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May 17, 1969.  Camp Evans, Vietnam.

Dearest Rita,

Don’t have much time tonight but I thought I’d write a few lines anyway.  I’m kind of in a lousy mood because I’ve got KP tomorrow.  Whenever I see my name on the roster it ruins my whole week.  And I know they’re going to work our butts off because we have an I.G. inspection Monday.

The IG coming up here has all the brass in a panic.  We’ve spent the last couple days prepping for it.  Some guys are working until midnight getting everything ready.  You’d think they’d cut out all that kind of bullshit in a combat zone.

Still don’t have any word on how Bill is.  I’m hoping he’s not too bad off, but he sure was sick when he left here.

I haven’t had a chance to get over to finance yet.  Dave D. is going to try to get that extra money too, so we’ll go as soon as we can get an hour off.  When that will be I have no idea.

I’m sorry Rita, and I’m going to have to close this and go to bed — I can’t even see straight.  I’ll try to get a longer letter or a tape off you tomorrow — no, Monday.  I won’t feel like doing anything when I get off KP tomorrow.  Anyway, real soon.

I love you Reet.

Your Hubby,


May 15, 1969.  Camp Evans, Vietnam.

Dearest Rita,

I finally got two letters from you today after a lapse of about six days.  Lousy service.  But they were worth the wait.  Now I’ve got a lot of answering to do.  And I promise this is going to be a long one for a change.

First of all, I still think that you’re not getting all my letters.  You keep telling me to write and I keep writing and writing,.  And then you tell me to write again.  I’ve been writing just about every other day, so I don’t know what the deal is.

You asked about your package again too.  I think I told you in my last tape that I had received four of them.  So unless you sent another one I’m all caught up.  As far as the dresses you spoke of, you know I’d have to see them to be able to tell.  However, I can definitely say I like the T-shirts.  You really turn me on when you wear them.  Wish I could be there to get turned on.

No, I don’t think you’d best send any civilian clothes.  I have very little chance and no place to wear them.  Maybe before R&R, but not just now.  Thanks anyway honey.

I’d best tell you now before I forget that one of the letters I got from you had our marriage license in it.  As soon as I can I’ll get to finance and try to get the ball rolling on that extra money.

So, my wife is turning into a booze hound, huh?  Seriously, I’m glad you had a good time.  And I know all too well how depressed and lonely you can get after a few beers.  It’s happened to me many many times.  Keep on flashing that ring too.  Cut ‘em down cold.

About Dale now — I know how you feel when you say you want to be friends, and I’m all for it — as long as he realizes that’s the way it must be.  I’m glad you don’t go out alone with him.  I know that you wouldn’t do anything I wouldn’t want you to.  I believe in you, I trust you, and I love you.  Yes, it did bother me when you went out to dinner and drinking with him, even if some others were along.  But you and I have always been too honest with each other to hurt the other one if it can be helped.  I love you Rita.

Those pictures I talked about are being developed now.  They should be ready in a couple of days.  When I’ll get a chance to pick them up is another story.  I’ll send them to you as soon as I do.  I think I told you that it’s almost impossible to find print film over here.  There’s something you could send me.  It’s 126 film I used, color.  Then I could send some more your way.

You asked about those big guns on the tape.  I think I said there are 155 howitzers, but I found out they moved some 8 inch guns in and that’s what you heard.  They are out on the perimeter about 400 yards from here.  They shake our hooches whenever they fire.

No, I haven’t replaced the glass on your picture.  I can get it here, but just can’t get over to the place to get it.  But I’ll keep trying.

Okay, okay, I’m sorry about my nagging.  Won’t even mention school again.  Just let me know how you’re doing once in a while, okay?  I sure don’t want to sound like mom!  I do want to say one more thing about money though.  Now that you’re working, please try to put all you can of your allotment into the bank.  Take out for Wink’s and our pictures (if and when) of course.  And keep me posted as to how much we have in the bank, okay?  Now, I’ll try not to mention it again.

