Letters from Robin – Fire in the Hole – 9/28/69

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On this Eve of Memorial Day, I am taking time to once again share on of Robin’s letters. I had put the project on hold, and like so many things, never got back to it. I have about 23 that I have yet to share. It is a time consuming process, and uninterrupted time is something I have lacked for too long.

The weather forecast is not looking too good for tomorrow morning. I hope that the rain breaks or holds of for before noon. This is one day that my family looks forward to each year. Gathering together, and joining with others who too have lost a loved one. The one ceremony, honoring the high school alumni that lost their lives in Vietnam and the Gulf is a smaller more intimate ceremony that is conducted by our high school Key Club, along with the ROTC, band and choir members. These teens give up a few hours of their holiday weekend to help us celebrate our fallen heroes.

I had hoped to take a drive to the Freedom Foundation in Valley Forge today. I wanted to take my mother to see the Gold Star Family monument. The weather was far too hot to have her out too long. At 92, she tires quickly, and I would rather her be feeling her best for tomorrow.

Instead I ran and errand with Tara, cooked a nice dinner and worked on my blog. I do not blog often these days, but find I just can’t cut ties with it. I actually have two, which today I merged into one, so how I have some cleaning up to do due to the import process. Sometime in the near future when I figure out how, this blog with change to my other domain, www.marthakasper.com, which currently is mostly just a photography blog.

Ok, on to what most of you are hear to read, another installment of “Letters from Robin”. I believe this is the 2nd or 3rd letter once he got to Vietnam. I have already shared one, and the other was just a quick note.

 

Saturday, 28 Sept 68

Dear Mom & Dad,
I received your letter last night I was very happy to hear from you. We only get mail up here about every other day or sometimes every three days.

You asked in your letter how I got from Bien Hoa to Chu-Lai, I flew up on a military transport. Also I flew from california on a Northwest-Orient 707. We had stewardess’ and the works. We had about 5 or six meals during the flight. (I was just re-reading the letter I got, it’s the one from Dad, and you ask me if mother told me you went camping? This is the only letter I have received from home. Did you write one before?)

The unity I am in is not exactly a long range recon unit. It is the battalion recon platoon. Every batalion has one. Most of the time they use us almost like a line company, but I haven’t been here long enough to really say. The recon unit itself is only a platoon size. The rest of the company is made up of a 42 inch mortar platoon and a ground surveillance platoon (radar).

Since I wrote last we have had about 5 missions. The night I wrote the last letter we went on an ambush patrol. the only thing that happened was about 42 guys getting soaking wet, it rained all night. I though the day would never come. The next day we had off, I slept most of the day. The day after that we got another mission. We had to recon a valley where a comany was going to make a sweep through. They wanted to know very simply if a company could move through it easily. The next day we had a CA (Combat Assualt) into a valley sight near here. That’s a helicopter assault. Then we joined in on a sweep with another company . We just got on a line, and every village and hooch we cam to we rounded up all the people and took them with us, and searched the place real quick. By the end of the day there were over 500 people. It was near the beach so wee took them all out there near a little fishing village. The village was on the beach. When we got there we found a bunch of South Vietnamese soldiers already there. They had gone into the village and found three NVSA and killed them. I saw the bodies. It wasn’t a very pretty sight, but it didn’t really bother me. One was shot through the head and one had a couple holes in him, I don’t know which one killed him. The third was hit by a grenade launcher, it hit him in the shoulder and the shrapnel was all over the upper part of is body. They got another one while we were sitting on the beach waiting for the work to go back to Thunder. They dug up a tunnel and found him down there, they shot some grenades down the hole and wounded him. The ARVN soldiers are very brutal, they have no respect for life. Another thing out of all the people we herded out of their houses there was not one single middle aged man or woman. They oldest kid you see is about 13 yrs old, the rest old people.

Yesterday and today the platoon went out, I didn’t go. I’m not exactly sure why, they leave behind about 3 guys from each squad. One reason might be because they got work that a few people are going to be sent to the other units because we are over sized right now. The word was that the new E-5’s would be leaving but the platoon is trying to keep us. So far there has been no definite word either way. I hope I stay because that would really mess up my mailing address, I might lose some mail in the change. Until I find out for sure don’t send any packages or anything valuable. I suppose you already sent my rain jacket.

The loss of my records might create a little problem, especially in the financial section. Come pay day, I am liable not to get paid. But everything will work itself out.

The place is really pretty nice. They have a mess hall that serves good chow, the only time we eat C’s is when we go out and then we usually are back by supper time. They show a movie every night too, so the place isn’t too bad.

Well, write soon and often, mail doesn’t come often and I like to get alot.

Love,
Robin

 

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IntenseGuy

Sounds like Robin was too happy with the ARVN soldiers. These letters are priceless history – and will hopefully remind us of how it “really” was.

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