More Hawaiians serving in the military, 1922.


A Hawaiian boy whose name is John Gilman Kealoha, who is working on the Submarine R—23, as the one who operates the Radio aboard that submarine mentioned, wrote a letter on the 26th of this past August, to his mother, Mrs. Cecilia J. Kealoha of this town, describing how he is living and also the love he has for his parents; and the thoughts in his letter written in English can be seen translated for the benefit of the readers of the Kilohana [“the Foremost,” an epithet for the Kuokoa], below:

U. S. S. R.—23,

New London, Aug. 26, 1922.

My beloved mama:—

I am writing to tell you that I’m currently working aboard the Submarine U. S. S. R.—23 as the one who operates the Radio Telephone. I have submerged 22 times from when I first boarded this vessel. Our captain is good, and so are the 30 people aboard this craft. I am in good health and I hope you two are as well, as well as everybody else living at home. Our submarine will leave here to travel on to Norfolk, Virginia with another submarine, the R—27, and while in Norfolk, the ship will be filled with fuel and food supplies and from there it will travel to Charleston, Key West, and then to New Orleans to gather for when the convention of delegates will meet, and there the submarines will show how they submerge so the people there can see, and the rest of the time will be spent by us at Coco Solo, near the Panama Canal [alawai o Panama], where the submarines will stop.

Mama, in my opinion, it is for the best if younger brother, Kalei, stays with you two at home always; he was paid two months ago; if he is at home, give him a lot of my aloha, and also to the people at home; this way, I know that I will get word by letter from some of them, mainly from Younger brother Herman and sister, and from you two as well.

It has been nearly three years that I’ve been away from home, and it is you mama who I think a lot about, and papa as well; and it is for you two that I always pray at night and day, until we meet once again. I wrote to you before this, but I did not receive a reply to that letter, maybe you sent one, but I didn’t receive it, maybe because you sent it to the wrong address; here is where to write again:


U. S. S. R.—23,

New London, Conn.

O Mama, I just put in money into my savings again, at the Navy Savings Bank, [83 Sands Street], Brooklyn, N. Y.; I’m putting away $20 a month, and when my money accumulates, I will send it to the Bank of Hawaii in Honolulu by remittance. I have the number of that Bank book with me.

I have decided to spend my New Year (Nu I-a) at Coco Solo. I end here and wait for your reply.

Give my big aloha to papa and all the family and friends at home.

From your loving child,


[If this is the same person as the “John Kealoha Gilman” whose grave at Punchbowl is recorded here, he was only 16 years old in 1922…]

(Kuokoa, 10/12/1922, p. 7)


Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke LXI, Helu 41, Aoao 7. Okatoba 12, 1922.


1 thought on “More Hawaiians serving in the military, 1922.

  1. Pingback: The Submarine H. L. Hunley | joeccombs2nd

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