Cu-Chi, Saturday, May l0, 9:30 pm:
How calm the night is when thoughts of you come drifting among the soft evening breezes. How refreshing the coolness of the memories that clean the night air of daily hardships and restore the hope of better times to one's mind. May the harshness of your life be softened by the knowledge that this someone loves you more deeply than the ends of the Universe and more faithfully than Romeo was to his bride, Juliet. May your prayers always include your true love far away in a foreign land, against his will and better judgment.
We (the 9th Chemical Detachment and me) just finished a bar-b-que, T-bone steak party in honor of several men who were awarded air medals, etc. It was nice to eat a decent meal again, but tomorrow there's another party for the 1st sergeant who's leaving to go to another unit in the field (by request). I'm just trying to think of some of the things I meant to write in my last letter.
Oh yes, your picture of your picture was professional quality, in fact I at first thought you had it made up from the negative until I noticed the corner was cut off a little but still unbelievably fantastic. Of course, it's no more than I expected from my 1st class wife who hides her talents because she's afraid of making a fool of herself but never does.
They have glassware here at the PX so when I get some money, I'll send you some and if you don't like it you can break every glass just for fun.
I haven't any money to send you right now because I spent it all today on you, but I'll save up and send you some soon. I'm glad you paid some tithing for me. It seems our ESP is still working because I wrote you to, just a day or two before I got your letter telling me you did. You're wonderful.'
I got another scribbled note from Marlene telling me what happened in the temple. That Larry must have been in rare form that day. I do hope they're happy. The mail order PX sent me notice that their china would be sent late this month because they were out of stock for the present. So they ought to get it in June sometime. I hope they're still married by then - knowing Larry.
The 25th Inf. Div. continues to tear up Charlie around here although we won't get anywhere near the 2,000 body count for last month.
I just finished rereading your last four letters to get an idea of what to answer. I'm glad Nikki is better but I know she was in competent hands.
You know, Janet, you are the classic example of beauty in the natural woman. Your grace, charm, and love mature more and more each year and make you more desirable to your husband. How else can I say it baby except - you’re groovy!
Well time to say goodnight for another day. I still love you so don't give up hope. Keep working on that bikini figure and tan and send more pics. I have two rolls in the shop.
Cu-Chi, Sunday, May 11, 7:45 pm:
It's Sunday again and my afternoon to relax a little. I didn't finish cutting hair until almost one o'clock and barely made it to Sacrament at two. After church I went swimming with the fellows next door and when we got back, the 1st Sgts party was going on so I went and had a bar-b-qued steak and some potatoe salad and washed it down with Ginger ale. Two nights in a row of good chow is enough to spoil a man and make him think he was home again.
Pixley called today about the early out and just to chat. So I'm sending you a copy of the Army Regulations covering the early out that might help you in your endeavors. Reading the Regs cleared up a lot of things that I had only heard rumors of.
Oh yes, heavy rumors day in Cu-chi. The Division is pulling out this summer starting June 15th and taking about four months. Everyone who has six months in country by a certain date (probably sometime in July) will go to Hawaii, the others will be absorbed into other units and stay here. I'm waiting to see what happens.
The little statue you sent is cute and tells me a lot about the "kid". Well, Dear, I must go to bed now and rest my weary bones.
I hope the enclosed pages will help you understand what I need to get me out. You might look up Gary Pixley's phone number and let him know what he has to do for Fix because I don't think Fix really understands. Gary lives in Canoga Park I think, but used to live in Reseda.
I really miss you dear and hope I'm missed too. All my prayers ask that we might be together again soon.
Cu-Chi, Monday, May 12, 9:45 pm:
Lots of action around old Cu-chi this week. Last night I was rudely awakened at 2:00am by the unforgettable sound of a rocket coming toward me, and sure enough I wasn't dreaming. It hit about 50 feet from me near a ditch and showered my hootch with rocks. It was only a 107mm rocket so it didn't do much damage except to things quite near (like the next hootch which looks like Swiss cheese). I immediately dee dee maued to the bunker in case he had a big brother behind him somewhere. It was sure louder than my alarm clock. There were a few others that came floating down onto Cu-chi during the course of the next two hours and then I went back to my dreaming of you. I'm not telling you this to scare you but only because I don't keep any secrets from you. So don't worry, I'm scared enough for both of us.
I heard a nasty rumor tonight that Mrs. Dixon (the prophetess that predicted Kennedy's death) has said that the 13th of May will be the biggest, bloodiest battle of the Vietnam War here at Cu-chi and that Cu-chi will change hands several times during the course of the battle. So with that to ponder I await the dawn of the 13th just to see if she's right. We here at Cu-chi think it will be closer to Uncle Ho's (Ho Chi Minh) birthday on Monday next. Time will tell. Last years Tet was supposed to end it all too, but the 25th is still here and even meaner than last year. So keep saying your prayers but don't worry about me, I'm coming home in 128 days.
