MCRD San Diego June 1967
It's way past time for writing you a letter, so here goes…I said in my last letter that I thought I'd be tired of doing nothing. The Marine Corps took care of that with two weeks of mess duty. I get off in two days and, in the meantime, I've had to collect money (and scowls) from men who pay for chow. Two days after I got here the Sergeant asked me to be "Hondo," or acting Corporal in charge of the messmen. I turned it down because I figured I'd have a tough time telling Pfc.'s and Lance Corporals what to do. I'm sorry now that I didn't take it---I believe I like to boss people around.
Figure to finish the college exams as soon as I get off mess duty. I'm going to apply for O.C.S. if the scores are high enough. Scope Dope (what we're called) school doesn't sound too neat. After our seven weeks of school, we're assigned to different duty stations. I might get sent back east or to Hawaii.
San Diego is a beautiful place. We're right in the city, next to the airport. The mess hall is directly under where the big jets come booming in. It's like a small earthquake every ten minutes.
I've been to the zoo, which is very pretty, but not any better than Brookfield Zoo. Our whole company is going to 29 Palms by September. It's in the middle of the Mojave Desert and sounds interesting, but not too cool! Write soon.
28 June - 29 Palms
California - In The Year of Our Lord 1967
This is your son writing from that sunny desert resort, 29 Palms. Beautiful mountains rim our valley in a scenic panorama more spectacular than the scenery near Lake Louise in sunny South Dakota. Recreation in the form of Olympic–sized swimming pools and horseback riding. Various, assorted playthings abound. The climate in the Mojave Desert is beautiful---never wet, and always at a mild, 110 degree temperature.
Made Pfc (Private First Class). I tried surfing in San Diego and succeeded in getting a good burn, but I had a great time. I finally got to march a platoon around a little bit. I thought I called great cadence, but everyone else thought it was poor. I explained to everyone that both my mother and I thought I was a good singer.
I will write many more letters. Good love to all… Craig ____________________________________
This is your brother---the permanent airbase messman---writing you a letter. If that job corps character gives you any more trouble, tell him your Marine brother will pounce on his body and beat him severely about the head and shoulders.
As you can tell by my first sentence, I have found out the truth. They lied to me when they said I was to be a Scope Dope. I will serve mess duty forever and ever. Even though many others in my company have never had mess duty, I picked it up again after being off only a week. When I told the Staff Sgt., he just said, "Sorry about that. Write it on a piece of shit paper, and shove it up your ass."
It's quite hot here in the Mojave Desert. This is the largest (in area) Marine base in the world, and it was owned by all three services before we got it. Write soon.
Hadn't received any mail from you for several weeks, and then the Company decided to give mail to the messman. Wednesday will be my 30th day! Hope they'll let us off then.
Judging by your last letter, I figured it was too late to call, but if you can write in time, perhaps I can call when the grandparents are home. It's great to hear they had a forty-bushel crop. Wish I could have seen the grain coming out of the combines. Now all the farmers will probably be driving Cadillacs while they're complaining how tough it is to make a living.
The desert is really beautiful. We're on the side of a hill and can see (across the desert) mountains that are 120 miles away. The air is so clear that often you can see lightening behind the mountains and hear the thunder. I get a kick out of this desert. I think it's rained more here in the month I've been here than it did in all of Jones County for a year. First comes a dust storm, and then the rain. People from "closed-in" country have a tough time training themselves to watch for weather. Then they get caught in the storms. South Dakota weather experience saved me.
The heat doesn't bother me much any more, although I really haven't been outside very much. I have killed two scorpions since I've been here, but the only other wildlife I've seen here is the Marines.
I missed school because of mess duty, so I won't be starting until September. I'll just be starting when everyone else has only two weeks to go. In fact, I might miss the next class if they don't let us off mess. We will talk to somebody important after Wednesday if we're not off by then.
I've been in town twice so far. Can you imagine a town the size of Murdo with 2,000 Marines stationed next door? 29 Palms doesn't have a whole lot to offer. If we get a 96-hour pass after getting off mess, the other messmen and I will go to LA and see Disneyland. We might buy a motorbike if we can find one cheap and good enough to ride back to base.
Many Mess Days Later……. I'M OFF! This brings a total of 69 days, 16 hours in a mess hall to a close!
HAPPY AND TIRED. Love…Craig _____________________________________________
Beloved, Honored Ancestors,
The duration of time involved in the period between my last transmission of Hully-think set down in script and the present time behooves me to again set down with pen in hand and transmit intelligence to the world and, incidentally, to you, my exalted Patriarch, Matriarch, Brethren and Sistren.
The past three weeks have seen me move from first to tied to (probably) second when the test results come back. I am studying hard this week to come back up to tied. A guy from Chicago with two years of college is giving me a hard way to go. He's got a lot to fight for because he'll make Lance Corporal this month, and if he's top man, he'll make Corporal the end of the month. The best I can do is make Lance Corporal, and I'm up for it, anyway on November 1. I'm mad about getting beat by one point for two weeks in a row, so I'm going to beat him.
We graduate October 27 and get leave about six days later. Whether I come home or not will depend on if I get stationed on the East Coast or West Coast. I'll most likely get sent to Cherry Point, El Toro, Yuma, or here, with a long-shot chance at Beauford or Camp Pendelton. The only other places we will ever get stationed are Japan or Hawaii, and you don't ever get these duty stations right out of school. I'll call you after I graduate and tell you what the deal is.
I'm sitting here arguing with my friend from Washington, Jim Shaw. He's 19 years old---a good, solid kid---who wants to get married when he's home on leave. I'm trying to talk him out of it. Give me some good stuff on why he shouldn't get married.
My trip to San Francisco fell through, but I'd like to get there once before I come home. I've been to San Diego and LA since I've been here, so I should make it to Palm Springs and San Francisco before I leave.
Tell Neil I'll try to get the hat for him, although stores don't exist here….
Am now at scenic Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, featured in Arizona Highways and Death Valley Days. I arrived last Wednesday, so I've been here almost a week. I was the only one who didn't take leave, so I hope it pays off and that I get leave at Christmas.
I graduated 1st in the class and got promoted to Lance Corporal, which is equivalent to Pfc. (E3) in the army. So I'm still a peon, but not as lowly as I was.
My job is to sleep in a big fiberglass bubble that has radar indicators in it. I have a logbook to fill out. I'm with 5 or 6 other guys, and it doesn't keep us very busy. I'll probably catch mess or guard duty before long.
