Just received our A.P.O. number so thought I’d better let you know as soon as possible. Guess you can keep on writing again although when we would get any mail, I don’t know.
I left all my writing materials in my barracks bag and now am without them. Had to borrow these two sheets of paper and envelope. Most of the fellows did the same thing so the writing is kinda scarce.
(four days later)
Have been spending quite [redacted] aboard. The ocean would take a notion to act up. No seasickness has loomed up for me yet but don’t know how long it’ll be before it does. Looks like we have [redacted].
Has Eli and Mildred had their baby yet? Was due this month, wasn’t it? Hope she gets along alright. How are you coming along with the braces on your feet? Hope he gets you straightened out soon.
Will sure have plenty to tell you when I see you again. Hope Mom and Dad and all are still okay. Tell them not to worry. Now that we are started we got this war half won. Life on board this [redacted] isn’t roses by any means but there must be some [redacted]. Am out of paper now so see you later. Take care of yourself and I sure love you. So long now.
This is the first letter Snook sent once the First Special Service Force was deployed from Fort Ethan Allen in Vermont. Given that he left home for basic training May 11, 1942, obviously several other letters were sent during the year between, but this collection begins with the Force’s departure from the US mainland.
The date on the letter is Sunday June 11, but June 11th in 1943 was a Friday. July 11th was a Sunday, and Snook’s next letter is July 16th, so he obviously wrote the month incorrectly on his letter. The FSSF also didn’t depart San Francisco for the Aleutians until July, which would be the first time that Snook would’ve been on a boat. As a member of the Service Battalion, Snook was aboard the SS John B. Floyd, a 7000-ton, nine-knot freighter converted for troop haulage. Lt. Col. Robert Burhans book, The First Special Service Force, refers to that time as “eleven days of pitching and rolling” (p. 60) so Snook’s mention of avoiding seasickness is somewhat miraculous.
I do have one letter sent from training in Arkansas which will be shared on a later date as part of the ‘History’ background section of the blog (coming soon!).