Nope, I don’t have that nickel anymore.  I lost it out on perimeter guard a week or so ago.  Piss me off!

Yeah, I wish I could’ve been there to help you take that shower.  They’re much more interesting that way.  And if you want to back me into a closet while we’re on R&R go right ahead.  I won’t fight it.  In fact, I kind of like the idea, but wouldn’t the bed be better?

I think I’ve answered just about everything in your letters, so I’ll let you know what’s happening around here.

I told you that I’m flying as a gunner now.  I really enjoy it, but the hours are awful long.  We’ve been flying in the A Shaw Valley a lot, but haven’t run into much ground fire.  A couple of medevacs got it in there this week though.

Tomorrow we have to go in there and clean a landing zone.  I don’t care for that at all, it’s too much like hard work.

We had two ships go down this week, but no one was hurt and both ships were recovered and are flying again.

The crew chief of the ship I’ve been flying on is a great guy — Danny is his name.  He was crewing the ship that went down and killed that pilot about three weeks ago.  He got a Silver Star as well as a Purple Heart out of the deal for saving the other pilots life.

Bill L. has been sick for about a week, and they finally sent them out to a hospital ship.  They didn’t know what was wrong and if they found out yet we haven’t heard.  He was pretty bad off so he may be in for a while.  I guess I forgot to tell you that he’s been gunning for a couple of weeks now.

Clay just told me to say “Hi” and tell you he loves you.  He’s not so sure you appreciate him now, since he helped me get into the flying game.  He and I are in the same hooch now since I came into flight platoon.  Before this I didn’t get to see him very often.  Our jobs kept us busy at the wrong times.

I have to hit the sack now hon.  It’s close to midnight in I had to get up early.  I guess I managed to make a fairly long letter out of this.  I wish I could do it more often.  I’ll sure try.

I love you Rita.  I think about you and us all the time, and pray for our safe reunion every night.  When the time comes when we can be together again I’ll be the happiest guy in the world.

Goodnight, Mrs. Johnson.

I love you!


PS.  Sending 8th card.  Have you received all the others?

May 13, 1969.  Camp Evans, Vietnam.

Dearest Rita,

An awful lot has been happening since I wrote you last — that was Saturday, I believe.  Anyway, Sunday night we got hit for the first time here at Evans.  So we spent the night sitting outside on top of our bunkers watching the show.  We had to stay on alert and in full combat gear until 2:30 the next morning.  Two cobras blew the hell out of an orphanage right outside the gate by mistake.

Then I had to get up at 4:30 to go flying.  I’m a gunner now.  I really enjoy it but it means some long hours.  The ship I’m assigned to was hot last night, meaning we had to stay in the ship ready to take off.  I got two hours of sleep — maybe.  That makes five hours for the last three days.  You’re lucky I’m writing at all tonight.

I wasn’t going to tell you about my flying at first, but I figure you’ve got a right to know.  Besides, this probably won’t last too long because we’re supposed to be getting cobras.  In fact we got two of them today.  And cobras don’t have any gunners or crew chiefs.  So don’t worry about me — I’ll be fine until then.

I haven’t been here for the last couple of days for mail call — so I don’t have any answers for you.  And I’ll try to write you every couple days it least, but it may be harder now.  But I’ll do my best.

Must go to bed now before I fall asleep writing this.  More as soon as I can find time.

I love you, Rita.



May 11, 1969.  Camp Evans, Vietnam.

Dear Wife!

I’m going to start this now, but I’m not sure if I’ll get it finished.  I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that we’re going to have to work tonight.  I worked last night until about 2:30, so I’m kind of tired.  Got off to grab a couple more hours this morning go.  That helped.

Haven’t really done much today, which surprised me.  Even sat down and played cards for a while this afternoon — no one pushed us today which was nice for a change.

Didn’t get any mail from you today or yesterday, so I figure on a couple tomorrow they seem to come in spurts of two or three at a time with a day off in between.  I seem to be getting better service than a lot of guys though.