Otherwise, it really was hot here today and I was busy all day and still tired from last night so the day dragged on slow.
Oh yes, my precious, that letter from Glendale College is perfect but if you can get one from Pierce, all the better. Just so the date to register isn't earlier than Sept. 16th because you can register for me as far as I'm concerned but the Army doesn't see it that way. So I'll turn in this letter from Glendale so I get my early out and then I can change to Pierce later if I can.
Your poem was beautiful, Dearest, I thought you had copied it out of a book until I read your letter. You amaze me all the time!
I have to get a little sleep before the 2:00 am rocket barrage so I'll close this off for now and write more tomorrow night because I keep forgetting the things I was going to tell you. This evening they had a live combo and singer over at the MPs club so I wandered over for a while. It was nice just to see a woman dressed like one instead of in sloppy black PJs.
I guess I'm going to have to take more time to write letters because I owe so many.
Cu-Chi, Tuesday, May 13, 10:30 pm:
I'm still here believe it or not. I didn't sleep too good last night and would you believe nothing happened. But it all came out best because I felt good all day. I guess maybe I was getting too much sleep.
Tonight is supposed to be doomsday at Cu-chi says Jeane Dixon but I (Hal just killed another cockroach. The 7th tonight) don't worry too much about it. In fact, I plan to sleep very good tonight for a change.
Hal Just got two more, that's nine! It rained this afternoon so I guess they're all coming up where it's dry. I hate them, they fly around and land on me and uugghh!
I was going to make a tape tonight but it's too late so I'll do it tomorrow night. I just got back from the movie "The Graduate" and it's even funnier the second time around.
The bugs are taking over tonight. They are massing for an attack on my body. I'll have to defend myself in the dark I guess.
I guess $500 just doesn't buy much anymore when you get right down to it. And to think you didn't even buy any groceries with any of it. Well anyway, I just couldn't resist squashing another cockroach and right after I did still another one attacked me but I got him too. That's 11.
Anyway, as I was about to say, you'll get one more check for $330 plus whatever I can scrape together here this month and starting the check on the 1st of July you'll get $500 instead of $130.60 or $330 plus whatever I can scrape up.
The people don't have the house leased till November as far as I know, but if they do, we'll get an apartment for a couple of months if they won't move. Either that or buy your two story that you want.
If I don't get home in time to register, in case I do get out in Sept., I'm going to try and get all my classes on two days a week or early mornings whichever I can swing.
Cu-Chi, Thursday, May 15, 10:00 pm:
Half a month gone, getting short. The clerks started to work on my early out today so it won't be long before
know for sure how short I am.
A newsy day today. I don't know if I told you about the Captain that came in yesterday and got mad because I was cutting the hair of someone not in the company, causing him to wait a while. So he grabbed his hat and stomped down to the orderly room and complained to the 1st Sgt who immediately called me and chewed me out for cutting these guys' hair (they were from 1st Cav). So I told him they were friends of mine and expected that to be the end of it. But this morning the CO called me in and chewed me out for doing it and when he finished the 1st sgt tried to chew me out but I didn't really care about him so all he did was get mad. (He didn't like my attitude he said, so I answered "fine" which really blew his mind.)
Anyway, I came back to the barbershop and guess who was waiting for a haircut, the tattletale Captainl I wanted to mess up his hair but I knew I'd really be in trouble so I cut his hair. When he was done he went to tip me and I (wanting to get even) said "keep your money, I don't want it!", with as much smugness as I could muster without showing any disrespect. At that he bolted and being a big Negro said "What's the matter with my money?" I again repeated that I didn't want it (and if he'd left it I would have thrown it in the mud outside) and he really got mad and stomped out of the barbershop.
Well I taught him a lesson, nobody messes with the barber. However, the CO came by this evening and we chatted and straightened things out. But the crybaby Captain was hurt so I got my revenge. Jake wins againl
Now back to more pleasant news. We got rocketed again early last night but they all landed on the other side of Cu-chi. But being the screwed up place it is, we went on "Red" alert which means we get dressed in battle gear and sit in the trenches around the company area in case Charlie breaks through the wire. Well, we didn't get attacked so I came back and went to bed or rather slept on top with my clothes and boots on. I slept good anyway.
More fireworks tonight probably since Uncle Ho's birthday is getting closer. So I'm going to sleep now and hope to get a couple of hours rest before the big attack.
Enclosed are a couple of clippings out of the Tropic Lightning news. The l07mm rockets are what keep sneaking in on us at night and General Williamson is one of my customers here.