We returned from our five-day field trip last night. It was quite interesting. We loaded our gear on trucks, drove onto C-130 airplanes, tied gear down, flew to El Centro, California and disembarked. We really were able to load and unload the gear quickly. From the time the airplane stopped until the time it was unloaded and ready to go, was three minutes. After the flight we drove by small convoys to somewhere west of the Salton Sea near the Chocolate Mountains.
We spent two days at that site. It was pretty cold, but since we were really roughing it (very warm sleeping bag, air mattress, poncho, outer covering), we stoically managed to endure our discomfort.
The second night we had a pretty good sandstorm, which blew down and tore our tent beyond repair. I set my cot under the truck and did pretty well. It was really quite a lot of fun.
The third night we operated until 10:30 p.m. then packed up the gear and moved east of the Salton Sea. There we set up again. We didn't finish setting up until 4:30 am, so we didn't get a whole lot of sleep that night. We moved back here on Sunday night and set up the gear today (Monday). We were going to go back in the field on Wednesday, but were saved just in the nick of time.
I suppose you would like to know what it is that we are doing here. The 5th Light Anti Air Missile Battalion (LAAMBn) is divided into three batteries. A and B Batteries are firing batteries with missiles, radar and equipment to shoot down planes. The third battery is Headquarters and Supply, which contains said divisions plus missile maintenance and S-3 (which is us). Section 3's job is to operate an early warning radar team. We have a radar set called the UPS-1 which is a van measuring 5 by 9 by 7 feet. The van contains a transmitter and receiver and has an antenna mounted on its top. The radar set is cabled into the Anti-Air Operations Center, which is our fiberglass bubble. The bubble is where we work most of the time. One man is on the scope, calling plots to the plotter. There are two officers who operate radios connected with the firing batteries. They communicate plots from the plotting board to the batteries; the batteries attempt to find the targets, lock on and shoot down the planes. A second plotter monitors the radio nets and writes the results of the firings.
D I A G R A M
Enough of that stuff!
Got your letter today and received your present in the past week. Thanks very much.
I have to write my essays on OCS once again. I intend to rewrite it and send it to you to be copied and "English-i-fied." The Lieutenant said the Marine Corps is short of college grads for OCC so they will be recruiting qualified enlisted men. If they're really desperate, I may get accepted.
We got off work late today after setting up. We were scrambling down the hill from the UPS-1---very steep and rocky. Piccione, a New York Italian who came over to this Country when he was 12 years old, fell and broke his ankle. The doctors came right away and flew him to San Diego. His leg was really twisted inside his boot, but he just laughed about it. Tough guy!
Tooday is also too much to bear. Life is OK, but the Marine Corps is not. Pardon the atrocious spelling and writing.
Got off guard today. Therefore, I have the day to myself. My platoon Sgt. was overjoyed that the OD rated my appearance and performance as superior. He said it was the first time our platoon had a superior body. I was surprised that the officer rated me as superior, since he didn't check my post. Pretty good trick. Last night the CID (military counterpart of CIA, FBI, UNCLE, THRESH, etc.) caught two guys on my post with booze and wrote them up. Luckily, I didn't get in trouble for not catching them.
I'm filling out my income tax. Didn't realize what a business tycoon I am. Made over $1200. WOW! The guys that went to school easily make that much in summer from part time jobs.
I think I'll buy a guitar again. Might as well keep trying. I've been writing to Urbana and am having Military send my test scores to school to see if they'll give me any credit. Still have to get my physical and interview for OCC. Hope I don't miss the class. Will take some Illinois correspondence courses if I get the accreditation, but I guess I'll wait to see what happens to OCC.
Our CO of the battery, a Captain, was arrested in town for being "drunk and disorderly." He goofed up.
We got some new gear in. It's a 5 by 9 by 7 van that sets on a truck and takes the place of the bubble. It requires only two operators to run it instead of five. We're going to rise up and destroy it before it destroys our jobs. Now they'll probably do something useful with us, like make us cooks or grunts or something.
I'm sending a magazine on Yuma. I never realized how beautiful the state is until I saw the touched up photographs.
I just got back from San Diego. Saw Piccione there. He broke his leg in Yuma, and was sent to the Navy Hospital in San Diego. He's going on liberty every night now---on crutches. His life is better than mine is right now, so he'll have to come here to cheer me up. Met Lt. Long (CO my Section) and we went to a lousy flick downtown. Also went to a coffeehouse…altogether not a bad time.
Heard you're goofing off in a hospital. It must be great to be able to lie around all day and watch TV and the nurses. I suppose you'll get bored after a while.
I'm still on mess duty. I am Honcho (boss) of the scullery. We wash all the dishes and silverware for about a thousand men. You don't know what dishpan hands are until you've tried washing dishes for thirty days.
I've got one guy in the scullery who won't do his share. He's my size, but a whole lot stronger and is quite a bully. I may have to fight him, in which case I'll probably get beaten. Everybody else at work is pretty good.
I'm still in the process of learning how to play the guitar. I'll probably drive you nutty with my playing when I get home. My roommate bought a pair of earmuffs so he wouldn't have to listen to me play.
I'll probably meet you people in South Dakota this summer. If I get accepted for Officer's School, I'll get orders at that time; if I don't get accepted, I'll take leave then. If you go to school in Texas, I may be able to get a four-day pass and visit you---or you may be able to visit me.
Time to wash some more dishes. How about writing?
Time to write. Received your letter about the license, and will enclose $5 and the form. It doesn't seem like I've had a driver's license for 3-1/2 years.
Things are pretty boring here. I work inside a fiberglass "bubble" containing the radar indicators and plotting boards. We don't do anything except sleep in the bubble, however. Two weeks from now we will pack our gear plus the missile batteries into airplanes and move down near the Sulton Sea for an 8-day field maneuver. It should be fun.
The other day we dug holes for and set up two telephone poles by hand. It was something for the 12 of us to walk that 40-foot (and very heavy) pole upright and plant it. Its purpose is to provide electric power from commercial sources so we won't have to run the generators. They also gave me a license to operate the air conditioners on the bubble, even though I haven't had any training on them and don't know how to operate them. The guys explain that the license is so they can "burn" you if you foul up the gear.
(I did get burned - an IG Inspection found that the air conditioners were not properly maintained and the Lt chewed me out. I still don't know anything about how to maintain these air conditioners.)
