April 16, 1943
To the Members of the Club:
Your very welcome letter of March 14 was received in a little over a month due to distance & the very slow mail service out here.
By out here, I refer to a pin head, somewhere in the Pacific, that they call an island where all you can see is water coral & palm trees. To walk entirely around the island in about three hours you can see it’s pretty small. We have an occasional ship stop now & then & it’s a welcome sight.
We have a long working day & are on call twenty-four hours a day. When we do have a few hours to ourselves we can play tennis, basketball, handball, swim, fish, sail in the lagoon or go shell hunting. Believe it or not shell hunting is the most popular and I guess you might say the most dangerous, for coral is the worst thing I ever ran up against for cutting a person. Shells known as “Cat Eyes” are obtained beyond the reef which surrounds the island & it is necessary to swim under the breakers through the coral to reach comparatively calm water beyond where the water will be anywhere from ten to fifty feet & deeper. The shells are found clinging to coral shelves in this water and with the aid of underwater glasses you look out at fish of all colors & shapes including sharks which don’t exactly make one feel too much at home. It is something you read & dream about but very seldom think you will try. Sharks come within easy reach at times & they are not to be trusted so we usually make a cautious exit from their vicinity.
We have movies every night & a black out room in the barracks where we can read, write, play cards, drink beer and fruit juices also liquor if you are fortunate enough to have had the forthought [sic] and brought your own personal stock. No lights including cigarettes are allowed outside after dark and unless there is a bright moon out luminous dial wrist watches act more or less as a means of avoiding bumping into people in the dark.
The weather is ideal & your [sic] not here long before you acquire a dark tan. I have been out here a little better than three months now & on the way out I stopped at Pearl Harbor where I was shown around the island of Oahu by none other than Eddie Krvock a well known alumnus of Bryant College.
I am in contact with Gene Schmidt who is a Pvt. in the Army based in Texas also S/Sgt. Ray Smith in California & both of them love the life they are leading even if it is quite a let down after being a civilian.
When I was stationed back in the states it sure was nice to receive packages of cigarettes, candy, etc. from the Service club & I really appreciated it. Out here we can get cigarettes without any trouble & as far as food goes I’m afraid it would get stale on its way out besides they try to give us everything that is possible in the line of candy etc. & with the mails being heavy we are asked not to send for packages. Thanks for wanting to do something in the line of those welcome packages but I suggest that in many cases where you cannot send them letters will always be welcome. In return you will receive mail from the boys which will be newsy at first but later after they have given you all the news they have to cut down due to censoring. I hope this letter will give you a general idea in brief what life is like on a Pacific Isle, all but the details that cannot be told for obvious reasons.
I was very sorry to learn of Ben Scuda’s being missing in this part of the globe & I hope he will turn up safe & sound very soon. I believe he was operating off a carrier & having operated myself from one I know that every inch of credit coming to him he deserves for it is just about the toughest assignment in the navy but it’s also one of the best.
It isn’t like me to talk so long but I did want to show my appreciation & if I ever return to Prov. you’ll see me on the hill until then write letters to the boys over-seas plenty of them they are always welcome.
A Bryant Alumnus
U. S. Marine Corps
VMF 211 Fleet P. O.
San Francisco, Calif.
1st Lt. Robert W. Marshall Jr. U.S.M.C.
Please return to
Bryant College Providence