Seemingly, it appears, seem to indicate, in
general, as a usual case, it is considered. Not only
are they bad, they clutter up your letters. What is worse,
they often raise needless doubts in the readers mind.
. Long, complex words and sentences
The purpose of letters, like news stories, is to
inform, not to impress or educate. Use short, simple
sentences. Write the way you talk. Say pay, not
remunerate, and use, not utilize.
. Impersonal approach
Why write it is understood when you mean I
understand? You do not talk that way. Why write that
way? Strive for the conversational touch. If you are in
the habit of using contractions such as well and
youre, use them, but sparingly. Use personal
pronouns, especially you; it interests your reader more
than any other. Try to slant your letter to tell the reader
what advantage he gains, not what you want.
The Letters to the Editor section of All Hands
offers some good examples of the type of letters you
may have to prepare. Take this one for example:
Sir: During World War II, more specifically
from 1942 to 1945, I served on board the survey ship
USS Bowditch (AG 30). Im curious as to whatever
became of it. Would you trace down her history and
enlighten me? Thanks.W.R. Watkins, Greensboro,
All Hands reply:
Our thanks to you for your suggestion.
Typical of the Navy survey ship, Bowditch had
a well-traveled career which began in Denmark in
1922 as the passenger ship Santa Inez.
Purchased by the U.S. Navy 11 years later, it
was renamed after Nathaniel Bowditch, the noted
19th century astronomer and navigator, and placed
into commission on 1 July 1940.
In the months preceding World War II,
Bowditch made geodetic surveys in Little Placentia
Bay, Newfoundland, Bermuda, the Bahamas,
Jamaica, Cuba and Haiti. In January 1942, it
steamed from its home port, Norfolk, to make
surveys of waters between Panama and Colombia,
near the Galapagos Islands, and off Cocos Islands,
A year later, after a brief repair period,
Bowditch returned south to further survey areas in
the Caribbean, along Panama, Colombia and the
It was assigned to the Pacific Fleet Service
Force on 6 January 1944 in its initial warship
capacity and served as a survey ship during the
invasion of Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls from 4
February to 2 April 1944. Then it assisted in the
occupation of Saipan from 22 July to 4 October that
same year before participating in the capture of
Okinawa from 18 April to 2 September 1945.
During this siege it rescued survivors of
battle-damaged USS Montgomery (DM 17) and
patrol craft PC 1603.
Bowditch remained in Okinawan waters until
early November 1945 when it returned to the United
States and San Francisco, decked out with three
battle stars earned for its World War II service. But,
within three months, it was again steaming toward
the mid-Pacific to begin preliminary surveys around
the Bikini Atoll in preparation for Operation
CROSSROADS, the post-war atomic bomb tests.
After the tests, it continued surveying Bikini
until October when it returned to the Golden Gate
city. Bowditch left California for Norfolk the next
month and was decommissioned there on 22
January 1947, and disposed of on 9 June 1948.Ed.
WRITING FOR THE COS SIGNATURE
Certain projects and situations will require you to
draft correspondence for the COs signature.
This is where your letter-writing skills are really put
to the test. Before you start, you should research the
COs personal views on the subject in question and his
association with the addressee. In some cases, a con-
versation with the COs secretary or the XO may be
necessary to get a feel for the COs perspective on a
While researching, obtain answers to the following
l What outlying issues could be directly or
indirectly affected by your words?
. What is the appropriate tone and style?
. What is the desired purpose?
A good rule of thumb to know when you write a
letter for the CO is as follows: KISS OFF (Keep It
Simple and Short Or Face Frustration). If the addressee
only needs a carburetor, do not send him instructions on