I got on the battalion basketball team. As usual, I'm faithfully manning my usual position. Guess what that is! The Captain already asked another guy and me if we wanted to play on the "A" team. I though it was just another team, so I said, "no, I'd just as soon stay on this team." It turns out he was just being nice about having us step down to a sort of junior team. I felt sort of silly when I found that out, but I'm good enough to play with them. I feel sort of odd playing with the officers. You always have to call them "Sir" or "Captain."
Last Friday we had a big inspection. First we fell out in tropical uniforms for a rifle inspection. I messed my inspection arms up, forgot and pulled an M1 inspection arms instead of M14. Then we had drill competition. The inspecting officers were supposed to ask three squad leaders (Sergeants) to drill the troops. Instead, they picked the fourth man to drill. That was I. Instant terror. I knew the commands but didn't know exactly where to stand. After messing it up somewhat, another Lance Corporal and then a Sergeant took over. They fouled up just as badly or worse, so I didn't feel too bad. The morning was finished up with a "junk on the bunk." That's where you put all your gear (uniforms, rifle, packs, etc.) on your rack. You have to have all your gear folded neatly on the rack. It's really a pain in the neck, and I'm glad it's over.
I haven't been off of the base since I got here, and I'm getting pretty homesick. They'd better give me leave at Christmas. Mostly, I'm bored and have been doing a lot of reading and not much else. Basketball should help.
Next week I'll apply for OCC, or at least find out that I can't apply. My test scores are high enough and I'll soon be old enough, but lack of schooling, eyesight and rifle non-qualified will slow it down. I'll also put in the form for Wespac (Vietnam). All the guys I work with applied for it long ago, but it takes about a year (at least) to get it. I'll die of boredom in a year.
I'm also going to take that test that's equivalent of two years of college (good only in the military and at North Carolina universities and colleges). I'll take some courses and should be only 1-1/2 years from a degree if I pass the test and go to school in North Carolina. I probably won't get a chance to do that until I get back after Christmas.
I'm probably going to go to Phoenix next weekend, just to get away from here and to see the place. We will probably get a 96-hour pass for Thanksgiving. The only bad thing is that Arizona is pretty tough on hitchhikers.
Well, enough of the foolishness. I enjoy getting your letters, and I'm glad you're not as lax as I am at writing them. I'd appreciate your giving me some hints about Christmas gifts for the family.
I made out on the flights. Flew first class to Phoenix and got on to Yuma quickly. Could have gone standby all the way.
I had about $150 worth of checks awaiting me due to two paychecks---back-pay due from military salary raise effective October, and due also to the fact that the military has discovered that I'm no longer a Private. Together with the $50 I saved cause Dad generously bought my ticket, I'm now as rich as I formerly was; and my lower-middle, upper-middle-class wealth guilt complex is again hyperactive. I don't suppose Dad realized what he did to me. The old man wiped out again.
Due to my newfound affluence, I purchased a pretty good record player from my roommate for $10, so if you would send Marianne Faithful and others that Anne doesn't care about, I'd appreciate it. Of course, if Marianne Faithful isn't available, you can just send the record, although the guys in the barracks and I will be pretty disappointed!
I've just performed a quick analysis on my puns and have decided that, due to their quality, no more humor will be attempted in this letter.
We're wearing short sleeves---it's about 75 degrees here. I'm going to write my New Year's resolutions as well as another way to restore Chicago.
I've just spent the last hour on another one of my urban renewal thought orgies. In this one, I approach Percy (Chuck) and ask him for a few-million dollar loan. I snow him so well he gives me the money. He was impressed that I was a heroic Marine officer and a former Eagle Scout. This plan is to buy one block of slum near a line of transportation (such as the El, subway, IC, Dan Ryan, etc.) and build one high-rise to supplant the slum dwellings. We start in an area with dilapidated housing but where people have enough money to pay some rent so that the building is profitable. Said building is huge, with underground parking and has extra space, so we fill it up with a racially mixed group of about 7,000 people. The whole area is at all times lit up, with an ultra-safe walk tube to the underground parking and subway. UTOPIA. I quickly finish one building and go on to another. But I begin to rave. Will write more later.
I write this overdue letter to you in perfect comfort, surrounded by guitars, record player, Wyler's lemonade, dressed in Marine Corps utilities, and lying on my Marine Corps rack. Actually, my fingers are too sore to play my guitar, and a friend of mine broke my record player. The question this poses for us is: "What is life?"
No, I'm not high on pot. My ravings are the result of having duty section all weekend and my first shot of Wyler's lemonade after months of deprivation. The "months of deprivation" is literary license, meaning, I had some Wylers only a week ago.
Since you heard from me last, many things have come to pass. I can't remember most of them. One of them was that I am a charter member in the YUMA MARINE AERO CLUB. The club is just getting started, but the general idea is to get 60 Marines to join and then buy three Piper Cubs and go flying. Marine Corps foots the bill, with us gradually paying it back. The cost is $50 to start, $6 a month dues, plus $7 an hour to fly. You also have to spend $30 on ground instruction plus $20 on a computer for cross-country flying. If the program doesn't get off the ground, we get our money back. If we get orders, we get $50 back plus $8 a month depreciation. After six months you don't get anything back. I was probably crazy to join, but it seemed like the thing to do at the time.
I guess I told you I got put up for Corporal. Five other guys are with me from my section, and since they all have a year of grade, I almost certainly won't make it. Add to this the fact that they haven't made a Corporal for ages. My OCC application is now with the C.O. of my battery. I suppose I'll get the interview next week. If everything keeps moving at the same speed, I'll probably get accepted some time during my last year in the Marine Corps. If they don't act on it by the end of the year, I'll write and tell them to forget it, which I'm entitled to do. As long as the application is in, I can't leave MCAS, Yuma, for another station. One year of this place is enough---more, and I'll go crazy.
I went to Phoenix again last weekend with a buddy. We rented a car and went to visit the grandmother of a girl he knows. The grandmother conveniently had a daughter our age, so we took her to a club that plays country music upstairs and acid rock downstairs. My two friends were old enough to get in, but I was not, so I spent the evening driving around. I didn't get to see the place until 1:00 a.m., which is after hours. The next morning we went to a Mormon Church with my roommate, the grandmother and the girl. My roommate is a devout Mormon. Hit it off with the girl and went back to see her this weekend. The Mormon Church is very informal and friendly. Everyone who wants to can preach, and there are no trained ministers such as at our church.
We run the PRT (Physical Readiness Test) tomorrow. I've been doing some running and expect to turn a pretty fast time. I've used my camera a few times. Works fine.
