Randy Barnes worked (MOS) as a Combat Medic in an automatic weapons group that operated dusters and quad-50’s, assigned to the 25th Infantry Division. Randy died 12/2/2006. Before his wife died 1/11/2011 she asked that I deal with the items Randy sent home and saved from his tour in Vietnam. His pictures are in the Gallery on this site. I am entering letters he sent home and some he got while there, in a Blog format. Some letters contain pictures and they are displayed with a border around the picture, from the same envelope. All pictures have no border, and were selected from his picture Gallery, by me, to aid the reader picture what Randy writes about in his 50 letters. Letter numbers are my addition and helped me organize what came in a pile.
Letter #38 is moved below letter #27 as it was written in March not May 1969.(my reading error) A letter I FOUND after numbering them is below letter #38 and “Found Later” leads to letter #28, which resumes the correct numbering sequence. The letters begin in November 1968 and end in August 1969. Someone saved and returned them to Randy. I tried to reproduce the letters as they are written and not change things I consider errors. Drawings are described, not drawn, as they are in the hand written letters. Those descriptions and any comments of MINE are rendered in RED and slightly larger text.
These 50+ letters home from Vietnam were sent back to the “World” by Randy Barnes, mainly to his Mom (Juanita Herrington), Mr.& Mrs. Richard Sallman (Solly) and the Dutch Goose, a bar in Topeka Kansas, from November 1968 to August 1969. The Dutch Goose is still in business 73 years after opening at 3203 Southwest 10th Av. Topeka Kansas 785 357 8474. Included, are some letters to Randy; a “chain letter” from an unidentified military medical facility in the San Francisco Bay Area, a group from the Boys Industrial School in Topeka Kansas, and one from a fellow Vietnam Combat Medic and friend Ed Legar. 3 “Dear John” letters from a woman he had a romantic relationship with prior to leaving for Vietnam, display the not uncommon “Changes at Home” pain experienced by soldiers. Reading them triggered many buried memories of my year in Viet Nam, that pictures have not. Below are scans of 2 letters to serve as samples letters written by Randy.
Two audio tapes (Transcribed and digitized by Joe Padavic, owner of Teardrop Video, in Mission Kansas), Randy sent home are in this collection (sample-1 / sample-2), and the MP3 files can be found below Letter # 12 in the letter list. I recommend them!
You can listen to the audio letters as you continue to read other letters or view different sections of my web site.