K Troop 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment

The Blackhorse In Vietnam 1966 - 1972

hosted by Bob Hersey


Photo On My Stationery

Tuesday, November 5, 1968

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 "Charlie".

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!


(*editor's note)

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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