LIKE MOST OF the men from Sheridan who enlisted in the United States Navy, Dewey William Huss was just a teenager when he signed his papers on April 17, 1917. He was working as a printer for The Sheridan Post at the time and was one of four Post employees to join up right after war was declared. 


After basic training at Mare Island near San Francisco, Huss was stationed on several ships that performed convoy escort duty across the Atlantic. The biggest and newest was the USS Galveston, a Denver-class cruiser responsible for several U-boat "kills," including one just 200 miles off the coast of Norfolk, Virginia.

 

After the war was over, Huss stayed in the Navy for a time. In 1919, he was stationed as a yeoman in Constantinople, Turkey; in 1926, he served as a Navy recruiter in New York City. After leaving the service, he bounced around the country for several years, working as a linoleum layer in Jersey City and Salt Lake City. He finally settled in Las Vegas, where he died in 1969. 


We have been here now about four days. We are nicely situated, with everything required for our comfort and health, with plenty to eat. The medical department is looking after the physical condition of the recruits very closely. We were all pretty sound to begin with - or we would not be here - but they are immunizing us from dangers we are likely to run against anytime in the future. Our Uncle Samuel is a regular bear on things sanitary. 


We are still in quarantine but will be out by the time you receive this and will then be located in regular barracks. How long we will be there, we don't know. The first bunch of recruits from Sheridan went to sea this afternoon, so you see they are putting us through promptly.


You have heard of fighting cocks, haven't you? Well, that's the way we are all feeling all the time. A cold shower bath at 5 a.m., plenty of exercise and good grub, sunshine and pure sea air - guess we ought to feel fit.


We all had to sacrifice our beautiful pompadour hair. A barber, totally without the higher conception of beauty and art that distinguishes Sheridan barbers, ruthlessly run his lawn mower over the heads of the whole outfit. We looked mighty funny to each other for a day or two.


Another thing has happened to us, too, that would make home folks look twice and take three guesses to name us correctly - that is the nice thick coat of tan we have all acquired so quickly. Some are red, and others are black, while a few are the exact shade of the old copper tea kettle that reposes on the rear end of the kitchen range back "somewhere in Wyoming."


We have all of the comforts and just as many pleasures as we had at home: pool halls, bowling alleys, pictures shows, etc., and we lack nothing we ought to have. If any boy has had a touch of homesickness, like the "old Salt" he is, he has hid it from observation. There is one regulation that I know will meet your instant approval, for I have had many an enjoyable lecture from you on the same subject. When you talked, you lacked the power to enforce what you desired. When Uncle Sam speaks on the same subject, he's got the steam back of it and it goes. That's about cigarettes. They don't go here, and if anybody brought along any of the "makins," he hasn't got them now.


I want to say this much for the benefit of any other boy in Sheridan who contemplates enlistment in the navy: I am more than pleased that I took the step. What I have seen and learned up to this time more than fulfills my fondest dreams. If I were back in Sheridan and asked by any of my friends what to do, I  most surely would say: "Join now, while the joining is good and when you have the opportunity to select the branch of service you prefer. It is all and more than you will expect and you are wronging yourself by hesitating. Don't ever allow it to be said of you that when opportunity came to you, you were too lazy or yellow to improve it."


The Sheridan boys all send regards to everybody and we all want it remembered that wherever we are and however placed, when we finally get on our Uncle's battleships, we will remember the old town and do our best to reflect credit upon the good people who have an interest in us. 

(From "In the World War")

Letters Home - Dewey William Huss

 State Historic Site

Trail End