Letters tell of Vietnam War experience 50 years ago

Friday, July 13, 2018

April 28, 1968

Dear Mom and Dad,

How is everyone today? I am very hot, but other than that just fine. If a person sits in the sun or in a tent the water just runs off a person. For the last two nights we have been staying out all night, but it has been inside the wall. Tomorrow we go outside the wall and come back Tuesday night.

The entire 9th Infantry Division is set up with a wall like a levee around the perimeter and it is cleared off about 500 feet outside, but pretty dense jungle after that.

The disgusting part is that it is so dirty and dusty. The tables in the mess hall have dust on them, and the floors are always filthy. Our barracks have only screen sides and canvas top, so when the dust blows, itís all over. As I said, it hasnít rained in several months and is still dry. Almost every afternoon the sky clouds up and maybe a few drops of rain, but usually the clouds blow away and the sun shines bright again.

Itís about 90 to 100 degrees every day and the sun comes up at 7 a.m. and goes down at 7 p.m. and during noon the sun is more directly overhead than I have ever seen it, so you can imagine how a person sweats. For that reason, it is very hard to keep clean clothes.

By the way, we got several new men in the unit while I was on leave, so I am still a driver, but no longer a RTO for the lieutenant, but instead I am on the mortar as I was in the very beginning. The change suits me fine, and being a driver I never have KP, never pull details, and never do much walking, but there is a lot of maintenance, which takes much of my spare time.

About two weeks ago, right after we got here, one of the fellows received word that his dad was very sick and dying, so he got 45 days or how much he needed before he has to come back. Now today, a fellow in my platoon received word that his did died, so he got 30 days or I guess how much he needs, but the unfortunate part is that his dad died Monday, the 15th and first found out today, the 20th, so the Red Cross is very slow. The same way with Darrell, when his baby was born. He called home and learned of his day-old baby and the next day the Red Cross informed him of the same thing.

Will close now, forgive the sloppy writing, but itís late and as I said, we get up around 4 a.m. and fly out by helicopters, so it may be a new experience.

All my love, Richard