Randy Barnes – Letter #1 – Nov. 3, 1968
HHB 5th Bn. AWSP 2nd ARTY APO San Francisco, CA 96266
This will be short-just to let, you know I’m here & safe. We arrived about 11:30 PM Wed. night. We spent Thurs & Fri processing in at the 90th Replacement (place where I was assigned from the states) I didn’t sleep from Tues nite until Fri nite & it’s going to be a rough 9 months.
Last night we were sent out to our units & as you can see I’m going to be with an Artillery unit. We’re at the Headquarters Base Camp about 6 miles from Long Binh. We’ll stay here a week for “in-country” war training. We’ll fire machine-guns – rocket-launchers, etc. Then we”ll be sent out to our “batteries” (batteries are what they call companies in the artillery)
As you can see I’m going to be a field-medic. This isn’t what we hoped I would have but I could have been with the infantry or “legs” as they call them here. But I don’t want you to worry as most of the batteries are pretty safe because “Charlie” (the Viet Cong) doesn’t like to “hit” them, they have too much firepower. – This particular Arty. unit is made up of 105-150 & 155 howitzers and a lot of “dusters”. A “Duster” is a small tank with 4 50 cal. machine guns & a 20mm cannon on it.
My 1st impression of V. N. It stinks -Yesterday it was 107 degrees and the hot season isn’t here yet. It is the end of the monsoons but still rains everyday. – I saw my first dead man yesterday but it didn’t bother me –
Don’t worry – I’m safe, Please read letter to Val & Bill as I’m so busy & hardly have time to write.
I’ll be home soon,
Please send cool-aid grape mainly on the rear page a peace sign is drawn with words “Peace Baby”
My Address PFC Joseph R. Barnes ER 17620606 HHB 5th Bn AWSP 2nd ARTY Apo San Francisco 96266