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November 7, 1969.  Fort Bragg, North Carolina.


Dearest Rita,

I got a letter from you today!  I was beginning to think you had forgotten about me. But you had a pretty good excuse – I can remember what it’s like during midterms. It sure was good to hear from you though.  In fact, it made my day.  All nine pages!  (Besides, I haven’t been doing too well myself lately, have I?)

I’m going to school now too.  It’s a short supplementary course on Hueys.  Supposedly it’s a course for tech inspectors, but I doubt if we’ll really get to work as one. At least I’m out of that damn office and should get at some choppers soon.  Besides, we’re exempt from all duty as long as we’re in school.  Not a bad deal.

Say hi to Sherry W. for me, okay?  In fact say hi to everyone else there too.

You asked a heck of a lot of questions in your letter, so I shall now endeavor to answer them.  First you ask what they wanted when they were torturing us.  Anything.  All we were supposed to tell them was that name rank serial number bit.  When I got caught our battery was in one big group, and we were attacked.  Since we didn’t have weapons all we could do was run.  About ten of us who were closest got caught.  As far as escaping goes, it wasn’t hard to crawl through the wire while a couple of other guys kept the guards busy.  I traveled alone after that – I figured I could travel faster and quieter that way.  And I just might have taken off without my clothes if they had let me keep my glasses!

I’m going to have to finish this letter later Reet.  We’ve got an inspection tonight that I have to get ready for.  Plus one this Saturday.  Joy.  I love you honey.  Be back later –

Much later – like Saturday evening.  The inspection was called off, but we still had to work this morning.  I slept all afternoon.  I had been planning to go to Chapel Hill for their homecoming, but decided not to when the inspection was planned.  Besides, I can’t afford it, although I’d sure like to get out of this place for a while.  I think I’ll go into town for a couple of beers later on, if I can find someone with a car who isn’t staying late.

About 30 guys from our unit are being dropped and sent to other units.  We’ve got too many guys who are helicopter maintenance.  Several of my friends are leaving, including Tom T. and Jerry W.  They don’t know where they’ll be going, but there’s a good chance they’ll be pipelined to Nam.  I tried like hell to get out of here but they wouldn’t let me.  I might have gone right over if I had.

I finally heard that Gene Pitney song you asked about.  He was on TV this afternoon.  I thought it was pretty good, but I’d have to hear it a few more times before I could say how much.

I’m still waiting for that picture.  What happened?  You said you were going to take them a few weeks ago, and haven’t heard a word since then.  Send a bunch though, okay?

I’m trying to sell my camera now.  I want to get another one.  Skip George has got me on a camera bug.  I refuse to spend any more money on it though.  I’ll just sell mine and get as good a camera as I can with the money.  Wish I could afford to keep this one but… $

That jumping I talked about – that’s a private jump club, not the airborne jump school.  All the jumping would be in my spare time, and it would have nothing to do with when I’d leave for Nam.

Wish Judy the best of luck for me, will you Reet?  I’m glad she’s happy about it and I hope everything works out for them.  Yes, I envy them too, even with a baby on the way.  Many times I’ve actually wished you would have become pregnant while I’ve been home.  I know that’s not the best way in the world to start out, but it sure isn’t the worst, either.  I’ll tell you one thing though – more and more I keep thinking I’d like a baby as soon as possible after we’re married.  There’s a lot of arguments against it, but… I guess we’ve got a while before we can work on that though, don’t we?

Back again.  It’s Sunday now, and I’m about ready to go stir crazy!  This is the deadest place in the world, even worse than Brookings on a Sunday.  Besides that it’s cold and drizzly and supposed to snow.  All in all it’s a lousy day and I’m in a very bad mood.

I went into town for a while last night and saw Angel dance.  I guess she’s pretty good, but I didn’t really watch her.  I got kind of depressed and started thinking about you, and that’s bad.  So I left early and went to bed.  But I woke up this morning feeling the same way.  I guess it’s really just feeling sorry for myself, but I miss you so much I can’t help it, Rita.  I wish it were possible to say to hell with all this and come home to you.  I love you Rita!  I guess that’s all there is to say.  I love you.  And I know I’m the luckiest guy alive because you love me.  Nobody could ask for more.

All my love,

Jeff

Sorry for the late post.  Software didn’t get the job done this morning.
Ethan

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Jeff and Rita on her 17th Birthday

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