9 May 1968
As you can see, I am now an office pinkie. I work in the S-3 training office and am doing nothing at the present. Sgt Garcia asked me if I could type and In answered yes before I had time to think about it and say no.
I spent most of the day showing films in the battalion classroom. I also will have to do quite a bit of typing, and it must be perfect. It's going to drive me nuts. Join the Marine Corps to fight and become a radar operator/clerk. Oh well, I'll probably become a good typist. Your good advice got me this wonderful job, Mom.
Next week I'm going to the rifle range. I'll probably go UNQ again. Haven't heard anything about OCS for months. They may do something if I get that transcript.
Can't decide whether to play baseball or not. I'm really too lazy any more for athletics. I received a trophy for my basketball contribution.
We're on Trop hours now, so we get up at 0400 (in the morning) and work from 0530 to 1230. I've been going swimming every afternoon, so I'm getting a good tan.
Two quotas for Vietnam came into our section for people in my MOS, but we're so short-handed that he wouldn't fill them. I'm about the 3rd or 4th person in the section due for overseas. I'm so fed up with this place that I'd gladly go. I may wait and not take leave this summer. If this OCS application isn't in by July, I think I'll submit an AA form, which usually means you go over in one or two months. Perhaps I'll wait until August or September to take leave, after I get orders. I'll decide pretty quickly and let you know.
I suppose I'd better look up my boss and see if he needs anything done. At least this job keeps me busier than sitting in the bubble!
It's really nice to type something and not be afraid to make a mistake. I waste so many sheets of paper on mistakes it's unbelievable. When you have seven carbon copies of a letter, that comes to a lot of paper. There can be no mistakes on a letter to the CMC or Wing Headquarters. I'm slowly catching on and becoming a better typist, but I'm going nuts at the same time.
I talked to the career advisor, and he said the transcript my friends had seen had been validated by the office and not by the school. So I'll wait a while for that AA form. I'm still not sure on that leave date, either. If I think I'm going to get orders, I'll probably wait.
The Marine Corps never ceases to amaze me. Last week they announced a "Junk on the Bunk," which means you must lay out all military gear and clothing. Naturally, everyone hates to "stand the JB." So yesterday, all sections were called together and told that if they would organize together and do some sort of creative recreation, they wouldn't have to stand the JB. The idea was to raise money for Navy Relief Society. Everybody chips in two dollars. In other words, Chicago politics (or extortion, or blackmail…whatever you choose to call it). In the good old days, before moral corruption, I would have protested vehemently. Now, I pay my two dollars. I fully believe that I will be well suited to go into Chicago politics when my four years are up. I did make a few comments, such as, "Outstanding! They're going to let us buy our way out of the JB." But it was only weak resistance. I made excuses for my cowardice by saying it was for a good cause, but the real reason I didn't object violently was because I didn't want to stand the inspection and because I don't want to stay a Lance Corporal all my life. I think I'll write a story about the moral corruption of a former idealistic social worker gone bad.
I will enclose a letter to Neil. I hope everyone is in good health and is making no compromise with the enemy. I have faith that Neil won't do that. He's always been my hero because he doesn't give a heck about people trying to run him. The last of the independents.
Hope you're feeling well and getting ready to come home from the hospital. I imagine by now you're anxious to do something active. A hospital is a nice place to visit, but only for a short time.
It's getting hotter here all the time. Right now it's about 90 degrees and it's only 5:30 in the morning. I suppose it's really nice in Chicago at this time…………………
Is there anything from Mexico that you would like to have? I'm only 20 miles from the border, so I can get most anything you'd like. They have really wildly colored ponchos and sandals…………………..See you in three weeks.
5th Light Antiaircraft Missile Battalion
MACG-38, 3dMAW, FMFPac
Marine Corps Air Station
Yuma, Arizona 85364
23 May 1968
From: Craig H. Hullinger
To: Commanding Officer, Hullinger Household
Subj: Letter to Home, completion of
Ref: (a) MCO 1534.123A (Thou shalt write home)
I am fine but feeling the effects of typing Naval form letters.
On 17 May 1968 did travel to San Luis, Mexico and listen to various Mexican folk musicians.
On 18 May 1968 did hitchhike to San Diego to visit
(c) Marine Corps base
I had a good time. In accordance with reference (a), the temperature has been averaging 105 degrees F. OCS Schedule; Completion of. It has come to my attention that the validated transcript has been in the battery office for, probably, a month. I'm very tired of this place and think I'll try to submit an AA form for overseas. It might not go through, but I think I'll try anyway. I'll probably submit my application (for OCS) while I'm overseas.
29 May 1968
…………………..I just finished three letters that had to be perfect, and now my fingers are so nervous that I'm making mistakes on this letter. It's been 105 degrees for the last few days. Spring is here at last!
……………..This weekend is Memorial Day weekend, so they gave us a four-day pass. However, I am privileged to guard my battalion's radars over the weekend, and so will not be able to go anywhere. Since I'm a clerk, another clerk gave me a "Hus." This means that he knows me and made me supernumerary. The supernumerary does not walk posts and serves only as a back-up for the other men. I'll get a few good books and read all day at the guard shack.
That letter I sent you about "riots" in Yuma was written by a Captain in our section who is just as bored with the whole thing as we are. He writes such articles often and files them in his "happy" file.
I'm looking at this letter and am aghast at the typing, punctuation and structure. The content is not much to brag about, either. This office work is making me conscious of the drivel I write. I don't seem to be inspired to create hilarious witticisms on the typewriter. My mind is, instead, absorbed in typing and spelling and cannot devote its full energy to writing. This leads me to one of two conclusions: (1) that the typewriter is not conducive to creative writing, or (2) that my mind can't absorb very much. Naturally, I believe the second conclusion to be erroneous.
The second installation of my letter. Friday, I carried on a conversation with the Commandant of the Marine Corps. I saluted and said, "Good afternoon, Sir." He returned my salute and said, "Good afternoon." Then he said, "How are you?' I responded with an "OK, Sir." That was the extent of our conversation. I held my salute for three more Generals and numerous Colonels and Majors. By the time I reached the lowly Captains and Sgt. Majors, I was no longer sweating it. Since then I have told all my fellow Marines (lifers and officers) to refer to me as "Sir Lance, the Commandant's Friend."
Tonight a few of my former basketball teammates asked me to go with them to play the Argentine Olympic team in Mexicali. It seems that they are on a goodwill tour of Mexico. Seems like a fishy deal to me, but perhaps I'll go just for kicks……………… (A bust! I didn't show, and neither did Argentina.)
