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June 27, 1968.  Fort Eustis, Newport News, Virginia.


Dearest Rita,

I really don’t have a hell of a lot to say, but I was thinking of you and decided to write.  It’s still hotter than blazes here but we’re in class now, and we were lucky enough to get an air-conditioned room this time.  Even so we took our shirts off the first hour.

This is Friday now.  Just don’t have time to do much writing lately.  I got your card today, and your letter telling me you haven’t received any letters lately.  Sorry about that, I’ll try to do better but things are pretty busy around here now.  We work in the shop now instead of classrooms, so I don’t get any writing done there.  Around here we’re always getting grabbed for one reason or another — details all the time.  And it looks like we’ll have details all weekend too.  The company is pissed off at us again for some reason, but not half as bad as we’re pissed off at them.  But I’ll really hit the ceiling if I end up with detail over Fourth of July weekend.  Boy!

Just got a letter from Gene C. today too, from Quantico, Virginia.  Wanted to know what Bob and I were doing over Fourth of July weekend.  I’m going to write him and see if the three of us can get together.  He says he hates it out here already.

I also got a letter from mom saying grandpa died.  I feel pretty bad about that.  He was a great guy.  Everyone knew it was coming though.  It’s probably best it didn’t drag out any longer.

We got paid today, and I’m hurting for cash already.  After taking out for my bond, for two months laundry, and taxes, it didn’t leave me peanuts.  All I’m going to be able to send to you is $10 hon, and you use that for Jim and Vicky’s wedding present from us.  We’ll have to wait until I get home to put any more on the ring I guess.  That’s one advantage of an open account like we have on it.

We are working in the shop on the choppers for the rest of the course, and we just half about two weeks before we go to day classes.  Then we’ll get to fly around a bit.  At least now the end of this damn course is in sight.  But you’d best not count the days too close, because after we graduate we’ll probably have a week or 10 days of Vietnam orientation and M-16 weapons qualification, jungle training, etc. but an extra week or so isn’t too bad after three months away from you, so I’ll be able to take it just knowing it won’t last long, and all that time I’ll be packed and ready to go.  In fact, I may start packing right now!

Did I tell you about the stripe change the army came up with?  Well, Pfc.’s got a new kind of stripe, and all the E-2’s (like me) have to wear the old Pfc. stripe.  It’s a bunch of bull, really.  So today I had to buy stripes and get them sewed on.  More money down the drain.  I only had two sets put on — the rest I’ll sew on myself.  They’ll probably fall off, but at least I won’t have to pay to get it done.  Now is when you could come in handy if we were married and you were out here.  But before I’m out of the army you’ll be sewing plenty of stuff on my uniforms, right?

We’re jerking the main rotor mast assembly of a helicopter now.  You don’t know what that is, but it’s all the junk that holds the blades on.  One nice thing about helicopters — they’re not half as messy to work on as cars are.  They’re real cool machines.  I’ll have to tell you about them when I’m home, like how just one of the main blades cost $3000, and how all that holds them up is a lift link less than an inch thick.  All sorts of neat little deals, and sometimes I think I’d feel better on the ground.  No, not really.  I may after we get to fly them though.

I’m going to have to close this out pretty quick hon.  We’re back at the company for challenge now, but head for classes again pretty quick.  Hope you’re not too mad if my letters take a few days in between, but I really can’t help it.  I’ll do my best though.  I love you, honey.  Let’s be ready to tell each other that in person before long.  Take it easy, Fuzz!

Love you,

Jeff

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Jeff and Rita on her 17th Birthday

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