August 3, 1968.  Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Hi Honey,

Well, we moved today, and these barracks are worse than I had really expected.  They’re the old wooden type with coal furnaces.  That means coal dust to fight and breathe, and someone to keep them going.  Don’t have to worry about heat yet, but to get hot water it’s the same deal.  It really pisses me off.

The only thing good about the whole deal is that our unit is finally getting organized a little.  We have a few more NCOs now, and even a couple officers.  We have five of our Hueys now, and three more on the way.  I hope we’ll be able to get to work on them before long.  I also spoke to one of our sergeants about going to Texas to pick up the next batch, and he said he’d keep me in mind, so…

I went to Lejeune and picked up Bob this last weekend, and Saturday we went to Carolina Beach.  It rained.  So we had to stick to indoor games, like hitting every bar in town.  We met a couple more Marines, a special forces guy from Bragg, and a couple of civilian dudes, and ended up having a pretty good time.  Bob got us chased out of a bar by the cops, but we managed to keep him out of any real trouble.

I’ve only got one letter from you since I’ve got here.  Since we had the long holiday with no mail calls, I was figuring I’d get one today.  But because we moved our mail will have to be sent clear across post, which could take days.  That’s if they can figure out where we are now.  For the time being you can still send them to the address you already have, but add D-1 Unit after 82nd Avn, okay?  Then maybe I’ll get them.

This is Wednesday now.  Sorry I’m so slow with this, but in addition to not getting mail we don’t have a place to send it from either.  It’s a hell of a deal.  I want to hear from you so bad I’m about ready to put a boot in someone’s rear end if they don’t get some kind of a deal set up for us.

Today we drew web gear, and tomorrow and Friday were supposed to go out to the range and qualify with our M-16 rifle.  That’ll be kind of fun for a change, but I don’t like the idea of playing grunt again.

Oh yeah, I haven’t told you about our mascots yet.  The day we got here we found three pups under the barracks.  The mother had died while giving birth, as well as three of her six pups.  The other three were in bad shape, but the vet said he could save them with blood transfusions.  So we all chipped in to collect the $30 it cost, and now we’ll have some pets.  The CO even said we could take them to Vietnam with us.

Speaking of pups — how’s Dutchess?  And have you been taking care of her like you said you would?  You’d better, or your dad is liable to give her away.  I’ll bet she’s big enough now that she’s eating you out of house and home.  You’re going to have to send me another picture of her, but you’d better be in it too.

You know, so far since I’ve been out here I haven’t really minded it too much, partly because of the newness and partly because I see Bob every weekend.  But now it’s starting to get old and Bob will only be out here a few more weeks.  It isn’t going to be too much longer before this place starts driving me buggy.  I’ll bet almost any place would if it’s away from you.  Seems like you’re all that really means anything to me anymore.  Or maybe it’s just that you mean so much that nothing else seems important.  At any rate, I love you Rita, more than you’ll ever know.

I tried calling you last Sunday night, and again Monday morning, or rather noon, but no answer.  I kind of figured you had taken off for the weekend, but I sure would have liked to talk to you, and Bob wanted to say hi too.

Well we just had a mail call, and nothing.  I’m getting pissed off.  I don’t think my mail is getting sent down from 82nd, and I don’t have any way to get there to check on it.  Maybe tomorrow.

I’d best finish this up now and try to find somewhere to mail it.  I’m enclosing $20 you can put on the rings.  If you need any money you can keep five, but I have to give them fifteen a month now so it can’t be more than that, okay?  At the end of the month I’ll send any money I have left to you as well as at least another 20, and you can hold the rest until I need it to get home on.  That may be a while, but at least I’ll have it.  I don’t want to borrow again if I can help it.

Remember Hon, I love you, very very much.  I just wish you were here with me.  That would make everything perfect.  But all I do now is wait and think about when it will be that way.  I love you Rita.

Always,

Jeff


The tapes are done!  Thanks to the help of everyone reading ,  I’ve managed to get every last reel-to-reel tape  transferred to digital.  I have them all on CD and on my laptop so I can start editing them.  I just wanted to make sure you were all aware that this couldn’t have possibly been accomplished without your help.  So thanks.  They’re all from Vietnam, so while we may not be hearing them on the site for a couple of months, that will give me the time needed to sift through the many hours of audio.

There is however, a little money left over and I wanted to let you know what I intend to do with it.  All of it will go into the site so don’t think I’m going to end up with a new gold chain or something.  I’ll be using it for two things: to keep this domain (lettersfromvietnam.com) up and running for the foreseeable future.  It doesn’t cost a lot but it must be renewed (paid for) yearly, so you all have helped me to keep the URL active for a while.  Thanks.

The other item is a piece of equipment.  As you may know I use speech-to-text software to translate these letters from his handwriting to the blog.  The microphone I use is the same one that came with the software, is kinda cheap and kinda busted… so I’m going to get new one that will hopefully last the remainder of this project, which is scheduled for about 2 years from now.

If you have any objections or would like a porportional refund, I can certainly do that too, but your contributions have made the digital transfer of his voice possible and will continue ot help me deliver his letters until we’re all done with this thing.  Feel free to send me an email at the address in the left column of the page.

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