Mary and Molly,
I wanted to say on behalf of all RODNEY M. DAVIS Sailors, THANK YOU for ALL of the cards.
I know that you told me before they arrived of the quantity, but I know that I really did not realize the quality. The cards arrived onboard on 24 December as we arrived inport Vasco Nunez de Balboa, Panama. I had called away an All Hands working party to bring the mail and other stores (food and parts) onboard. The first truck on the pier to unload was the mail. The bags started to get unloaded and continued to be unloaded. Then the fun started onboard the ship with our Mail Petty Officers sorting the mail into stacks. As I walked by one of the Mail Petty Officers told me that I must be very popular because I had a lot of boxes in the mail. I took a look at one of the boxes and saw the address. I knew from the address that we had received the cards that you said were in route to us and they had arrived in time for Christmas. I got some help and took the boxes to the Chief's Mess for further sorting.
When I opened the first box, all I said was WOW! I sorted the cards into piles of with and without phone cards so that I could distribute out further and make sure all got phone cards. Then I found the candy canes and other sweets sent. I had to get a big bowl from our galley so that I could put all of the wrapped sweets out on the chow line for the Sailors to help themselves. Of course I saved some special samplings for the Officers and the Chiefs.
After I got all of the boxes to the Mess and the two piles, I called my elves (other Chiefs) to start distributing throughout the ship. They started out by only counting out just enough for their Sailors, but that did not make a dent in either pile. I had to call them back several times to take more cards and this was only the ones that were delivered in boxes. Little did I know what still awaited me when they called Mail Call for the individual sent letters. When I went to pick up my letter mail, the Mail Petty Officers handed me one of the large mail tubes overflowing with letters. Yes, it was more cards from you and your elves. Back to sorting these out to add to the piles that I already had and get my elves even busier to spread this Christmas cheer. We have almost distributed all of the cards just a few left.
I did get a special feeling of warmth when I noticed the special cards and package addressed to me. I was not able to open these up till later that night and enjoyed reading them. The scrapbook is extra special and I will be cherishing that for the rest of my days. It really caught me off guard when I received the picture and saw it again in the scrapbook of all my ships. Thank you and your elves.
I can not thank you enough for your efforts in making this Christmas special for all of my Sailors. For some of my Sailors, your cards were the only cards that they received for the holidays. I know that reading the personal notes in some of the cards really lifted our spirits and brought us closer to you. Some of the cards and personal notes are hanging different places throughout the ship. Some of my Sailors are planning on writing back to some that sent cards. I had to let my family know about some of the cards received because they were from my home state, Colorado. My family all lives in Colorado Springs, CO. I had to ask my family if anyone knew where Dinosaur was located and of course my Mom replied back with a simple map with its location.
I hope that you share this with all of your elves so that everyone will know how special you made our Christmas. You are also free to share my email address with them as well.
Sincerely with a very hearty Thank you,
Command Master Chief
USS RODNEY M. DAVIS (FFG 60)