K Troop 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment

The Blackhorse In Vietnam 1966 - 1972

hosted by Bob Hersey


Photo On My Stationery

Thursday, May 9, 1968
1:30 PM

Dear Mom & Dad,

I just received your letter Dad of May 2nd so you can see that it takes about a week for me to get your letters.  That's pretty good service when you consider that I am on the other side of the world and out in the "boon docks".  Things are just about the same here, however we are in a different location than yesterday.  I don't know where - some place out in the jungle.  It's about 98 degrees today.   It rained quite hard last night but now the sun is shinning bright.  It's hard to stay out in the sun for very long.  I drink quite a lot of water.  No matter how bad the water gets I won't give it up.

The area where we are now was once a village but all that remains are a few foundations, some wells and an intricate system of tunnels, presumably dug by the VC.   Some are as deep as 30 feet and run for as long as 100 yards but now they serve only as trash and garbage dumps and latrines.

We have a unit of the 25th Infantry Division with us here.  Two days ago this was the scene of a fairly large battle.  They were just removing the VC bodies when we pulled in yesterday afternoon.  We have had Charlie on the run everywhere we go.   We've been beating the snot out of him. It's comical as hell. 

Four days ago we were in Saigon.  We moved into the  Phu Tho Race Track in Saigon (horses) and set up in the infield and used the track as our perimeter.  It's the first time I had ever gone to the bathroom in the middle of a race track.  We moved in to take it away from Charlie but when we got there, Charlie was gone.  The day after we left, Charlie tried to take it back but he was forced to retreat.  Charlie has been all around us but we have been unable to make any contact with a sizable unit.  Just snipers and harassment like a few mortar rounds etc. but nothing close to me.

The most beautiful time is at night.  I stay up sometimes as late as 11:00 to watch the fire works display - the flares off in the distance.  The red tracers from 50 caliber machinegun fire and an occasional incendiary bomb dropped by a jet on old Charlie.  The whole sky is lit up from sunset to sunrise.  It's difficult to sleep nights.  The heat doesn't bother us.  It's the 155 howitzer artillery guns which are only a stones throw from me that keep us awake.

I shouldn't complain.  Some of these guys here can't even get as much as an hour sleep at night.  I generally get anywhere from seven to nine hours sleep a night.   As soon as we get cleaned up from the supper meal we are free (so to speak) to go to bed.  Breakfast is most often at 6:30 in the morning meaning we get up at 5:00 AM.   About the only thing to do besides work is sleep.  I have spent about $1.50 in the last two weeks and that was on a case of Coke.  In the field we have no use for money.  I have been offered as high as $3.00 for a can of Coke and refused it.   A can of Coke is more precious than gold and with over a hundred dollars in my pocket, what is three more going to buy me that I can't get with a hundred.

We often times get ice to chill our meat and milk but more times than not it winds up in the tonic cooler.  Ice is worshipped here like a god.  I believe that these guys would do anything for ice.  Right now as I look out to my left front I can see two Air Force jets dropping what appears to be 1000 pound bombs on a village about a half mile from my position.  After the jets get through then the helicopter gun-ships will come in and clean up.  Now they are using rockets on the positions.  The whole village is in flames.  They must have hit a fuel dump.  Those jets are cool as hell. 

You know, this war is quite interesting.  I always wondered what war was like.   Now I know - it's horrible, yet beautiful, noisy but sometimes quiet, frustrating but sometimes rewarding.  War has many faces, not all good but not all bad.   Words can't express my emotions.  You must wait until I return home to get the full story - the true impact of what's going on here.  There is so much to tell you but it is too difficult to write.  I will sign off now for I must help get supper ready.  Today I am on mashed potatoes and lima beans.

By for now!


PS:  Happy Birthday, Ma!  I'm sorry I couldn't have sent a present but here there are no presents but I did not forget.

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