Cu-Chi, Friday, May 16, evening:
The end of Cu-chi was postponed three days due to bad weather so it's to take place tonight. The briefing to the wheels say that there are 200-300 rocket sights surrounding this place with everything from 107mm to 240mm rockets. Now, that 240 is bad news so I'm not going to hesitate in dee dee mauing to the bunker tonight. I procured 15 more ammo magazines today, so I have 20 now which ought to last me a few minutes if I ever need them. I hope I never will but I'm still ready for anything.
Back to happier things. I weighed myself after my shower tonight, 208#, so it's going away very slowly and maybe it'll stay away this time.
Mike Hyre is a fantastic singer, in fact he toured Europe with the Mitchell Boys Choir back a few years ago. That's why I had him in my quartet when we were performing around Sunland/Tujunga. Joe McKeon, Mike Hyre, Gary Gudmundson, and myself were very big as "The Listeners 4" in the Stake Quartet Contest and Elks-a-poppin at the High School Aud. It was really a lot of fun but we had to give it up because of lack of engagements.
I guess our ESP has broken down again. I wanted you to send me a pair of little scissors that I used to cut my toenails with instead of regular clippers for toenails. And the combs were fine except that the teeth are still too fine and close together on the small end. The one I have that I like so much is a Mister Barber "Sociate" #689. If you can get one or two fine, if not I won't need anymore combs for a while.
The cockroaches are attacking again so I have to stop every few seconds to fight them off. They've been joined by the mosquitoes so it's a tougher battle all around.
Whatever happened to Svetlana's cards? Whatever happened to that next tape? Whatever happened to that popcorn and crunchy peanut butter, but no Ritz crackers (they have them at the PX now)? Whatever happened to me that I had to leave you for so long?
Cu-Chi, Sunday, May 18, 5:30 pm:
A star has fallen from heaven, or so it seems. I've really had a rough week here at the barbershop and it looks to get even rougher before it's through.
Sorry that you didn't get a letter yesterday but just as I was getting ready to write one the "weasel" (1st Sgt) called and sent me to the bunker line because they needed another NCO. It happened to be pouring rain at the time so I wasn't very enthusiastic about the whole thing, but I went. It stopped raining for me just before I got there so I didn't get wet like the others but the whole place was flooded and muddy. The frogs were so noisy that it was impossible to hear the millions of mosquitoes trying to land on me and take a bite. In one word it was miserable!!! I drew the first watch till midnight but the mosquitoes kept me from sleeping the rest of the night anyway. I was really beat this morning, my eyes burned and my head ached, but I got the morning off to catch up on my sleep. By 9:00 am it was so hot I couldn't sleep anymore so I'm still dead tired.
Then to top it off, the Chief of Staff wanted a haircut today. So I opened up after lunch to cut his hair and he threatened me with field duty because I wasn't working enough and that I supposedly sneered at someone who didn't tip me. Well the Chief of Staff doesn't make idle threats so I'm worried today besides being tired, which adds up to great depression. I went and talked to my CO and I'll stay open an extra hour a day but I don't think it will solve anything anyway. It's just been a miserable day altogether.
If I wasn't 121 days short I don't think I would care about anything. But coming home to you in Sept. keeps me going from day to day. I'm so tired right now I can hardly see but every time I try to sleep my body won't relax.
I'll write more tomorrow, Dear, when I'm feeling better. Don't worry, everything will turn out OK. The Lord hasn't failed us yet.
Later, 10:00 pm:
I just got back from talking with Captain Ray Bills, the LDS group leader and I feel much better now, not so depressed.
I'm still scared but not depressed anyway. The whole base camp is on alert and we have to sleep with our clothes on tonight. Tomorrow is Uncle Ho's birthday and a big attack is expected to celebrate it.
So I'll quit now and get some much needed sleep and write you tomorrow my precious.
(Editors note: The barber was usually exempt from bunker guard duty because the men pulling guard duty were given the next morning off to rest. Since the barbershop wasn't supposed to close except Sunday afternoons, the barber was left alone. When called for guard duty, I knew that the Chief of Staff was due for a haircut and made sure that the 1st Sgt promised me the next morning off. After I came back from the bunker line, I knew they would look for me at my shop so I went next door to the 9th Chem. Det. and tried to get some sleep. I heard my phone ringing off the hook and one of the guys came in and told me the 1st Sgt was in a panic looking for me. I stayed in bed until noon and then went to lunch. The 1st Sgt started screaming at me for not being in my hootch when he tried to find me, so I reminded him of giving me the morning off. The final act was that the Chief of Staff had been calling for an appointment all morning and then climbed all over the 1st Sgt for letting me pull guard duty. I never did guard duty again during my tour in Vietnam.)