Randy Barnes – Letter #4 – Nov. 14, 1968

READ THE OTHER LETTER FIRST AS I MAILED IT TO THE WRONG PLACE & It Came back. NIXON SUCKS!

Dear Tribe,

14 Nov

Ya’all get two letters together since I gave the last one a K.C. street address and sent it to Topeka.

The monsoon’s are just about over and it’s getting hotter & hotter. Today it wasn’t very hot but that’s about 100 degrees here. They say it will get up into the high 120’s in the next month. – A word about the monsoons. When it rains it really rains. Although it only rains for about an hour, it drop up to 8 inches and on these tin roofs (if you’re lucky enough to be under one) it is extremely loud.

In my last letter I told you about the choppers hitting a big field just outside the perimeter. I found out later a Recon plane had sighted suspicious movement and had called in gunships to blast hell out of it. Later a patrol went out & found 5 dead V.C. I’ll say again – damn was I scared.

I’ve had another little taste of war since I wrote this last letter. About 2:30 AM I awoke to a loud whistling noise & a deafening KA-BOOM. -The earth shook & I heard what sounded like rain. (later found out it was schrapnel) Well, you can guess what it was – my first mortar attack. The siren started blowing & I grabbed my flack-jacket (armoured vest) & helmut and crawled to a bunker which is just outside my tent. I got there before the next one landed. All in all they only shot 3 in. However, we spent about 1&1/2 hours in the bunker until the all clear was sounded. I was twice as afraid in that bunker. It’s so funny, you just don’t know if the next one will be right on your head. (one did land about 75 meters from me & lifted us off the floor.) Boy Richard, I didn’t know what fear was. I’m already an old salt. Any loud noise & I’m “flat”.

I got word yesterday that I’ll be going out to one of the field batteries next month. It seems our “Dusters” are going to start running convoy duty & road clearing missions. So, I’ll be riding a Duster. (I forgot did I explain what a Duster was) During Tet last year one of our medics that was doing convoy duty, (same as I’ll be doing) won the Medal of Honor. –

Tet is only 8 weeks off and by the intelligence reports we got, It could be another big offensive. (Battalion commander thought those 3 rocket rounds might have been to zero in a rocket launcher for a future attack. Anyway – I’ll be in the field by then and I guess I’ll get to see some real action. I’m afraid and curious at the same time. I never thought this ol’ boy would see any of the war but – such is fate.

If I were home I’d think differently about it, but not here. You’re too busy to think and just living from one day to another is enough. I’ve already blotted my mind out to everything but one thought “come home alive” & the lustful things I’ll do when I get home.

I’ve been firing hell out of my M-16 as I had never even seen one until I got here. I’m a fair shot. As you know they’re adjustable from semi to full automatic. Since we get all the ammo we want I set that baby on full automatic & play John Wayne. Under the arm & spray everything in sight.

War is still horrible & peace should be, but I know now I’m going to see action & I want to come home alive. If I have to think killing, I will. I’ll also save as many lives as I can.

There’s so much more I want to say but I am too tired. Helped fill sandbags again all day, to build a thicker “blast” wall around the Dispensary.

I miss you all & Richard I’ll cherish all my thoughts of past Xmas and your party. – I’m so lonely! Please Please Please ask everyone to write as soon and as often as possible.

My love to the Tribe

Randall

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