Friday night my friend and I drove my Cadillac to Phoenix, and my friend traded it in on a Corvair. I got $120 for it and am glad to be rid of it. It wasn't the best car I ever had, but that's the chance you take when you buy a junker. My friend bought a '60 Corvair that had to be jump-started three times and pushed twice to get it back. It needed a new battery and four quarts of oil to get it back to Yuma. So now I'm no longer an automobile owner.
The two Privates in my section are missing this morning. One went to San Diego and just made it back this afternoon. The other is in jail and has a $160 fine for drunken driving and driving without a license. The Marine he stole the car from did not press charges. Too bad for the Privates………
They're back. Fined, restricted and extra work loads.
Finally getting around to mailing above letter. Saturday we go to field to fire eight missiles. We'll be gone six days. I put in a request for transfer, so I'll either go to Officer Candidate School or Over Choppy Seas. OCS, either way.
I had a two-hour layover in Phoenix and got straight back to Yuma with no trouble. It took 25 minutes to get out of O'Hare. I counted seven big jets waiting while one small prop aircraft came in. Met a girl from Phoenix on the plane and hope I can get back to see her.
I'm on guard duty now, which is the reason I can write. I had a letter from Don from Lima, Peru, and from Lee from Viet Nam. Both letters were very interesting. Don had to write carefully since the military government reads the mail and will deport a foreigner who criticizes the government. Lee is in a LAAMs battalion and says that the action is very hot; one man has been killed in the last four years………
It was good to be home, but, of course, it was great to get back to my beloved Marine Corps. Sgt. Mac, who started applying for OCS soon after I did, finally got his interview on Wednesday. For a while it looked like I might get to go up on the same board, but I couldn't find my application. I finally tracked it down in my battery office, but the same thing held me back --- no high school transcript. The new Lieutenant is a go-getter; he mailed a deal off for the transcript and expected to get me interviewed next week. For a while, when I thought the transcript was lost, I was ready to chuck the whole thing. But I guess I'll wait around some more. The Lieutenant at the Career Advisory said he waited seven months and finally had to write to his Congressman. He said he wouldn't recommend the OCS program to anyone.
I looked in town the other day for a car and almost found one. It was a 1956 two-door hardtop, bright pink Lincoln Continental. The body was in really good shape and so was the interior. It was, of course, full power (including windows) and had very good tires. The brakes were poor and so was the steering. In fact, the thing drove almost exactly like my '56 Mercury. The lot wanted $193 for it. I decided it would eat too much gas, but it sure was an odd car.
The Yuma Marine Aero Club now has two airplanes, and I owe them about three months' back dues. I suppose I'd better give them a call and find out when the next ground school is so I don't lose all my money. I'd like to get a job so I could do all this stuff, and I think I'll look around.
(Written for an about a Marine Friend of Mine)
Once upon a time, there lived in New York a Rick-O-Shay Cerjan. He didn't like New York. All he liked to do was shoot pool. So he left New York and went to the Marine Corps.
Rick-O-Shay didn't like the Marine Corps any better than New York. The Marine Corps didn't like him very much, either. They sent him to Yuma---a not very nice place to send anyone. It was in Yuma that Cerjan got the nickname, "Rick-O-Shay."
Back before the old Corps, Yuma was famous for its fast guns. Progress has changed all that. It's now notorious for its fast drag cars. Cerjan bought the fastest car his money could buy. He invested over $130 so that he could shut down the kids in town. In the end, he had the fastest $130, 1956 Buick in all of Yuma.
Rick-O-Shay was very proud of his new status as fastest '56 Buick driver in Yuma. Now he even had a few people who pretended to be his friend because he had a car. Before, no one ever talked to him, because he didn't use Ban or Listerine, and also because he would wear his skivy shirts for two days---first right side in, then inside out. At night he would cry into his pillow and wonder why nobody loved him. Then…
Then something happened. Love came into his life. Before he found love, he had been lonely and unaccepted. But after he moved in with Baker, everything was wonderful.
It was in this period of his life that L/Cpl. Cerjan earned his nickname. It was his turn to shoot at the rifle range. He had a lot of trouble trying to hit the target on his first try, with the bullet usually hitting the deck in front of the target and bouncing through the target. Since he came from a New York ghetto, it can be assumed that he knew no better. Out here, in the Old West, a bouncing bullet is called a "ricochet,", although no one knows why. It seems fitting to give Cerjan a name no one knows anything about.
I get to write today because I'm on watch in a small green van. We're operating with one of our batteries that are at the Salton Sea. You wouldn't believe the array of scopes, buttons, knobs and dials I'm facing. If I had the training, supposedly I could control 100 aircraft with this gear. Without the training, I sit here and write letters.
Two weeks from now we're going to the field and will attempt to fire eight missiles. Probably will fail. They pulled back one of two LAAMBns from Wespac, so now overseas prospects are dim. I checked on AA Form (request for transfer) and found that I must wait three months after submission of the OCS application to submit one for overseas. I still haven't heard about the OCS.
My Cadillac is still alive and in Yuma. It runs and starts fine, until it heats up. This does not make it the best car in Yuma.
Hi, You Guys,
Got your letter today……Glad to hear Neil's enjoying working. I kind of wish I'd been ambitious enough to work instead of joining the Corps. It also sounds like Dad is working pretty hard at that resort.
We're in our second week of school. I've been studying quite a bit and am doing pretty well. It's pretty interesting to find out the complex goings on of a radar setup.
We graduate in another six weeks, and then we'll be transferred, probably back East. I put in for Viet Nam, but we almost never get that right out of school because we're too inexperienced.
It's about time I wrote a letter……………. It's Tuesday, and we're to graduate this week and then leave for Yuma next Wednesday or Thursday. By the following Monday, I should be receiving 30 days "on the job" training in cooking, scrubbing, washing dishes, etc.
It looks like I'll be second in the class. I just couldn't beat the other guy from Chicago. I studied more than I ever did in my life and still came out second best. At promotion time, we were tied, so they will promote both of us Friday. We just started classes on the Hawk missile this week, so when I get to Yuma next week, I'll be a real expert on the missile (with four days classroom knowledge of how to set it up and operate the radars). We have a few months of laying cables, mess and guard duty before they do anything with us. Outstanding!
*I did finish first in the class
One of the requirements in the application for the Officer Candidate Course is a written statement by the individual as to why he wishes to become an officer. The following paragraphs are both an explanation and an analysis of my motives for seeking a commission.
