An Khe, VN, 3 August 1969 (LZ Uplift, in the field)

Dear Mama,

I got your short letter yesterday &emdash; Thanks.

I have moved again and may move today because of my C.O. status. Nobody wants me but these people are going to see if I can be sent to the rear. I hope so. They say the rules are such that an honest to gosh C.O. isn't supposed to be out here.

Do send the stuff even though I am moving around. I will get it. We may not move until the middle of Sept. and then perhaps not to Bay Loc.

I have sent 3 rolls of film now and a 4th is exposed. The roll #4 is of the people and such around the last place I was, a memorial service for a G.I. and some shots were I am now. The 3 rolls should be there a little ahead of this letter.

Raymonds should pack them O.K. When I was there they said they would send things over here for me.

Don't worry too much about the mail to me &emdash; it may be slow and go here and there before I get it but I usually do get it.

Mary Kirkwood sent me a catalog of, the Ohio Art School which looks interesting.

I will answer your long letter when it gets here maybe today.

Will see you next letter.

God be with you.

Love John.


An Khe, VN, 6 August 1969 (LZ Uplift, in the field)

Dear Mama,

I didn't see the men on the moon but I heard them as they made the first tracks on the moon. What do the JW's say now? Also, I wonder what the flat earth Soc. is doing?

Thanks for the poem &emdash; Did you get the alphabet? (the poetic one)

I have never seen the table you refer to by the Edgar Bros. but I think I once saw the outside of the one great Grandpa Westall made. It would be a help if those old charts could be found but don't try to send them over (Xerox copies I mean). Anything that you could Xerox would be too small to be of much value.

LZ (Landing Zone) Uplift is the place at which the 1st of the 50th aid station is located. Others like LZ English and LZ North English are here and there but not necessarily close to any V.N. town. Towns like Bong Son, Qui Nhion and Tam Quan are where the V.N. people live.

Something happened last night and then this morning that makes me sad and angry. Last night one of the GIs here wanted to ride a motorcycle, which there are many of on the road, so he flagged down a passing V.N. and forced him off his motorcycle and rode off. He was going to come back in a short while but the unfortunate fellow couldn't know that. The man was almost in tears but that wasn't enough. The other GIs forced him into the bunker, threatened him with a gun at his ear and took his money, and intimidated him in general. In a few minutes, when the motorcycle was back with an extra scratch on the fender, they gave him his money back and told him to go. All of which they thought was very funny. This morning a mama san (V.N. Woman) came in a small truck to me for first aid. A G.I. passing in a truck had thrown a rock the size of my fist at her. It cut a 2 inch gash completely through her cheek knocked out some teeth and put a big bruise on her cheekbone. After this sort of thing, which happens all the time, the official line goes "We are here for protection of the V.N. people." Tell me another joke!

The army regulations state that a conscientious objector does not have to pull guard (which means to stand on a night watch with or without a weapon) or be on radio watch (listening to relaying messages that come over the ANPRC-25 army radio). My refusal to do these things, even though I am within the law, has caused much hard feeling. I can't see any real difference in shooting a man and pointing him out so someone else can.

Being with the C.Co. in reality does change my address but, if I should be transferred to uplift or another Co, it would be wrong again. With D.Co. on it, the mail does to D.Co. mail room where they immediately write C.Co on it and forward it to C.Co. This way takes about a day longer but saves a lot of confusion and changes.

The "we" that is going to Bayloc, Bay Lock, Bae Loc, or whatever, is the four Companies, A. B. C. and D., of the 1st Battalion of the 50th Mech Infantry Brigade.

I am sorry to hear about John Vars.

I guess I'll go now and write Donna and Marcia. Will send their letters when I am through answering them.

God be with you.

Love, John.


An Khe, VN, 9 August 1969 (LZ Uplift)

Dear Mama,

Got your letters today and enjoyed very much "Boyles Bits and Pieces". I have learned some Viet Namese, but not much. The boys that we see speak quite a bit of english and so do the coke girls, some quite fluent. Get rid of the Yellowjackets with a can of bug spray, but read the label and see that you don't get one with DDT in it.

I have passed number 100 in the pictures I have taken over here. I wonder who is paying to have them processed?

 


An Khe, VN, 14 August 1969 (LZ Uplift, in the field)

Dear Mama,

I hope I get settled enough tomorrow to write a longer letter. I am now with the Scouts (sort of an extra Co. in 1/50).

I am sending 3 rolls of film to Erin today also. They will explain where I have been better than a letter. I went to Qui Nhion again yesterday and took some of my kind of pictures. We were out in the valley for one day, then to Qui Nhion, then here to this bridge. The fellows here are much better than at C.Co. I got 10 mor rolls of Ektachrome. So expect some more pictures. I also have 2 roles of B&W.

I will tell Erin to make 2 each prints of the B&W. Send me the other of the 2.

