June 3, 1969.  Camp Evans, Vietnam.


Dearest Rita,

Don’t expect this to be too long, ‘cause I just have a few minutes.  I should be eating, but I’ll just grab a bite before they close down the line.

I’ve been working my ___ off for the last couple of days.  Tomorrow we have a C.M.M.I. inspection.  Don’t ask me what it stands for, but a bunch of bigwigs come down and over our equipment with fine tooth combs.  Anyway, just a couple days ago Ron G. and I were assigned as drivers of the maintenance platoon trucks.  So for three days straight we’ve been working on it.  I know we’ll be working till midnight or after tonight, and I also know everything won’t get done.  But I quit worrying about it.  If it doesn’t get done, to hell with it.

I’m back now and it’s 10:00.  Got off earlier than I expected.  Mainly because the night crew needed to use it.  I really should be hitting the sack but I’m determined to get a letter finished tonight.

Remember when I told you about our weapons being taken away?  Well, several guys wrote letters to their congressmen about it.  And lately our CO and first Sergeant have been getting all sorts of letters from DC.  Also, the inspector general jumped in, the battalion CO was down and chewed top* out Sunday, and today General Wright, our new division commander was here and did the same.  Makes us all feel pretty good.  The result is that tomorrow we get our weapons back and go to the range to sight them in.  Most of us have never fired the weapon we have now.

Okay, I’m going on to answer your last letter.  I think I’ll start out with your loan to Nancy.  No, I’m not mad, but I do think it was a poor idea when you are somewhat low yourself.  Or did you draw it out of the bank?  I hope not.  If you did, I want you to be sure to get it back in, pronto.  And honey, please don’t draw any out unless there is a dire emergency.  The only other reason would be for school, and I had hoped you could save enough out of your checks for that.

Honey, I know I promised I wouldn’t bug you about money but I’m afraid I’m going to have to.  You get $130 a month from the government, and make approximately $120 at your job.  That’s $250 a month, hon, and you said you haven’t saved any yet.  I know there are bills and expenses, but that much?  The two of us lived on less in North Carolina and we were paying rent, food, gas and the works.  Surely it’s not more expensive living at home, is it?

I’m sorry Reet.  I shouldn’t go on like that.  It’s just that we’ll need all the money we can get when I come home.  And if it keeps on like this, I won’t be able to afford an R&R in Hawaii, and I want to see you there more than anything in the world.  But I won’t take it if it looks like we’ll be short when I come home.  So do me a favor, will you Rita?  Try to put $50 a month in the bank as soon as you get your check from the government.  Try your darndest to save every penny you can besides.  Thanks, honey.

Okay, I’m all done blowing for tonight.  But it’s getting late and I’ve got to get some sleep.  I promise I’ll get off a more cheerful letter tomorrow, okay?

Goodnight, Reet.  I love you.

For ever,

Jeff

PS.  Here’s the picture I forgot to send you in my last letter.


I’m assuming “top” means the high ranking offers at the camp.

Ethan

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