of fact. Of course - this "Life of Riley" may not last much longer. It's about time to go back to work.
I hope D.J. got her present okay. I had a friend in El Centro send it for me. Tell the little monkey hello for me.
I wrote Jean a letter when we got to San Diego, but before I got a chance to mail it we shoved off. Tell her I'll write another in a few days in its place.
I'll try to write Roy tomorrow. His address may have changed since he went to San Antonio, but I'll write there and in case he's changed squadrons I'm sure it will be forwarded to him okay.
How are Dad and the business? Or is he still at the ranch 95% of the time? But, of course, I know the answer to that before I ask it! It seems Howard mentioned in one of his letters that they had put in a request for some new buses. Did the request go through okay? I do hope so. With Fall here Dad could use all the units he can get. As a matter of fact, I don't see how he could get too many.
I imagine D.J. is having a time of her life going over to the McMurry Bookstore now and then. She had a high time when I took her while I was home and I suppose she goes over quite often now. I know the kids will show her a big time when she goes over. Does she still plan to skip all the grades and start right in at college? She thinks that's quite the stuff doesn't she?
Well, Mother, I thought I'd just say hi. It's been about ten or twelve days since I've written and I was afraid you'd worry. Tell everyone hello and write as often as you can find time.
With love to all,
 USS Long Island at Ford Island  
  The USS Long Island (highlighted) docked at Ford Island in Pearl Harbor

 VMF-216 on the USS Long Island
Pilots of VMF-216 posing for a group photo on the USS Long Island.
Lt. Kemper appears to be somewhat under the weather either possibly from sea sickness or some other condition.

VMF-216 at Ewa MCAS
VMF-216 at Ewa
Back Row: Conrad, Harkens, Fitzgibbons, Mattingly, O'Brien, Burton, Mahoney, Means, Walden, McGowan, Hurst, Kidwell, Dempster, Riley, Marshall
Middle Row: Foote, Pharr, Berman, Marker, Davey, Kemper, Straughn, Meeker, Taylor, Barton, Anderson, Allen, Kamps, L'Heureux, Basch, Martin, Hancock
Front Row: O'Sullivan, Patton, Schwartz, Wilkerson, Cortright, Hagenah, Hargrave, Morrell, Faulkner, Van Lier, Ulrich, Deckard, McDonough, Radosevich, Putnam

The Navy secured a lease to a 700 acre tract at Ewa in the early 1930s.
There it built a dirigible mooring mast & a 1,500' oil-surfaced emergency landing field. After the last of the Navy dirigibles were phased out (or destroyed), Ewa was made available for Marine Corps aircraft use in 1939. By the time of the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941, a total of four runways had been constructed, along with buildings & hangars.
On December 7, 1941, Japanese aircraft struck Ewa before hitting Pearl Harbor. All Marine Corps aircraft at Ewa (a total of 48) were destroyed in the course of the attack. Throughout the course of World War II, Ewa served as a staging base & a training facility. It was declared excess & disestablished in 1952.
Back | Top | Next