July 15, 1968.  Fort Eustis, Newport News, Virginia.

Hi Beautiful!

I got a letter from you today and boy! you did do enough bitching for a year.  I just wonder what I’ve gotten myself into!?  No, seriously, I don’t mind and everything you said is true.  You’ll be glad to know I did write my folks finally, in fact I think they got it Saturday.  And about my smoking — yes, I have cut down considerably, mainly because I can’t afford it.  But I won’t promise this to quit, not right now anyway.  In the Army the only time you get to relax is on a smoke break, and just think what would happen if everyone would quit smoking!  Then we wouldn’t even get that (some logic, huh?).

Rita, you said something about writing my grandma.  Well, I finished a letter to her just before I started this one.  It was one of the hardest letters I’ve ever written.  You don’t know how many times I tore it up and started over.  I just didn’t know how to express the way I feel, yet I know I should have written it a long time ago.  Even now I’m not satisfied with it, but I’m going to send it anyway.  It seems so inadequate, but it’s the best I can do for now, anyway.

Honey, about what you said about being careful when I’m home — you’d better believe I will be!  The last thing I want is for you to become pregnant now (while I’m home, that is).  Remember the guy told you about who went home over the forth to get married?  Now his child will be born after he’s in Nam, and will be nearly 9 months old before he ever sees it.  And then there’s the possibility he never will.  I don’t want anything like that with us hon.  To me it would be worth waiting forever, rather than have that happen.  And we’re not going to have one of the safest jobs in the world either, once we get over there.

Well, enough of that.  Now about looking over your last couple of letters — I did, and I couldn’t find any unanswered questions.  You must have been dreaming, maybe?  But from now on I’ll make it a point to answer everything in your letters, although I’ve been doing so all along, I thought.

Now, about my leave.  I still know very little, but I do know my next duty station is Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and I do know I’ll be leaving here at the 26th.  When my reporting date is, I don’t know.  I may have to go straight to Bragg or I may still get a couple of weeks.  So this still doesn’t tell you much, does it?  I’m just keeping my fingers crossed for a leave before you start school this fall.  I’ll be very pissed off if I don’t get one before then.

One good thing about all this — going to Bragg means a build up unit before Nam.  According to several of our instructors, I’d have a good chance of making Spec 5 in that unit before shipping over.  That’s assuming I make Spec 4 out of here that is, and I’ll know that in a couple of weeks.  As a Spec 4 I’ll be making $190 on month plus all the extras while in Nam, and a Spec 5 must make at least $250 plus.  That’s talking big money when you’re in the service.  And just about everyone makes a stripe in Nam, so it would be possible, if everything went well, to be Spec 6 when I get back.  And that’s what I’m shooting for Rita, because we could live pretty well on what I’d be making then.  But it’s got to start by coming out of here as Spec 4.  I sure do hope I get it — I’ve worked hard enough for it.

The only real disadvantages of a build up unit is that it will take longer to get over there, and when we do leave, we’ll probably go by boat.  I don’t like that idea at all!  It takes about 23 days that way.  I’ve got a feeling I’ll be seasick the whole way.

Okay, let’s get off that subject and talk about something else — you!  But what can I say that I haven’t said a million times already?  I love you Rita, that’s all there is to it.  Or rather, there’s a lot more to it but no way to express it.  I love you.

Oh yeah, I remember something I meant to ask you a long time ago.  What did Steve and Gail have to say about your ring?  I hope Steve approved, after all he is going to be my brother-in-law.  I’ll bet he just gave you a lot of friction about it, right?

I’m going to have to close now and get my stuff ready for tomorrow.  I love you honey, and think about you all the time.  And if sometimes you don’t hear from me for a couple of days, remember, a guy has to do just a little bit more than required to get a promotion, and that’s what I’m working for.  It’ll make things a lot easier for us later.

All my love!