Dear Mom & Dad,
Greetings once again from Vietnam. Well, this letter finds me out in the boonies
again. This is the reason why I haven't written in so long. Believe it or not, I
just haven't had the time nor the desire to write. I have been out for five days now
and I will go back to Long Binh in two more days.
I probably won't come out to the field again on this operation. A lot has happened
since I wrote to you last time. I hope it doesn't get dark before I have a chance to
tell you. My last letter was from Long Binh where the trains are. Well,
Quinlan (one of our newest cooks) and I came out to the field last Thursday only to find
out that one of my best friends was just killed not more than an hour before we
arrived. His name was Bob Press. He was the chief
medic of the Troop and was the crew-chief of the medic's Evac
Track, 7-1 (Seven-One). This is the track that I rode on all the time when I was
in the field. Bob was my crew-chief. Today, there is no longer a 7-1 track. Bob was driving when he
hit a mine. There was one other man wounded on the
track, another friend of mine.
Since this operation began we have lost two killed and 17 wounded. All but two
were evacuated to the States. We have run into more shit in the past two weeks than
I have seen in seven months. We loose men every day. Last night, we took two RPGs
(rocket propelled grenades) in the NDP (night defensive position). Luckily enough, only
one man was slightly wounded.
Today, 19 replacements came to the field and there are more back at base camp. I
have a feeling all this contact has something to do with the bombing halt. People
back home don't realize how much we depend on air strikes. For every bomb that is
NOT dropped on the North, it means five more "Charlies" that we have to contend
with down here in the South. With every bomb not dropped two more AK-47s (assault
rifles) and one more RPG launcher arrives, too.
(*see editor's note below)
As far as I'm concerned, President Johnson killed one of my best buddies and he will kill
more if he doesn't order the bombing halt ended. He's playing politics with our
lives and I don't like it one damn bit. People are damn idiots if they thing that a
bombing halt will end the war. It will end the war all right - a victory for
It burns me up. I get so pissed off at times. Just about an hour ago, one
of our APs (ambush patrols) made contact. The "old man" ordered us to
recon-by-fire from our positions. I got so pissed off I picked up my M-16 and
starting firing along with the guys with the 50s and M60s. The "old man"
asked me what I expected to hit. The range of an M-16 is only about 1200 meters.
"Charlie" was a bit further away than that but at least I felt better for
having a crack at 'em.
It's getting too dark to see anything more so I'm going to have to end this letter now.
Don't worry about me. I'm well and in good health. So . . . .
By for now!
This paragraph may seem insensitive to President Johnson's efforts to end the war and I
consider redacting it. However, because of it's historic relevance I decided to
include it. The feeling among many of us at the time was that Pres. Johnson and
Defense Secretary McNamara were conducting the war in a way that put our safety in
jeopardy. We were not in favor of a bombing halt. On the contrary, we
recognized that this tenacious enemy required a more aggressive effort on our part.
I do not have the feelings today about President Johnson that I had then. I do not
hold him responsible for Bob Press's death. President Johnson's task was an enormous
one. He conducted the war in the best way that he knew how. I have nothing
but the greatest respect for him and his attempt to win the war.
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