November 21, 1968.  Fort Bragg, North Carolina.


Dear Rita,

I’m lying on my bunk with my jacket on and still freezing to death.  Our furnace went on the blink and it’s cold around here now.  The post engineers are supposed to be out to fix it.  I hope so, because I’d hate to try to get any sleep if they don’t.

This is Friday morning now – 5:30 to be honest.  We had a battalion muster this morning.  What a farce.

Last night after I wrote that one paragraph, I went into town for a while.  Tom T. got $500 yesterday for reenlisting – actually just extending his enlistment eight months.  So he wanted to go out and spend it.  A couple of the guys got pretty drunk, but I only had four beers all night.  I still can’t believe I was passing up all those free beers.  Later on they decided they wanted to do more than drink.  They decided to call up three prostitutes and have a go at it.  A couple guys offered to pay for mine, but I said no way.  I came back to the barracks and went to bed.  Rita, I’m as horny as hell, but not for someone like that.  But the big thing is that if I had, you would have understood, and that’s just why I couldn’t do it.  If I know you wouldn’t understand something like that, I could easily go out and never tell you.  But not when you’re the way you are.  I love you Reet, for being that way.  I know a lot of that mumbling doesn’t make too much sense, but I think you’ll catch the general idea.

This is Friday night now.  I spent all day at the rocket range.  When I got back – late – I was told you had called.  And I had to miss it!  But I will call back later, if I have to stay up all night.

Like I said, I was out at the range all day.  I didn’t get a chance to fire, but got a lot of flying in.  I’ve flown more this week than I have since I came in the Army.  That doesn’t bother me a bit.

I guess I didn’t tell you about firing from a ship, did I?  Well it’s out of sight!  Fired about 900 rounds Wednesday.  Major Miller, our C.O., was the pilot and he complimented me on my shooting.  Even took the ship down about 50 feet so we could see what I did to a junked car we were using for a target.  I really had a ball.  Hope I can be a door gunner in Nam.  The combination of flying and shooting can’t be beat, and I love both.

Tuesday (I think it was) we had to go through the gas chambers again.  It wasn’t as rough as we had it in basic, but they use stronger gas.  No big deal.

Oh yeah, I got my hair cut.  It was getting so long it was impossible to keep even halfway neat.  I didn’t want it quite as short as it is, but it’s not bad.  I figure by the time I get to come home it’ll be just about right.

This evening Clay, Kim, and I are going over to a warrant officer’s place.  His name is Dave H., he’s a real cool head and a hell of a good pilot.  None of this “Sir” stuff with him, we just call him Dave.  Same with several of the others.  They’re a hell of a lot better guys than the commissioned officers.

Since I’ve been out on the range so much lately I haven’t been around for mail call for couple of days, and I sure would like to have a letter of yours to read right now.  But I’ll just have to settle for talking to you tonight.  That’s not hard to take.

Gotta go – running out of borrowed paper.  But remember – I love you!  And I’ll tell you that myself, tonight.

Forever,

Jeff


Dad’s comment about mom “understanding” if he went to a prostitute caught me off guard initially.  It left me wondering whether or not he was completely delusional thinking that she would be okay with her fiance sleping with a hooker, or if my mother in 1968 was WAY more “understanding” than I remember her being.

Reading it the second time I figured out that dad was just saying that mom wasn’t ignorant to masculine urges and the nature of the Army, NOT that she would condone him acting on them.  At least that had better be what’s going on here or I have completely misunderstood the nature of their relationship.

Oh, and I guess we were right assuming that Clay’s ship going down just wasn’t that big of a deal.

Ethan

Advertisements