See you tomorrow or so.

God be with you.

Love John.


An Khe, VN, 16 August 1969 (LZ Uplift, in the field)

Dear Mama,

I am now on, or I should say under, a bridge. The ground is dry under here and the bridge provides shade and shelter from the rain. I guess this is another garbage letter. The money is now worthless because we got new money. No GI lost any money (unless he couldn't find it when we changed) but he V.N. people lost much. They aren't supposed to have the money so they really aren't blameless. One woman, when they changed about 8 mos. Ago, lost $50,000 with not 1 left usable.

The Chieu Hoi paper is a free passage air dropped slip for V.C. who want to change sides.

Things are much better now with the fellows here very understanding. We are now going to move on the 26th of Aug. (Change # 46,293) <-- small joke. Don't worry about the address. I'll let you know if there is a change and to what. Any mail with the old address will still get to me.

I'll take lots of pictures. Have you mailed the package yet?

I will be home in 8 and one half months. See you then.

God be with you.

Love, John.


An Khe, VN,19 August 1969 (LZ Uplift, in the field)

Dear Mama,

19 Aug 69

Dear Mama,

I am back at uplift now S.O.R. (same old reasons) but this time it was an E7 sg. whom I would see only once a month or so. He didn't want a @#%!*@ C.O. in his unit.

I have an idea. Ted Cowin has a &emdash; no that won't work. If I send my rolls of film direct to you can you get them to Ted. I am afraid that no one is going to be at the J. Talbotts. Please write and tell me how the payment is being handled on the processing. Perhaps I should send Ted the film direct and send the description separate.

The roll I am sending today is of children for the first half, a sunrise, and a village between here and the last bridge I was on. The kids lived in the area of the bridge and enjoyed having their picture taken. However I had to catch them off guard to get smiles.

All for now.

God be with you.

Love, John.


An Khe, VN, 6 August 1969 (LZ Uplift, in the field)

Dear Mama,

22 Aug 69

Dear Mama,

I got your letter about the peepless J.W.s and the Flat Earths and are glad to hear that Galen has gained some weight.

By the way if that little fan ever gives out it will be because it wasn't oiled. Give it 2 or 3 drops in each of the 2 oil holes on top of the motor. You may have to give the job to someone who is good at climbing to see the top of the motor.

I gave the motorcyclists oppressors a piece of my mind &emdash; probably too much &emdash; buy that's past. I saw the woman about 20 minutes after it happened and sent her on to an aid station and doctor. I did all I could for her which was clean it up with Hydrogen Peroxide and put a dressing on it.

I spend the day today removing paneling from the aid station so we can take it with us to Phan Thiet. Phan Thiet is about 240 miles south of here and right on the sea. From what I hear it won't be too bad but we still have to build the aid station and barracks.

I enclose the first part of the poem but I haven't got the middle yet.

Send the postcard back to Don and Anne if they want it.

Please see if you can get me the details on the pentax contest or, possibly better, let Don do it since he wants me to get him a pentax.

Have you gotten the film yet?

I learned something about the V.N. language. The time of a statement in V.N. is always the first word of the sentence. I had heard many of the V.N. girls say "Before I go I ..." meaning, not that she was going to do something before she went, but that before the present she had done something; the V.N. placement having carried into English.

Not much else going on here.

God be with you.

Love, John.


An Khe, VN, 25 August 1969 (LZ Uplift)

Dear Mama,

We are moving tomorrow and packing today. Andy, a fellow here, and I will be driving to Qui Nhion where we will all get on boats to go to Phan Thiet. We will be on the boats about 5 days. I haven't gotten the package yet but it will follow me to our new home. Since it goes by air it may even beat me there.

Nothing very super has happened here except that I found a whole roll of the laminating plastic (same as enclosed) and laminated all of my postcards, poems, photos, add newspaper clippings, birthday cards etc. I just happened to have 10 or 12 sheets of heavy 10x12 glossy paper so I mounted the items all on that. The mounting makes them all uniform and V.N. proof.

Take care.

See you next letter.

God be with you.

Love, John.


An Khe, VN, 26 August 1969 (LZ Uplift, in the field)

Dear Mama,

You probably have the change of address card now but in case you don't have it the new address is

SP/4 - - -
E - - -
CoD 1/50 (M)
A.P.O. S.F. 96317

You may use it right away.

I got the package in good shape about 18 hours before we left. Thanks much!

I am now in Shrang valley where our trucks, tracks, and such are getting worked on. Tomorrow at 08:00 we leave for Qui Nhion where we will board a boat for Phan Thiet.

I slept in the jeep on a stretcher last night but tonight I am in a bunk in the mechanics barracks. I am so sleepy I can't write so I will sign out to be ready for tomorrow.

How were the pictures?

God be with you.

Love, John.