Dear Mom & Dad,
Greetings once again from Vietnam. Enclosed you will find a picture of me taken at the pool at Long Binh. It was
taken with Dave's Polaroid camera. It came out all right but it got stuck to another
picture so I cut it down to size. They have two diving boards. It's a fairly
large pool. Right across the street is the EM (enlisted men's) Club where you can go
in with your bathing trunks on and get a beer. They have a movie at the mess hall
This is a real nice place. Of course, we sleep in our tents but we still have the
use of the facilities at the base (6th of the 56th Artillery Support Base). We are
located in their dirt parking lost just outside their main gate. We've been here
five days now and will probably be here for about another week or two. We are only
about a four hour road march from Blackhorse. Actually, there is more to do here
than there. The field is better than base camp, at times.
Well, four more days and I'll be a man (editor's note: I turn 21). In regards to
voting, I have to get a white card and fill it in and send it to the head of the
registration board or somebody. Nobody here seems to know too much about it.
Dad, perhaps you could go to city hall and find out how I can get an absentee
ballot. The ballot will eventually have to come from there. So, if you would
look into it I would appreciate it.
Not too much has happened as the war goes. Things are kind of quiet around us.
We are not on any assault operations but we are merely providing road security.
After this, we go back to Blackhorse for about three to four months unless of
course something happens.
In your last letter Ma, you said Vietnamese soldiers have laid down their arms.
Did you mean the North Vietnamese or the South Vietnamese? If you meant the enemy,
than I will say that this is normal. The enemy defects to our side at an average of
about 1000 per week. The South Vietnamese Army has a program called "Chieu
Hoi" or "Open Arms". Leaflets are dropped from planes where Charlie
is thought to be, telling him if he "rallies to the government" (surrenders to
the South) then he will be treated not as a prisoner of war but as a defector. He is
not kept under security after his 45 days of training but is aloud to live in the South as
a free citizen. About 75% are taken into the South Vietnamese Army. About 5%
lead civilian lives and about 20% return to the North. Not too many rejoin the
VC. We have a "Chieu Hoi" assigned
Last week I was reading in the newspaper where a North Vietnamese Captain turned his
whole company of men and himself over to the government. He was awarded $2000 and
was given a commission in the South Vietnamese Army. This program started after that
Vietnamese police officer killed that VC by shooting him in the head which we saw on TV.
The Viet Cong used those pictures to show what happens to VC when they are
captured. Of course, this not the case. Most VC who surrender are treated much
better than that. So, the leaflets tell the VC to approach any allied force with
their hands in the air and to repeat "Chieu Hoi", "Chieu Hoi".
Many VC have rallied under this program. As the program goes on, more and more VC
surrender. This is a good program. We are eventually making headway.
Eventually, we will convince the North Vietnamese that it is futile for them to
continue. Eventually, we will win this war.
I received Ede's package yesterday but I have not received yours yet. Perhaps it
will come today. I received both your birthday cards - thanks. I will be
looking forward to your audio tape. I would very much like to hear your voices once
again. You also asked Ma what was Dave's last name. His last name is Mansir
and he's from Gardiner, Maine. He rotates 14 days before I do only he gets out of
the Army. I told him that I would look him up when I get back. He's only about
175 miles Portsmouth. Dave and I talk about home quite often. He's got that
typical Maine/New England accent.
Things here are really going good for me. Of course I miss home but I think that
I can put up with this place for 293 more days. Well, I am going to sign off now.
I want to go for a dip in the pool. So until I write again . . .
By for now!
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