I divide my reasons for applying into two categories: (1) the altruistic motives, such as patriotism and the desire to serve the Marine Corps to the best of my ability; and (2) the more human desires, such as increased prestige, pay and promotion. I recognize the fact that my motives are a great deal more human than they are altruistic. The latter reasons, being more important, will be treated first.
The prestige of an officer in the Marine Corps is great and, of course, this is one reason that I submit this application. In my eyes, and in the opinion of most of the people I know, the step from the enlisted ranks to the commissioned grade would be an impressive promotion. The pride in such an achievement would be tempered by the weight of responsibility that would come with the promotion.
The increase in pay is considerable, but I don't feel that this is a really important aspect of my reasons for seeking a commission. I only include this point in this paper because there is a very obvious difference between the pay of the enlisted ranks and the commissioned officers.
The idea of promotion is tied in with the attitude of trying to better oneself. I believe it is natural for a person to attempt to be successful at what he does for a career. Just as an athlete endeavors to improve his skills and to make a college team after high school, so also will I try to earn a commission from the enlisted ranks.
I desire to serve the Marine Corps to the best of my ability. I believe I am capable of handling the commission and, if the Service needs officers, then a commission would fulfill this desire.
When I joined the Marine Corps, one of the reasons I did so was because the Service had a reputation for good commissioning programs for enlisted men. I think that fulfilling an officer's duties would be more challenging and stimulating than those of an enlisted man would.
Craig H. Hullinger
Why I Love the Marine Corps
by Craig H. Hullinger
The Marine Corps has a long tradition of building good men who put their devotion to duty above anything else in life. The Marine Corps builds men. When I came to the Marine Corps, I was a six-foot, 185 lb., slightly overweight civilian. Now I am a six-foot, 185 lb., slightly overweight Marine.
The Marine Corps also taught me how to defend myself. With my eight hours of hand-to-hand combat, I can easily throw anyone who dares to try to hit me with a slow motion, roundhouse blow. I feel that I am now a safe, trained killer.
The Marine Corps has esprit de corps. Ask almost anyone, and they will tell you that they are proud to be a Marine. Even those few Marines who do not plan to make the Marine Corps their life's work will tell you that they love it. Marines will often yell, "Gung-Ho" and "Semper Fie" and other words when told of extra duty they stand. They do this because they love the Corps so much that they will gladly do jobs that cut into their liberty time.
Marines love their good chow. How often does every young Marine say, "Oh how I wish that Mother would make chow like this when I'm home."? Marines love their spacious barracks. They enjoy the camaraderie that develops from living with 50 other men in the same room. Here in Yuma, we are unfortunate to live in small rooms with only one to three other men, but we can all look forward to the time when we will get a change of duty stations and get back to the good old barracks.
The Marines love to fight. Whenever there is a war, the Marines are fortunate enough to get to the action first. Young Marines charge forward eagerly, hoping to win medals and Purple Hearts so that they can tell salt stories about their valor during times of war.
Marines are lusty men, but they are also gentlemen. Marines are often seen helping little old ladies across streets that they do not wish to cross.
Marines help out in the community. Whenever any group of people get out of hand, the Marines will take a hand and beat the hell out of them. Often, groups that aren't out of hand get beat up too, but this is only good preventive therapy.
Finally, Marines love discipline. The young Marine loves the tight hand of older Staff NCOs and Officers on his activities. The young Marine loves his superiors and will always do what they say because he respects these men who have given up a good civilian job in order to serve their Corps and Country. The young Marine looks forward to that celestial moment when he can sign his first set of ship-over papers and be one of the "in crowd."
MARINE CORPS DEVELOPMENT AND EDUCATION CENTER
QUANTICO, VIRGINIA 22134
DEVELOPMENT CENTER ORDER 1703.1
From: Assistant Director; Officer in Charge
To: Lt. Wicks
Subj.: Loitering in the area of IBM Machine Room, cancellation of
1. Purpose. To promulgate the expeditious handling of the workload of civilian personnel in the machine room by eliminating the distracting presence of the 2nd Lt. indicated above.
2. Action. The above named Lt. will absent himself from the machine room during working hours unless ordered to the machine room by civilian personnel or Pfc.'s and above.
3. Promulgation: All officers and SNCO's are requested to see that Lt. Wicks does not enter the machine room except on official business. Reports on the Lt.'s failure to obey this order will be sent immediately to the Assistant Director; Officer in Charge. Office located in Room 213 in the Taco Club.
Cancellation: 15 September, 1969.
C. H. HULLINGER
Distribution: "X" plus
"9" copies to 2nd Lt. Wick
MARINE CORPS DEVELOPMENT AND EDUCATION COMMAND
QUANTICO, VIRGINIA 22134
DEVELOPMENT CENTER ORDER 1703.2H
From: Assistant Embarkation 2nd Lt. in charge
Subj.: Promulgation of modes of dress; behavior; military customs and courtesies and general overall appearance.
Purpose: Last ditch attempt to square the "boot Looies" away.
1. Action: Thou shalt shine thy shoes to a gleaming shine.
2. Thou shalt not skate in the presence of senior officers to include all ranks above LCpl.
3. Thou shalt shine thy brass.
4. Thou shalt not harass Pfc. Barnes.
5. Thou shalt procure a close military haircut at least once a week.
6. Thou shalt treat thy Assistant Embarkation 2nd Lt. in charge with proper respect and reverence.
7. Promulgation: Any failure to abide by the above provisions will be dealt with severely. Many bends and thrusts and side straddle
hops will result from failure to comply.
C. H. HULLINGER
Suggestion Department CHH:chh
From: Suggestion Department
To: War Games Department
Subj.: Promulgation of the Land All-Weather Guidance, Fire Control Infantry Support Systems (LAWGFCISS)
Action: Develop this system with great haste and also alacrity
Concept: Develop a land guidance system comparable to the MTDS system
1. Although this is written in a humorous vein, its intent is serious. I propose that Battalion Commanders and above use a van similar to those presently employed in air control units. These vans are helicopter and truck transportable and contain various computers and cathode ray tubes. The scopes would be used to picture the Battalion's subordinate units instead of aircraft.
The images generated on the scope would be presentations of signals sent from special radios carried by the unit. This would resemble the system of IFF-SIF presently used in aircraft identification. The Bn. Comdr.'s CP Van sends a signal which all small unit radios are set to respond. The Bn. Comdr. observes these signals as blips on the scope, and the accurate readouts of the units' positions. The Bn. C.O. thus has a clear and accurate view of where his companies and patrols are at all times. At night, or in rough terrain, or in the deep canopy, this system would be an invaluable aid in land navigation.
