This post contains what I wrote in my first letter from Vietnam to my family. Above is a picture of the envelope that carried that letter to the states. I marked the map on the envelope with a dot, showing where I was deployed.
When our TWA 707 was approaching Bien Hoa, the pilot announced that our descent would be a lot steeper than normal because of the possibility of enemy fire. After training and orientation and unit assignment we flew from Bien Hoa to Phu Bai on C-130, that was quite a plane ride north towards the DMZ. Phu Bai is south of Hue, not north of Hue as I wrote in the letter.
Dear Mom & Dad & Everybody,
Sorry I haven’t written sooner, but I’ve been going every since I got to Oakland. I went to the replacement station Saturday night and by 2:30 Monday morning I was on my way to Vietnam. We flew on a Boeing 707, TWA. We landed in Hawaii for 45 minutes, 5:30 am. By 11:30am we hit Okinawa for half an hour. Three more hours and we touched down in Bien Hoa, Vietnam. Hot and humid, as soon as we climbed off the plane we started to sweat. We were bused to Camp L.B.J., Long Bien. The next day, at noon formation, my name was called for the 101st Airborne Division. Two hours later I was at the 101streplacement station receiving center. Next day we moved across the street and started P-Training. The first day we zeroed our M-16’s and were briefed on all the light infantry weapons. The second day we ran a reaction course and did some night firing with our M-16’s. The third day we had classes on landmines and booby traps. The fourth day was on patrolling and the fifth and last day on first aid, Cuo Huoi, and pyrotechnics. Then we had graduation and went straight from there to the perimeter to pull guard that night. Every since I got here I’ve had plenty of hot chow, milk, ice creams, fresh fruit. More than back in the states. Today we packed up and flew from Bien Hoa (Bin Wah) to Phu Bai (Fue Bay) just north of Hue (Way). From there we went by truck (deuce and a half’s) to the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne 187th Infantry base camp. Tomorrow I’ll probably go to the field and join Charlie Company. You can write to me now. I’m doing fine, gotta go.
Love – Val