Gibraltar;yeoman second class;Africa;Casablanca;Mediterranean
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U. S. S. WEEHAWKEN
% postmaster, N.Y.
February 16, 1943
Bryant Servicemens’ Club
Providence, R. I.
To all concerned:
Thank you all very much for the box of candy sent to me for Christmas.
At Christmas time, I was out in the war zone, many miles away from the states. I came back to the states on February 7th, and on February 8th, we, the crew, received our first mail in many months. I was indeed surprised to receive the package from the Bryant Servicemens’ Club. It was in very good condition and I, together with my shipmates, enjoyed our Hallowe’en [sic], Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years on the day of our arrival in the states.
I’m a yeoman second class, aboard one of the Navy’s largest minelayers. The duty aboard this type of ship is very dangerous, especially when one considers the fact that we carry tons of TNT. One hit by and enemy ship on almost any part of our ship will blow us to bits.
I was in Africa, at Casablanca, where I saw service and action. We mined the coast of certain places, places which I cannot mention. Also was in the Mediterranean, Gibralter [sic] and other places.
Casablanca, I would say, is a fair city. It has some beautiful buildings and parks. The fig, orange, and tangerine trees add greatly to the beauty of this place.
Besides the French; Italians and Spanish live here. There are many tribes of Arabs and Moslems here. They just loiter on the streets in groups selling their wares. They are very dangerous at times and have to be dealt with.
We had air-raids here, one of which occurred on or about Christmas Eve. This one lasted about five hours. The flashes of the guns and the wakes of the tracers in the sky lit up the night like a Christmas tree.
The sun rises about 8:30 a.m., which made the days very short.
Gibralter [sic] is a nice place and will be very difficult to the Axis to overpower. Can’t say much about this place.
Well, I guess I’ll stop for now for I’ll be here all day just writing.
Again, let me thank all of you who made it possible for me and also others in the same position, to receive this gift. I appreciate it very much and will remember it always.
You know when a sailor is on watch out at sea, he had plenty to think about and you know the way it is, one’s mind just begins to wander on and on and knowing that someone thought of him makes him feel very happy and thankful.
During action my battle station is in the Fire Control. This is the place from which the range and angles and scales are given to the gunners and also the word to fire.
Thank you all very much I’ll write you again and will try to drop in when I get some leave.
S. Benjamin Spinella
Y 2/c [Transcription ends]