June 13, 1969.  Camp Evans, Vietnam.

Dearest Rita,

Once again there was no work formation tonight, so I’m all cleaned up and done with my shower and sweating again.  It’s real cool the way you start sweating before the water stops.

I had guard duty last night and am really tired tonight.  I got to sleep this morning, but in this heat it doesn’t help much.  Another reason is that I have KP tomorrow.  Just thinking about it wears me out.

I really don’t have much to say tonight — not much has been going on.  All our ships have had their periodic inspections and haven’t had much maintenance to pull last couple of days.  A couple or ships of come back with bullet holes, but nothing serious.

No one has fallen off any bunkers or gone to the hospital for any reason lately.  Oh, I guess Bill L. isn’t home yet; he’s still on a hospital ship over here, but will be going home soon.  It’s a gastric ulcer and mono.  He will be getting a medical discharge though, from what I hear.

I’m having the same problem several other guys are complaining about — not a thing to write.  Everything around here is getting old and boring.  It hasn’t been too bad so far, but I have a feeling things are going to start to drag before too long.

I suppose I could tell you that Kim is trying to teach me to play the guitar.  In fact, if I can’t think of something more interesting to say pretty quick I’ll just quit and practice for a while.

Saturday evening.

I just finished a day of KP and I’m not even tired!  Mainly it’s because I let everything slide and didn’t work any more or any harder than I had to.  I don’t usually like to do things that way but I’ve just about decided that the way to get along in the Army.  You don’t get any more or less whether you work hard or not, so why work up a sweat in the first place?

Okay, enough reflections on the trials and tribulations of Army Life.  On to something more important.  I received a long letter (11 pages) from you today and will now endeavor to answer it.

First of all you’d best tell the Knutson girls that I enjoyed their letters and tell them all hi for me.  Hope that will keep them happy.  I imagine they’ve been bugging you for a reply, right?

So — you went over the weight limit, huh?  Well, I love you anyway honey.  Popped any more pins lately?  If you’re having trouble keeping down there now, imagine what will be like in a couple of years.  I wish though, that rather than the semi-starvation diet you always go on, you would get on [one] that’s medically approved.  It would probably help you lose faster and keep it off without suffering from hunger pains all the time.

My concentration has been shattered by Pete (Kim) hauling out the guitar and distracting me.  He started an impromptu sing-along — he and I.  Everyone else is gone.  So if this doesn’t get finished tonight you can blame him.

This is Sunday now and as you can tell I didn’t make it back to this letter last night.  Maybe I can get it done today.

You mentioned china in your letter, and I’ve been looking around to see what is available.  You’re supposed to be able to order it through all PX’s over here, but you must remember that we are kind of out in the sticks, and the PX facilities we have aren’t quite up to par.  But I’ve got nine months left so I’ll do my best.  I’ll try to get a hold of a brochure to send to you and let you pick your own pattern.  Just to be on the safe side.

No, I don’t think I can find a Vietnam map over here.  We have plenty of maps around, but just area maps used for flying.  I haven’t seen a map of the whole country since I got here.  Wouldn’t you be able to find one at the bookstore or maybe Madsen’s?  Well, maybe not.  Anyway, I’ll keep my eyes open, but don’t count on it.

Have you been to any more of those waiting wives things yet?  You haven’t mentioned them for a while so I was wondering.

So you don’t see much of Bob, huh?  Well, I don’t even hear from him anymore.  The last letter was a month and a half ago.  So next time you do see him kick him in the rear end for me and tell him to get busy.

The year that has gone by since I gave you your diamond has sure gone by fast, hasn’t it?  I still remember how I felt — both excited and nervous — the night you got it, even if I was 1500 miles away.  You realize that if I had come over here when I left Eustis we would be looking forward to our wedding day in a couple months and wouldn’t have to worry about a long separation?  But think of what we’ve already had together.  Just remembering that and looking forward to it again will help the next nine months go by fast.

I know what you mean by that first date feeling.  That’s the way I always feel too, but in a more relaxed way.  Maybe that’s because we’ve never had to try to impress each other, even on our first dates.  I’m so impressed and proud of you the way you really are that anything else wouldn’t do it all.  I love you Rita, and always will.  Remember that when a year seems so long.  I love you!

Your Husband,