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March 16, 1968. Fort Eustis, Newport News, Virginia

Back again, and tired as hell.  We spent all day at the rifle range freezing our butts off in the rain as usual.  If we got a sunny day now I honestly don’t think we’d know how to take it.

I was planning on phoning home tonight, but there’s such a line now I don’t know if I’ll get to.  I’ll try tomorrow afternoon if I don’t.  You won’t be there anyway tonight so it’s no big deal.

Say, have you got Bob’s address yet?  Try to get it for me, okay.  I’d like to know what he thinks of this life.  Bet he doesn’t go for it in too big a way.  And I’d imagine he has it worse than I do, and I sure feel sorry for him.  He’s going to have it rough.

Guess who I got a letter from today.  Carol.  I guess she got tired of waiting for me to write her, and decided to take the initiative.  Wish I would’ve been able to write, but letters to you and the folks take up most of my writing time (in that order).  Now I should get a quick one often her this week, and I’d like to write Jeanie A. too.  Maybe tomorrow.  I keep saying that.  Maybe tomorrow.

I also got two letters from [my sister] today.  She must write at least once a day, and sometimes oftener.  Almost all are one-page letters that don’t say much, but it’s really nice of her.  I get a kick out of them anyway.

We’ve got some more casualties in our platoon.  I told you about the guy who almost died on us, didn’t I?  No, I guess I didn’t.  Anyway, he had been on sick call that day, and was in a pretty bad way.  I was planning to send him to the hospital the next day (he’s in my squad).  About 8:00 in the evening he quit breathing.  We had to give him mouth to mouth to keep him alive.  He quit four times before an ambulance got here and twice on the way to the hospital.  They brought him back the same night.  That was two days ago and he’s training with us today.  They don’t let you out of anything unless you’re dead, and even then they’d probably keep trying.

I’ve got two guys in my squad who have to go on sick call tomorrow.  One smashed his finger when we were fighting with pugel sticks (know what that is?).  He didn’t want to miss training so he let it go, and now he’s in danger of losing it if he doesn’t get it treated fast.  Another guy tore all the ligaments in his shoulder the same way.  Then tonight one of my guys got sick, and he’s in pretty rough shape right now.  I’m having him watched all night, in case we have to get him to the hospital in a hurry.  I won’t be surprised if we have to.

Sorry to ramble on about all this stuff in my letters, but it’s good to have someone to air my gripe to besides the guys here.  They’ve all heard them a thousand times from each other.  Griping is something we all have got very good at.  Now I’ll change the subject.

Change of subject.  Brownies!  When you asked about sending them I almost cried.  You don’t know how great that sounded.  I just hope you don’t forget.  I won’t let you forget!  I consider that a promise, and you never break a promise, right?  So I’ll be looking for them.  I’m so hungry I may even decide not to share any of them.

I got to go now, honey.  Check my guys and go to bed.  Fast!  I just wish you were in it, and there weren’t 50 other guys around.  That would be the greatest.  Someday soon

I love you, R.,

Forever –


P.S. (over)

I’ll enclose this Bimbo’s check for you to cash.  I haven’t been able to get it done here.  Send me two dollars worth of airmail stamps out of it.  They’re hard to come by around here.  Use the rest on your bills, and I won’t have any backtalk on that, understand!  Okay.  Good night, love.


I asked my mom about Carol…

“Carol was probably his old girlfriend. She was a year older than me but they broke up months before I even knew who [your dad] was. She was pretty vindictive over him moving on with anyone. I just happened to be in the same speech class with her and she turned into this ugly person when she found out I was dating [your dad].”

Jeff and Rita on her 17th Birthday


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October 2008