A NEW PROFESSION
Well I do believe your prayers have been answered. So keep it up!
Yesterday when I arrived here I was really disappointed and felt bad that I couldn't be with Pix but I was going to ask for a transfer as soon as I got assigned and my story about my "half brother" was down pat. I hadn't been here an hour yet when they called me over the PA and said to report to personnel at -Div. Headquarters. I thought I was really going to get in trouble or something because it caught me unprepared. When I got there I was taken to some Sgt, a Major, and then a Sgt-Major and interviewed.
I guess I passed because after I get through with in country training (5 days) I report to Div. HQ and work as an operations NCO with all the big wheels. That consists of answering the phone and taking casualty reports from the men in the field. The office is air-conditioned and the atmosphere casual. So don't worry about your #1 because he probably won't see much action (even though he wants to) for his stay here. Too bad!
Later... I guess I'll finish this now so you won't worry about me. I'm safe, sound and cooling it. Oh yes, my new job is 12 hours on and 12 hours off, like the fire business only half as long. I think I can swing two R and R's now that I'm with the wheels, so keep your eyes crossed.
I love you so much I even worry that you're worried about me. But my little pet have no fears about the big Jake, he's OK. Why, just to show you - at this very minute I'm sitting here in the shade listening to the 25th Div. Band play while the little Red Cross girls serve iced Kool-aid. No Lie!
War IS hell! But being Mormon I went somewhere else because this sure don't seem like war, even though the machine guns, grenades and flares were going all night. It almost woke me up once.
Cu-Chi Base Camp, Thursday (March 13) 3:00pm
Wait one! This here fast moving Army has changed its mind. (If it has one) I will now go to the 1st Battalion, 5th Mechanized Infantry. They called me in today to tell me the bad news. It seems that some Sgt E-5 out in the field has been wounded three or so times, so they're going to give the job to him instead, since it was such a plush job.
Too bad for the big Jake! But don't worry about me. I can still take care of myself. It just disappoints me that I told you in the last letter that I had a permanent address here. I guess they'll forward the mail to me, but this moving around slows up your letters to me.
It's hot here. If you can picture summer all year around without an air conditioner, that's it - only worse. It seems the only thing I buy here is iced Kool-aid and even then I only buy the ice it seems.
I'm forcing myself to sit here and write otherwise I'd be asleep or just laying here on my cot thinking about you and staring at the ceiling. Any other activity causes great streams of sweat to pour from my body.
I'm temporarily staying here in a hootch" which is a tin roofed shack with screened in sides. It's held together with a few nails and 2X4s. Each guy has closed off a little section to himself, like horse stalls. It's not much but it's better than nothing. Each hootch has a "Hootch girl" that is the housekeeper. She comes in every morning and makes the bed, does the laundry, shines the boots and jokes with the guys in broken English.
.....I was just having a talk with three mama-sans (hootch girls) but they are so funny with their half English that it's hard to get anything across. Most of them understand slang and cuss words better than anything else. Anything "Numba One" is OK, but anything "Numba ten" is really bad. I just had a homesickness spell! They're really bad news.
Everyday here is like hell to me and I haven't done anything except be here yet. Keep praying so I can come home in one piece.
Now I can put in a transfer request to go with Pix after all. As soon as I get where I'm supposed to go that
is. This place is worse than Fort Irwin!
Oh yes, there's $340 on the way home for March. They paid me early. May is the last month of my $115 deduction and then your check ought to jump from $330 (that's what you'll get in April) to $450 around June or July. Can you live on that?"
Cu-Chi, Friday, March 14th, l0:30pm
Well sweetheart I imagine that by now you are thoroughly confused about where I am. As a matter of fact so am I. I've been playing musical Sgts for the past few days. Yesterday I was in Operations G-3 at Div. HQ, then this morning I was moved to A Company, 1st Batt. , - 5th Mech. Inf., but having mentioned that I was a barber I was yanked back here to be the Division HQ barber. I don't know if I can hack being a barber for nine months or even one day but I'll find out tomorrow - my first day. The Generals and all the big shots are the only customers so you're either good or out. I hope I make it. The previous barber is leaving in 13 days and he was a professional so I have to fake it real hard. But remember that I'm trying my best to stay away from where the bullets are, for all of our sakes.
Today I had a trial run and cut the clerks hair. It seemed strange at first but came back pretty good. Then after dinner I helped the old barber count his money (the barber may get tips) then I took a shower and went to the show. A Walt Disney show "The Original Family Band" or some such nonsense. Then I went over to the MARS station (Military Assistance Radio Station) to try and call you but they didn't have radio contact yet. So I settled for the next best thing - writing you a letter.
You may send me mail here at this address from here on until I tell you otherwise.
Sgt. Jon Jacobsmeyer
H.H.C. 25th Inf. Div.
APO San Francisco 96225
I'm waiting for my first letter which I hope comes soon.
In a way the good Lord is still taking care of his #1 son. This job pays more money and has shorter hours than the last but I had to give up the air conditioner for a while.
I just broke out the fruitcake and passed it around the hootch. The guys were having a can of beer and listening to a Johnny Rivers tape.
While I was at the movie the perimeter got hit over here by our company. There were a lot of flares and air strikes but nobody here even gave it a second thought but me. I thought it was groovy. I still don't have a rifle so if the VC walked in right now I'd just have to watch. It doesn't seem too likely, but two weeks ago the gooks slipped up on two bunkers where the guys had gone to sleep on guard and slit their throats. Then they blew up nine big Chinook copters in each of which there was supposed to be an awake guard, but wasn't. The gooks were inside the camp walking around from 12:30 am until they were discovered about 4:00 am. Fourteen guys were killed, which included six in the bunkers and the rest in the copters. There were 31 VC killed during the raid - of which I have seen pictures. Uugh! Sure glad I'm a barber and sleep in my private hootch. We haven't even been mortared since got here so I haven't seen anything of this war yet.
They sure scared me, though, when they sent me to that Mech. Inf. unit. That's the same as at Fort Lewis, hot, dusty and miserable. This is definitely where it's at as far as the action goes.
However, good rumors from Div. HQ. This Div. might be going back to Hawaii this summer for good and everyone in it goes too! So keep your eyes crossed. That rumor came from the top down so it ought to be pretty good.
Tomorrow? Maybe a Fireman!?"