The really impressive aspect of this system would be its aid in fire support. A unit in trouble would not have to use its maps to locate the enemy's positions; instead, a simple description of the enemy and its distance and direction from the friendlies would suffice. The Bn. C.O. simply turns this target information directly to his supporting arms who can immediately fire the mission. These communications can be sent in data length as is done in the Hawk missile automated system, using a minimum of verbal communication.
Drawbacks of this proposed system would be the dependence on line of site principle; that is, the patrols could not go behind mountains or in deep valleys. However, I think the concept is workable and would get the business of land navigation and fire support on a par with the rest of modern advances made in the art of war. In addition, sensors could be used to appear on the scope as a sort of early warning system for ground attacks.
2nd LOOIE C. H. HULLINGER
Will wonders never cease? I'm finally getting around to writing a letter. I keep promising to mend my ways, but seemingly never do.
Hwang and I went to Fort Meade and saw Dana yesterday. He seems to be doing pretty well. I think he'll drive home with Hwang and me on Memorial Day weekend.
Academically, I'm doing a lot better now. Since I flunked a machine gun test and had a motivational lecture from my platoon commander, I have done pretty well. I got my average up to 85%. This annoys me, though, because if I'd started off the way I've been going lately, I'd have about a 95%.
Tonight Hwang and I are going over to a buddy's house for dinner. His wife plays a 12-string and sings like "Joanie Phonie" and looks like Brigitte Bardot. Some guys have all the luck.
Dearest mother can start looking for an arranged marriage for me again. I don't seem to be doing very well. Two weekends ago I fixed up four of my friends from the girls' college. I told them that some of their dates would be pretty ugly, but I didn't expect all of them to be ugly. That in itself was bad enough, but my date, who was a real knockout, stood me up and sent a real winner in her place. All in all, I'm ready for one of Mother's arranged marriages.
We put in our requests for Military Occupational Specialties. There was no problem getting gungie and requesting grunt; I asked for air control, communications and artillery, in that order. My average is not very good, and I probably will be getting my last choice. Certainly hope I get that, and not infantry, although I don't particularly like any of my choices. Will know the results in a couple of weeks.
We've had a couple of guys resign. They get General Discharges. I sure wouldn't mind doing that. I've got my enlisted Honorable Discharge and could probably get by. However, dear Father successfully infused in me a sense of meeting your commitments and a non-quitter virus, so I guess I won't do it. I don't know what kind of an officer I'll make with my non-gungho attitude, but I'm pretty sure that I'll put out in leading my troops and looking out for them.
Went down to Norfolk last weekend. Met some kids I knew. All the ministers had moved, but I saw Mr. Bess. The ministers that replaced the top notch guys might be good guys, but they're not much to look at. One parson is sloppy and fat with greasy hair in his eyes, while the other has attractive, wavy hair in a fashionable bob down to his neck. I was forced to tell myself, "judge not." They discussed the difficulties of persuading the conservative parishioner to go out into the world and help the poor and oppressed. I suppose that I am a liberal, and I would find it hard to be persuaded that up was up by those two.
I want to go to college and join the SDS. With my knowledge of frontal assaults, I have no doubt that we could quickly capture every U. in the country. I feel that I must sign off and finish writing my military instruction outline, which is due tomorrow. I'm talking about Hawk missile batteries.
P.S. I was recommended for communications – 95% probability of getting it. I'll have two months of school here at Quantico – mainside. It looks like we'll have a month between schools, and I'll probably take twenty-day leaves before and after Comm. School.
Having nothing to do is conducive to the labor of letter writing. I am on guard (duty) again today. It being Saturday, we are on duty twenty-four hours and off duty twenty-four hours….
I think I'm now glad that I have this clerical job, at least temporarily. I'm typing a lot of things that I wouldn't type or even write, if it weren't for the availability of this typewriter. Today, I'm writing a letter to Senator Dirksen in which I am complaining about the voting age. I've already written a letter about why I love the Marine Corps, a news article about concentration camps in the United States, a satire on one of my friends in the barracks, a letter to a girl in Phoenix, and two or three letters to you folks. My next piece will be a book about Existentionalism, if I can only learn to spell "paece" and "Existentionalism!"
Yesterday, I bought a book about the 12-string guitar as played by Leadbelly. Leadbelly was a Negro blues singer and composer who died thirty years ago. I've already learned a little, but some of it is going to be pretty hard.
I almost bought a fan yesterday but then decided to suffer the heat in wealth. I believe we're going down to Mexico tomorrow and will buy a few things there. I'm going to buy one of those weird, cheap Mexican paintings and send it home. You'll probably think it's hideous, but then---perhaps not. You have some pretty odd tastes in art (Picasso's Clown). These paintings are very bright figures painted on black felt. They're not reprints, but rather copies done by many different people.
I love the Marine Corps.
My roommate is in Flagstaff this weekend. He wanted me to go along, but, of course, I thought it better if I stayed here. It's supposed to be very nice in the northern Arizona mountains.
Hope Neil is out. He must be pretty bored by now.
I read in Time Magazine that cross crawling isn't any good. It draws great support from parents, but there are other, better methods. The article neglected to say what methods those might be.
I sit here smoking my Swisher Sweet cigar, thinking great thoughts. However, by the time I get out of the Corps, other people will have done every dream I've had about changing the world. However, perhaps there is still hope. Maybe the world won't be a Utopia in three years, and there will still be something I can do.
What I need is a wife. With all the changes in our mores and customs, perhaps it would be okay for you to arrange a marriage. She must be beautiful, rich and smart enough to let me think I'm smarter. Start looking around, Mom.
MPH still hasn't come through. To heck with it.
I have discovered Swisher Sweets, a cigar made by King Edward Cigars. Definitely do like that cigar.
My guitar playing is becoming more melodious than ever. I have not reached the point where my fellow Marines are flocking to hear me play, however. In fact, I will probably have to wait until dear Mother hears me play before I ever get a compliment. Mothers are like that.
I am still very inefficient in my work. My typing is poor and laced with errors and misspellings. I have sunk from an adept, backwards printer to an inept, forward typist. But I try harder. When you're only second best (or 3rd, 4th or 8th) you just can't afford to loaf. Besides, I'm gungi (slang for gung-ho) and love the Corps. Although writing backwards and typing forwards was not quite what I had in mind when I joined the professional killers, it is certainly better than getting shot at. If I had it all to do over, I'd go to Canada. However, the die is cast. Besides, Portsmouth Jail is no picnic.