Honey, you said in one of your last letters that you were going to spend your life making me happy and proud of you.  Rita, I don’t think you could make me any happier or prouder of you than I am now.  And I know you’ll always make me happy, just because you’re the way you are — proud, because you’re my wife.  And I know our love will always remain strong and as beautiful as it is now.  I love you Rita, with all my heart.

I was right — we have to work.  Darn!  I’m just going to send this the way it is.  I’ll try to get a longer one off tomorrow, but that’s no promise.  I’ve found it’s easier said than done.

Goodnight, Reet.



PS.  Where’s that picture of you in your negligee?!!!

May 9, 1969.  Camp Evans, Vietnam.


May 8, 1969.  Camp Evans, Vietnam.

Dearest Rita,

I guess it’s been a couple of days since I’ve written, and then it was a tape anyway.  Sorry about that, Reet, but I wasn’t feeling too good last night and went to bed early.

I didn’t think I’d get a chance to write tonight either.  We had to work tonight, and in the rain to boot.  And I mean to say it was really coming down.  We couldn’t get the ship up a slight hill to the hangar because of the mud, so we had to work out on the flight line.  Then, as soon as we finished, it stopped raining.  Tick me off!

I got another tape from you yesterday.  It was great to hear your voice, but I just about dropped my drawers when you said you got rid of $110 in an hour.  And you still have bills left?  Well, once you’re paid-up, please, please don’t charge anymore for a while, okay?  I don’t think I could afford it!  Just kidding, hon.  Seriously though, charging too much isn’t a good habit to get into.

Oh, say, this is the first — I’ll have to tell you about it.  I actually got a day off yesterday.  Well, a half day.  And I got to go to the beach!  Wasn’t bad at all.  It’s a real nice beach — Eagle Beach — with a beer hall, PX, and the works.  The water was warm and the clearest I’ve ever seen.  Not any surf to speak of, but what the heck.  And I got sunburned.  On my legs and feet.  Wearing boots and pants was pure hell for me today.  I hope I can get down there often enough that my legs catch up to the rest of my tan.

Oh, another thing — if you haven’t found The Fountainhead yet, don’t bother.  Kim’s sister sent it to him.  But if you have found it or do see it, you’d probably like it.  And I’ll send you Atlas Shrugged real soon because Kim got a copy of that too.

About that bit about Dale you spoke of — I’ve had some mixed emotions about that.  I think I’ll not say anything about that for now and try to get a tape off to you tomorrow.  I think it would be easier to explain how I feel on tape than in writing.  I’m glad you told me about it though, and I can’t help but hope that he doesn’t come around anymore while he’s home.

Rita, I love you.  More than anything in the world.  Remember that always.

Your Love is My Life!

Your Hubby,


May 5, 1969.  Camp Evans, Vietnam.

May 3, 1969.  Camp Evans, Vietnam.

Hi Love!

Okay, listen close — send me one of those photostatic copies of our marriage license.  I needed it to get another 60 bucks a month out of the Army.  And that we can always use, at least I think I can get it.  Anyway, send it over, okay?

I’m sending back those pictures you sent me.  I’m keeping three of them though.  Something to remember my wife by, you know.  Not that I could ever forget her.  I’m looking for that picture you promised me of you in your négligée.  Let’s get on the ball, girl!

I’m sending another box of slides to the folks today.  I turned in some prints to be developed yesterday, but they won’t be done for a couple of weeks.  I’ll send them to you as soon as I get them.

I guess I told you on the tape that I’m working nights now.  I really like it — there aren’t so damn many people trying to tell you what to do.  Besides, we usually work from six to midnight, then get the next day off.  Kinda nice.  The only bad part is we’re working when the beer hall is open.

I’m going to close this and get it sent.  I want to write Curt this afternoon, and Dex and Bob too.  Then I may just write my wife again.  You never know.

All My Love,


Jeff and Rita on her 17th Birthday


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September 2009