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May 21, 1969.  Camp Evans, Vietnam.

Hi Honey —

I’m starting this during the noon hour.  The way things have been going lately it’s the only time I have.

That last letter I sent you — I can’t remember what I said or anything but I remember it was short and that I couldn’t even read it.  Sorry about that one.

I’m not flying anymore.  They quit using gunners.  The ships didn’t have enough power to carry that big a load in this heat.  So I’m back in maintenance again.  Between KP, guard duty, IG inspections, and working until midnight, I haven’t had time to blow my nose.  I hope that changes in a hurry, but I don’t think it’s going to.

I’ve been going to get another tape off to you too, but it’s the same story.  So don’t look for one until it gets there.  The questions you asked in your last letter (a nice long one) I’ll answer in this.

Back again and it’s now 8:15 p.m. I’m all showered in cleaned up and read a letter and listened to a tape from you.  I really should make a tape to send you but I figured since I already started this I’ll just keep going.  The next one will be a tape, okay?

I really can’t believe I’m off this early.  It’s the first time in about three weeks that I can remember.  They should start improving though.  Tomorrow we start working three shifts around the clock.  I’ll be on the 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. shift to start out.  That means we’ll be off from 2 p.m. until 6 at night.  Then there is a detail formation — usually end up filling sandbags for a couple hours.  But it will give me the afternoon for writing and maybe I can even get to the PX once for a change.

I read the letter I got tonight before I listen to the tape.  In it you mentioned your ankle without any explanation.  I don’t know what the heck you were talking about.  Had me a little worried.  I hope it’s okay by the time you get this.  The tape made it a little clearer though.  Okay, I’ll answer your often asked question about the guys in my hooch.  Nick V., Dave D., Kim, Mike E., Pete V., Gene W., Ed K., Larry R., Gordon C., a guy named Washington (new) and me.

The guys I underlined are the ones I hang around with and may mention in my letters.  Clay is in the barracks in front of us.  Skip is on one side and Spargo is on the other.  Bill is two hooches down, but it still in the hospital somewhere or other.  No word at all how he is.

Now, a question for you — what do you mean by the notation at the end of your letter “And I don’t do things backwards”?  I take it to be an answer to something I said but I can’t remember what.

That island you mentioned in the slides was actually a peninsula and a Vietnamese fishing village.  I took it mainly because of the mountains and clouds in the background.  If it weren’t for that knee in the corner it would have been an outstanding shot, I think.  Of course I haven’t seen it on the screen.

Why don’t we have sandbags all the way around the hooches?  We do — now.  Remember, those were taken shortly after we got here, and there weren’t any around them then.  The “sidewalks” you mentioned are entrances to the bunkers.

No, I haven’t seen the rat since I mentioned it on tape, we put some poison out the next day and I hope that took care of them.  The worst thing about rats around here is that they carry bubonic plague.

I’m drawing $60 a month over here and letting the rest ride the books.  I’ve been a little short towards the end of the month (like now) but that’s because of things like cameras, film, and a trip to Da Nang.  This month I’m paying off Spargo for the TV and then that should be more than enough.  I figure I got pretty close to fifty a month riding the books.  I’m not sure of the exact amount.

What’s the bit with Dutchess?  You keep saying she looks like she’s pregnant, but you’ve never actually said she was.  I take it she is though, huh?

Tomorrow I’ll listen to your tape again and takes notes.  I’ll try to get one on the way back tomorrow too.  Right now I’ve got to write a letter to the folks — I can’t recall when the last one was.  I imagine they’ve been letting you hear about it, huh?

I love you Reet.  I can understand exactly what that poem meant.  I hope you can get out of “I love you” everything I put into it.  I love you with all my heart.



Jeff and Rita on her 17th Birthday


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October 2009