It seems that I was wrong in expecting island duty because at this very moment I'm aboard the U.S.S. Bowditch. I believe that it's a converted passenger liner and so far I can't see anything wrong with it that I didn't expect. I'm expecting to see Jack Angus' ship any day now. I inquired and found out it's not far off. They sent out a draft of men as fleet replacements to an outlying receiving station. The rumor was that we were going to get "Rock Duty", but it turned out false. I should know better than to listen to scuttlebutt.
I'm feeling fine and my health hasn't suffered any because of the change in climate. I might be a little sunburned but you would have no trouble recognizing me. I got to Mass and Communion only once in the past three months. A priest came aboard our transport from a destroyer tender and said Mass. After one premature celebration in which six people were killed we heard that peace was almost here. With the ending of the war, they will start discharging sailors. Already several systems have been suggested but none of them will do me any good. Unless something comes up, I expect to be discharged on Dec. 17, 1946.
I don't expect to get back to the States for a long while either. On a ship like this one you go on long cruises and sometimes spend six or eight months working on an assignment. All my mail finally caught up with me three days ago. If you see Uncle George tell him that I was asking about him. Aunt Grace too. I guess that our family came out of the war safely although it's not completely over yet. I wonder who will be the first one out. I guess Tom will be the first. Mom, take fifty $50. dollars from my savings account and give it to Pop. He'll be expecting it. I think that at last I've found a way to save some money. Out here there is almost nothing save bare essentials to spend it on. And when I get back to the States, I'll at least be sure of car fare home.
Our trip out to this place took almost a month and one half. We stopped twice, one in the Marshalls and again in the Cocos. It wasn't as uncomfortable as you think. We were allowed on deck at almost any time. The chow line seemed to stretch out for miles. I thought that I would be glad to get off and lie on the beach for awhile, but then when we were transferred ashore and came in contact with the mud, I changed my mind and started to hope for a quick transfer to any kind of ship. Living on a beach during a rainy spell was like our first year at Lake Tiorati. Unless you anchor your shoes to the ground you would probably find that they had floated away during the night.
After the first few days it turned out to be fun and our last night ashore we built a fire and made some "K Ration" coffee. One of the fellows in the next tent had a guitar so we had a song fest. I think I enjoyed this night most. On the way over there was a group of hillbillies or at least guitar and banjo players who helped make the time go faster.
On this ship I work on the deck force. For the last two days I chipped paint, a job which I like as much as a polar bear would like the Sahara Desert. There is really no reason for worrying about me. I'm getting back to a normal living and working routine. And now that the war is over, I'm just off on a long cruise. Try to convince Pop that there is no reason for getting his blood pressure up over my being far away. So I'll close for now. Excuse the pencil but I'm inkless. Give my love to Sis. Matt
According to the transcript of his enlisted naval service sent on 1 July 1946, he received a Change of rating 16 Nov 1945 to QM3c. On 28 Feb 1946, he was Transferred and received on board USNH Navy No. 10. On 29 Mar 1946, he was Transferred and received on board USN RecSta (GD), Navy #128. On 1 Apr 1946, he was Transferred to USN Staging Center Navy 128 FFT PSC. On 16 Apr 1946, he was Received on board USN PerSepCen Lido Beach, L.I.N.Y. On 19 Apr 1946, he was Discharged from the USNR with an HONORABLE DISCHARGE.
On Sept. 1, 1946 he passed away at the age of 21, in a tragic car accident. On September 26, 1946 he was accepted at Saint Peter's College in Jersey City, New Jersey. He was just a young man from Brooklyn, New York whose favorite book character was Peter Pan, a boy who didn't ever want to grow up.