Randy Barnes – Letter #6 – Nov. 22, 1968
Dear Mom, Howard, Val, Bill & Family,
22 Nov., Fri
Nothing much new in V.N. Just thought I’d drop a line – let you know I’m okay.
This place is a real drag. Can’t say much for the place I’m working or the guys I work with. One guy from Boston, has become my best friend. He’s a pro baseball player and played for the Boston Red Sox. (catcher) – We drink alot of beer together.
Can’t wait for the first of the month. I’ll be going out to the field, C Battery. I guess I better get all the showers in now that I can.They’re few and far between in the field. Anyhow, I’ll be my own boss and won’t have to put up with military crap. I bought an “Australian bush hat” to wear in the field. They are the in thing. Uncle Bill or Howard must know what they look like.
I now have a “mama-san” who does all my “homey” work for me. She washes & irons my clothes, shines my shoes, sweeps out and makes my bed. All that for 800 piasters (about $7.25 American) – She’s a funny old gal . All the V.N. get a kick out of my moustache and the hair all over my body. – My 1st Sarg. made me cut off my handlebars but am growing a FU-MAN-CHU in retaliation. By the time I come out of the field I’ll have a real walrus.
We have two ARVN’s who work for us as interpreters. (ARVN-Army of the Republic of V.N.) They’re great guys & funny as hell. Ones name is Thai (Ty) and the other is SINH (Sing) – They’re teaching me as much vietnamese as they can. In turn we go to the movies together and I explain what they don’t understand They love Cowboy movies, John Wayne, and Walt Disney. Incidently, they save stamps, so if you could get some special stamps from the Post Office, they’d love it.
For an Xmas present I can’t think of much I’d need. You could send me a couple of pair of white levis, my blue tennis shoes & sweat socks. A pair of Bermuda’s – the plaid ones. (Levi’s 36″ waist & 29″ length.)
Since I’ve been here 3&1/2 wks, I’ve bought a watch and a fan. Other than that I’ve spent $10 – Nowhere to go – nothing to do.
My $150 a month should start coming around the first of the month.
Sure wish I was going to be there for the Orange Bowl Game. Good ol’ KU. – Please start sending me the Topeka Daily Capital Sunday Edition That would be a good Xmas Present – I’m sure they have a deal where they send out papers to G.I.’s in V.N.
The other night (late afternoon) I had a kind of false alarm scare. We drove the “meatwagon” (ambulance) into II Field Force headquarters to pick-up some supplies. I was riding shotgun with my M-16. The ambulance broke down on a dirt road, in the middle of nowhere, about 5 miles from camp. As we were trying to start it, about 20 Vietnamese came out of the brush & started jabbering. I got scared because they showed up so sudden & so many of them – mainly women & children. The driver told me to keep my rifle ready to go as it always means trouble when you see alot of women & children but no men. I kept motioning to them to stay a distance away but also tried to be as friendly as possible. Finaly a truck came by and pulled us to camp. I guess the VN. were just looking for a handout and were “friendlies” but you’re never sure. Better to be ready and safe than sorry. – I guess things like that happen all the time.
I’m safe & in good health. Tell all my friends you see to write – I love your letters – I just love letters –
I’ll be home in only 235 days.
All of my love
Designates his approximate location on stationery bearing a map of Vietnam.