August 12, 1968.   Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Dearest Rita,

Finally, I got some mail.  In fact I got three letters from you.  That was last night about 11:30 and I was in bed asleep.  When the mail came in from 82nd, Jerry was still up and he knew how I have been waiting for some, so he woke me up.  I went into the latrine and read them a couple of times, and just finished them again.  Hope I never have to wait for mail that long again!  I got one from mom and one from Brenda too.

Evidently I’ve still got at least one of yours coming yet, because in one dated the 7th you said you had just mailed one, but the other two were clear back around August 22 and 24th.  So one’s missing yet.  Maybe I’ll get it tonight.  Sure hope so.

Thanks for that card Rita.  And thank your mom for picking it out.  You’ve sent a lot of cards that really said and meant a lot, but I think this was the best of all.  Those three words “I love you” say everything in the most simple and beautiful way.  And I love you Rita, and just wish I would have found this beautiful card to send to you.  If you happen to be wondering why I’m writing on both sides which I usually don’t do, it’s because I’ve got a lot to tell you and three letters to answer, and I don’t want to have to send it in two parts.  I may have to do that anyway.

Sounds like I won’t be able to recognize your room next time I’m home.  I know how long you’ve waited to get it fixed up, and I’m glad it’s finally getting done.  But some day, and I hope it’s not too far away, I’m going to make you move out of there and give you another room to fix up, with a great big double bed in it.  I may even help if you let me.

It also sounds like I’ve got a lot of new clothes to see.  But I know darn well you’ll look great in them, just like you do in everything.  I can’t wait to see them though.  Hope I don’t have to wait too long.

About your going around with those guys in the Jeep — I don’t mind and I’m glad you had a good time, but did you have to do it with the National Guard!!?  Boy!  No, seriously, I guess I’m just jealous of them for being there when I’m not.  But I still don’t think I could stomach being a weekend warrior anymore than I can stomach the Army.

Honey, don’t worry about what they said about you being too young and about the changes that could take place.  We both know how deep our love is, and I’m sure that if either of us had any doubts we wouldn’t have gotten this close to marriage without voicing them.  As far as maturity goes, I feel you’re more mature in most ways that others your age, and I know my folks do too or they wouldn’t have gone along with the whole idea.  Notice I said in most ways — in many ways you are still younger, but in those ways I don’t want you to change.  Too many people outgrow their love for simple things and fail to see the beauty around them.  I don’t feel that outgrowing that makes people more mature, but less so.  Finally, the changes that may occur in the next year or so couldn’t cause us any problem with the love we have going for us.  I feel that any changes could only bring us closer together, if possible, and not apart.  I probably wouldn’t feel this way if you weren’t as understanding as you always are.  Thanks for being what you are Rita.

You said it seems our wedding date seems farther and farther away all the time.  I know what you mean.  I spent hours trying to figure out a way it could be moved up, but nothing seems practical.  Even if I could get leave right now, which I probably could swing, you’d still have your school to finish.  Even if I came home around Christmas you’d have nearly two months until the semester, and by then I’d be ready to go over.  But if you can think of any way to swing it and want to get married before I go over, let me know.  If it would be practical, I’d be all for it.

Now, to answer your PS’s.  “Web gear” means things like pistol belt, pack, canteen, ammo pouches, ponchos, etc., that we use in the field.  And Bob may be home in about two weeks if he doesn’t get stuck on casual.  He graduates the 26th I think.

Okay, I think I’ve covered your letters fairly well.  Now for a few things around here.

Monday night I came to the barracks about 9:00, and Clay was moping around.  He had started thinking about his girl and got depressed, so he decided to go out and get smashed and wanted me to go along.  I didn’t feel like getting all polluted but decided I’d go along and keep an eye on him.  He sure needed it.  In two hours he put away more booze than I could drink in a month of Sundays.  This is at the E4-E9 Club, and I just had a couple of mixed drinks, but Clay was ordering doubles, with a double VO straight for a chaser.  I had to practically carry him back and pour him into bed — and then he got sick.  He spent half the night in the latrine dry heaving.  I just left him there and went to bed finally.

Yesterday we had ambush training all day.  Mostly classes and demonstrations in the morning, but in the afternoon we were broken up into groups, one group setting up an ambush for the other to walk into.  After just one, Clay, a guy named Randy, and I sneaked off on our own.  We do follow one group to where they set up an ambush, and then we’d ambush them just as they were about to spring theirs.  We really had a riot, shooting blanks and really causing some confusion.  They even sent guys out looking for us and had guards around their ambush site, but they never caught us.  But while they were taking a break we captured a second lieutenant, and later a couple more guys.  Had a lot of fun, and like that lieutenant told us, we probably learned more that way anyway.  He wanted to come with us after we captured him, but that wouldn’t look too good.  We could have gotten in trouble if we would have been caught or if that Looey squealed on us, but later we just sneaked back in with our own group, and only a few of our guys ever knew we were gone for over 2 1/2 hours (we also found three camouflaged ammo dumps we shouldn’t know about, so we had plenty of ammo).

One thing in your letters I forgot to mention — “Decision.”  I don’t recall if I ever read them or not, but if they mean something to you, I know they will to me too.  Thanks, hon.  And that reminds me of last weekend.  Bob and I talked a lot about religion, and I was going to give him one of my New Testaments, but I forgot.  I’m going to try to remember to take it to him this weekend, but you know Bob — by now he may not want it.  But we’ll see.  I’d like him to have it, especially if he’d read it once in a while.

I’m going to close now and hit the sack, so I can dream of you.  I’ve been doing that pretty regularly for a long time now — like since I met you.  And I’ll keep on until I don’t have to dream anymore, ’cause I’ll have you with me forever.  I love you Rita.  I love you with all my heart, and always will.

All my love,


I asked mom about what the “Decision” reference was, and this is what she said:

Actually, I think they were a series of bible studies I was in at the time. Seems to me, I ran across them recently in a box I found in the rafters in the garage and threw them away. Your Dad was with me when I went forward at the Billy Graham Crusade on campus.  After that, I was in a study with some freshman girls and we met on campus. I’m sure I was the youngest in the group and of course, when summer came, they all went home.