Re-typed from Yeoman Ewing's handwritten letter to C. T. Munson—apparently a fellow stamp-collector. The highlighted section supplies some details about a 1936 U. S. Navy operation in Galápagos.
View envelope & aircraft described in letter.
Fleet Air Base
Coco Solo, C. Z.
25 April 1936
Dear Mr. Munson:
Received your very welcome letter over a week ago, but have been under such a strain of work that I have not been able to write.
Thanks for the information concerning yourself – I appreciate the spirit of your letter & will now try & give you a little low-down on myself. I (thank God) am also white, 22 years old and like many of the same sports you do – I have a younger brother & four sisters besides my parents, but haven't seen them since 1931. I have nearly 5 years service in the Navy and am a 3d class Petty Officer of the special branch – to be technical: a Yeoman Third Class, which means I do clerical work such as typing, filing, shorthand, etc. I have come up 4 pay raises in the Navy but am still in the starvation grades – As you said, so say I: Financial ability somewhat limited to be exact – limited to $66.00 per month (counting 10% extra for longevity). I like the Navy though, and I intend to stay & try to make Warrant Officer grade. I have seen a good deal and have never been sorry I joined. Being a stamp collector by nature, I get some rare breaks on my travels sometimes.
I take it you are single – I have been married since 1933 and wouldn't be otherwise. I have a son 18 months old who already shows unmistakable interest in stamps. My family is here in the [Canal] Zone with me, it is good duty here as I am not on a cruising ship & get home lots. I am at present attached to a Squadron of planes based at Coco Solo & am the only Yeoman. [I] have to perform all clerical work for 108 men, 16 officers & 12 giant patrol planes of the flying boat type, some job I assure you. I was working till 11:00 last night getting prepared for another advanced base exercise.
A little info on the covers & I hope you “scoop” it in your bulletin. I cancelled the Navy Day Nacan(?) covers for the West Coast Air Mail Society in 1934; at San Francisco. Did you have one of them? Is A. N. Brown still connected with W. C. A. M. S.?
The covers were all .10¢ rate and authorized as an air mail flight by the C. Z. Bureau of Posts. 384 covers were sent out, cancelled at Coco Solo on C. Z. stamps & carried by plane to the Galapagos Islands, where they were delivered aboard the U. S. S. Wright. However, the Wright refused to back-stamp any covers not addressed to personnel of the U. S. S. Wright (one officer of the Wright had 195 covers addressed to himself.) The balance of the covers were returned by the U. S. S. Wright to Balboa, C. Z., where they were turned over to the Director of Posts, who had them back-stamped at Balboa on the date of their return to the Canal Zone, and then returned them under cover to senders. About 165 covers were back-stamped Balboa & any back-stamped otherwise, or not back-stamped, we do not consider official because they did not make the round trip & were nearly all to one officer. These covers receiving consideration, which ours (the real collectors) did not get. Dickenson & Sanabria both have one of these covers & I think only the ones back-stamped Balboa will be listed.
These covers traveled quite a distance & made a two-way trip across the Equator, down by plane and back by ship. The planes used were twin-motor flying boat monoplanes with the motors mounted in the wing. They have a crew of about five. I don't know which plane & pilot carried this mail. There were 12 planes in the squadron & they flew two sides of a triangle, going from here to Santa Elena (La Libertad) Ecuador on the first day (710 miles) & to Galapagos Islands on the second day. The U. S. S. Wright completed the triangle from Gal. Ils. to Balboa. Much official mail and personal mail for the U. S. S. Wright, U. S. S. Gannet, U. S. S. Lapwing, U. S. S. Teal, VP2, VP3 & VP5, was carried on this flight, but only the 10¢ rate covers received the cachet.
No, I didn't get an imperf. .16 either in block or single, no, nor a 50¢ Lepp either! I collect my U. S. in singles & blocks of commems & air mails, but when the fortys came along I got swamped & left for several items. I don't have any ?. A. N. covers, but I do have several very choice items in air covers that you might like. If you want to see them holler & I'll stick them in my next letter.
My Nacans(?) I sent a couple weeks ago to Mr. G. J. Green, 266 Tayma? Ave., Pittsburgh, Pa., who is going to try to sell them for me. I am asking $60.00 for 391 covers – mostly air mail & including many more items & __?__ covers. I don't think Mr. Green will sell any special covers unless he can get rid of the lot, but he might break it among several people if they take all the covers off his hands. I want the money to get a cine camera with, while my boy is little while I am here where I can get such fine pictures.
Thanks a lot for the stamps, the Yemen fit right in. I have some more & maybe sometime I can complete it.
Am enclosing an air mail stamp that may be good in a few years.
I will look forward to hearing from you again. Hoping you are recovered from the flood, I remain, Very Sincerely