Alaska Letter

by Dr. Will R. Eubank MD

On Board U. S. Army Transport
September, 1942

Dearest Family,

It is not very easy to write an interesting letter when it is going to be censored. You have to talk in such generalities.

Anyhow we were glad to leave the camp & get on board the ship. After some maneuvering around the port we finally got under way.

You'd doubtless like to have a description of the ship, but it wouldn't get through. I can say that it is a pretty nice boat. My cabin is on the port side amidships, There is no extra room, as you can imagine, but it is as good as I expected.

The food is well prepared & served. We eat in the officers' mess. Chairs-are of swivel type, so they won't slide around if the going gets rough.

The weather has been fine -- just a little mist & a few clouds. Last night I stood on deck for quite a while looking at the phosphorescent wake the boat churned up. It was really beautiful. The men gathered forward & stirred up some music with guitars & accordian--sounded fine .

YOU may wonder how I feel,on leaving the States. Well, somehow it doesn't worry me at all. A year ago the idea of leaving would have made me sleepless with excitement, or anticipation or worry. Now it doesn't bother me, though the idea of being so far from home & the ones I love is not pleasant. I know that it will be monotonous & lonesome at times, but still there should be new things to see, and some adventure. And I think we'll be getting back before too long.

There's so much noise here I can't concentrate very well, so will stop for now.

Tish especially will be interested in my new project of growing a full beard. It's been on the way for four days now & promises to be beautiful. Sure hope I can send you a picture, also bring it home to display.

(This map shows the inside passage in red. It is not part of the original letter.)

Might as well try to describe something about the scenery. If they let you know that I'm somewhere in Alaska.., it should be no military secret that we went up the inside passage. It would be silly indeed to go any other way.

At any rate the trip is as beautiful as the descriptions. The channel lies between a string of islands & the mainland. Both of these are mountainous & covered with trees coming down to the water's edge. At times a wildly leaping little stream careens down the mountain side into the channel. Once in a while there is a break in the string & you get a glimpse at the open ocean. Rarely you see a lonely lighthouse out on a point, or a small cluster of houses in a sheltered cove.

We have seen a number of ducks & geese, a seal & a whale. Fish are said to be plentiful all along here--at any rate we see numbers of trawlers,

Tonight the men gathered in the for'd well for some entertainment. Before long there was a small band consisting of 2 guitars, a fiddle, an accordion, 8 harmonicas & a trumpet. They played & sang a lot of the old songs-Home on the Range, E1 Rancho Grande, Golden Slippers, Casey Jones, Arkansas Traveler, St. Louis Blues, etc. It really sounded swell to hear them sing out.

Well, I shall tell you something, in a general way, of course. About our new location in the next letter.

Surely hope that you all are feeling fine. Let me know what you're doing, My thoughts & prayers are with you always.

Your loving son,

Dr. Will R. Eubank - Adak 1943    Map of Alaska

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