Sailor Describes Sinking of USS Princeton 1944 WWII Letter

This letter was written by a sailor who was on the USS Princeton when it was sunk. This letter was written by him while he was on shore. From the letter written on the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1944.……..

   My Dearest Ruth,

   Well sugar, I arrived at last. At the present I am in a relocation camp (Elliott) which is near San Diego, it was one hell of a trip back. Those damned transports are awful. I expect to be leaving here within the next 3 or 4 days for home.
   Sweetheart I’ll never be able to find words to tell you how much I love you. You are all that I have to look forward to. I am hoping that you will spend your Christmas with me, but sweets I can’t ask you to leave your home unless you want to.
   I suppose you are wanting to know about the mighty P. Well honey, there are some mighty bloody thing that I won’t tell. She was hit with a 500 lb. armor piercing bomb which set it on fire. The fire set off 8 torpedoes which were in planes standing by to go after the Jap fleet. They did not see the Jap plane until he had dropped the bomb as he came out of the clouds directly overhead. I was sure that we were hit as soon as it exploded. The whole ship shook like a leaf. Our communications was knocked out so we couldn’t find out just what was happening. The only thing we could hear was the Public address system telling the engine rooms to leave them as they were full of smoke and the guys were suffocation. Eventually they did get word to us to go topside. It was hell as those damned fish kept exploding and rocking the ship. I left the ship by climbing down a chain that hung over the bow. The waves were awfully high but the current was swift and carried me away from the ship pretty fast she was sure a mess. Her whole topside was blowed all to hell and burning. I was in the water about 3 hours (10 AM to 1AM) I was picked up by the Destroyer USS Morrison . We went back then and fought the fire from the destroyer. As luck would have it we were not along side when the bomb magazine exploded or I wouldn’t be here today. That was the most awful thing I ever saw. It blew the ship half into. The cruiser Birmingham was along side. It was riddled from stem to stern with shrapnel. 300 of her crew was said to be killed. I hope to hell I never see anything like that again. The Destroyer took us to Vlithe ? In the Carolinas Islands. We were transferred to a transport and brought to Pearl Harbor. I am feeling good. I am still a little nervous but I think I’ll get over it in time to come. Only 98 enlisted men and 11 officers of the Princeton crew was killed which is pretty good.
   Well honey, I am hoping and praying that I will soon have you in my arms again.

All my love and kisses,


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