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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?

Jeff and Rita on her 17th Birthday


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September 2009