Transcription of letter from John Kenly Montgomery to Mother:
[Original header crossed out. Following written in:]
Naval Air Station
Have been sent up here to the detention camp with the rest of my company because one of the boys in the previous flights brought measles in. Understand that we are to be kept here three weeks. It is a swell location about a half a mile from the rest of the yard up on a little hill in a grove and there is a good breeze all the time. All we have to do is drill raw recruits I mean regular sailor who sent up here for three weeks upon arriving. We are living in tents two men to a tent and the food is very good. The only drawback is that we all had to have our heads clipped close so that we look like a bunch of shorn lambs. Never saw such a ridiculous looking aggregation in all my life. We took some pictures of each other this morning and will send some prints home as soon as possible. Am enclosing a picture of our company taken at Tech two days before we left. I am second from the end on the left and really my face was not as soiled as it looks in the picture. [no photos in the envelope].
Was mighty sorry that couldn’t come by at home, but the Navy gives no leave coming from ground school here and so my request was turned down as were numerous others. Furthermore we didn’t know until Monday morning where and when we were going, whether to Key West, here, Miami, or San Diego. We finally got our orders that morning to leave that afternoon. Came on Southern by Spartanburg and Greenville. Surely have enjoyed the coming South again as was tired of the north, both weather and people.
Ran into Jason [?] Roberts from Zion yesterday on arriving. He is down here in the machinists school but has an application in for transfer to the aviation in hopes to go up to Tech about the middle of April.
Please send me that pair of khaki pants of Carl’s old uniform as can wear them around the Navy Yard as we don’t have to wear jackets except at inspections and when going on liberty. Also send me that pair of gray baseball trousers, they are the ones without any padding of any sort, the old gold and black stockings, the pair of baseball shoes with iron spikes on them, and my black baseball glove, as they have a baseball team down here and will have considerable time to practice up here at the camp.
Tell Sis [Mabel] that I wrote that I tho’t best to send those wood wheels back and get the allowance on them. I said that sometime since.
[single sheet follows; two numbered sides, 1 and 3. Hints at a missing page.]
- That money I wired for was to get a khaki uniform up in Boston as we have to wear them down here entirely and they are cheaper in Boston than here. I got one in Boston with two pairs of pants for $30.00 and down here the same suit is $39.00. Had to buy a monkey suit [….]
- [….] ready made army Kaki for $20.00 apiece here. It is cheap stuff and not regulation naval uniform, but can get away with it around the yard and use the good uniform from Boston for dress. So if you can send me $40.00 more think that will be all I will need as when get my commission [….]