In a letter home, a young ensign recorded the historic adventure of a lifetime he and six other naval officers experienced on the day Imperial Japan surrendered.
On board USS Haddo (SS-255) moored in Tokyo Bay, Ensign Robert Rhea, USNR, sat down on the evening of 2 September 1945 and excitedly penned a letter to his parents in distant Cookeville, Tennessee. Instead of reflecting on the surrender ceremony on board the USS Missouri (BB-63), anchored about 2,000 yards away, Taylor wrote 20 pages about the historic, gutsy sightseeing trip he and six fellow Haddo officers—including lieutenant (later Vice Admiral) James F. Calvert—had made that day. With no more protection than their sidearms, the group went ashore at the Japanese submarine base at Yokosuka, climbed over a wall, caught a train to Tokyo, and took in the city's sights to the stares of bewildered onlookers. While there, the sailors were surprised and thrilled to learn that they were the first Allied troops into the defeated Japanese capital. Rhea's letter has been edited very slightly only for space considerations.
September 2, 1945