I think I'll go to Phoenix next weekend if they don't fix me up with some weird duty. I've got to do something interesting or else I'll climb walls. When I get out, I can tell my war stories along with the other Vets...
"Yep, things were sure tough when I was in the Corps. We liked to have fried in that hot desert sun. Why, in those days, the men were men, and so were the women. We went into combat (field training) willingly, and without fear. We shrugged off boredom like real men and only complained about our sad lot when anyone was within shouting distance. During the long week, we worked like coolies, typing incessantly on worn-out type-writers that made the shortest letter seem like drudgery. Did we complain about our 30-hour week? Of course. Yes, my four years in the Corps made me what I am today. Having been stationed in Yuma, Arizona for my entire enlistment, I can safely say that I did everything my Corps and Country asked me to do. Did I cringe at the thought of actually shooting a real rifle out at the rifle range? Well, I'll admit that I was a bit frightened, but I persevered. Like other combat veterans of other wars I, too, learned to sometimes shoot my rifle without shutting my eyes or quivering in fear. I'm proud that I bravely withstood my four years in the Corps during heavy combat in Viet Nam. I viewed the War totally unafraid. As long as there are plenty of other Marines to go there, I will never worry.
HALT! Enough! This savage, trained killer's fingers are tired.
As you will notice, I found my mid-terms and, also, a letter. How I overlooked them
is beyond me. How I can be so disorganized in a place that enforces neatness is beyond
I looked over my midterms, and they don't seem to be the work of a college
freshman hoping to become an officer in the Marine Corps. They seem to be the work of
a freshman in a poor Chicago public high school hoping to become a sophomore. ….
Why don't you tell me the exact days you will be in South Dakota. I think, perhaps,
the way I should do it is to take 15 days leave, allow three to get there, and spend half the
remaining time in South Dakota and drive back with you to Chicago. I'd get to see
Chicago friends and also have easier flights home………
British correspondent Hugh O'Brien has reported that the United States has set up a huge chain of concentration camps in unpopulated areas of the western United States. Mr. O'Brien reported that there are over three million rioters, peace-niks, John Birchers, religious activists, and other extremist groups. One hundred forty minority groups are said to be represented there. The population of the camps is kept down by carefully mixing equal numbers of opposing groups together. The camps are said to be policed by Ku Klux Klan members, ex-cons and servicemen who have proved to be cruel above and beyond the call of duty.
The NAACP, Columbia University and the PTA have come out four square against the camps, with the Rev. Abernathy vowing to hold a camp in the Smithsonian Institute. However, yesterday the PTA changed its position, saying, "We support any and all moves our government must make to provide for the common good, promote the general welfare and get rid of all the trouble makers. No one could be found who admitted to being a member of the NAACP or Columbia University, leaving fear in high government circles that these groups may have de-camped.
All highly populated Negro ghettos are reported to be devoid of Negroes. All professional sports teams reported that their star Negro athletes failed to report for practice and were, therefore, cut from the teams. The federal government reports that all Negro employees have resigned and have disappeared.
Correspondent O'Brien theorizes that something out of the ordinary is going on in the United States. He fears that a huge program is taking place in the United States. However, at last report, O'Brien had disappeared from sight.
* * * * *
Two letters in four days may blow your minds. Turn on, tune in, drop out, ship over. I was encouraged to find that LBJ is a non-lifer. Anybody who would make a career in the service should have his head examined. He was in 2-1/2 years before he got commissioned, and he shipped once for four, but now has seen the light.
Kennedy, Nixon, McCarthy, Wallace. With candidates like that, for whom do you vote? Of course, I'll be a few days too young to vote. I may be an officer or be getting shot at, but I can't buy a drink or a car on time, and I can't vote. Gung Ho!
Tomorrow is the big day. I start my 30 days mess, which will give me a grand total of 100 days. Of course, this place is slack and gives you days off. Now, back in the old Corps in '66, when I came in, they didn't give days off on mess duty. Actually, I'm glad I'm going on mess because I've met a few people with more days than I've had, and I just hate being second best. Squids (Navy) get mess duty for 90 days straight, which is not good.
I love my 12-string guitar. I can't play it any better than my 4-string, but it looks impressive.
I really had a good time yesterday. One buddy and I got a job in a carnival. For twelve hours I showed everybody how easy it was to "win a great, big, stuffed animal." "All you have to do is get your dime on the plate. How about it?" "Hey, you, Sir, how about winning your girl a great big teddy bear?" Little kids would come up and ask me what to do. I'd tell them to throw their dime on the plate and pick any animal they wanted. They'd throw their dime and then walk away sad when they lost. Most people find this sad, but not me. I'm a Marine and love to "fish" little kids. One Mexican fella got an animal on his second dime. He was so happy---it was the first time he'd ever won anything. So he proceeded to throw five or six more dollars worth of dimes with no luck.
If you tell the concession stands that you're "with it," they'll sell you better food for less money. "With it" means you work for the carnival. I could have worked today, but I had to write my midterm, plus I wanted to sleep and rest in preparation for my forthcoming ordeal. I made $15 yesterday; I think I fished in well over $150 worth of dimes while giving out about 15 toys valued at $2.00 a piece. My friend did about the same. We worked in the same booth. It was quite an experience.
If you & Dad ever get stale, you ought to think up a novel carnival exhibit and hit some carnival in downstate Illinois. It would be fun and a sure-fire article in the "Daily News" supplement!
The Commandant is coming here in about two hours. I get to greet him and three other Generals as they come into our Battalion classroom. My Captain said he's been talking to everyone he's passed, so I'd better be on my toes. I figured that wouldn't be too bad as a General usually isn't hard on troops. This morning they had me cleaning the outside of the hangar in my dress uniform, and now I have to meet the Commandant this afternoon. Tough.
My Cadillac is still running, but not very well. Last week I went to San Luis, Mexico, to bail a friend out of jail. That jail is a real winner. It was in a courtyard-like building with two heavy doors. A very evil looking Mexican was guarding the jail. A row of bill clubs was on the wall. We were almost afraid to go into the building. We didn't go into the actual cells, but from the description the fellows we bailed out gave us, it didn't sound too wonderful. There is one big cell for all the occupants. Our friends were the only ones who weren't Mexican, and they were picked on considerably. They looked like hell when they came out. That place doesn't get it.
I'm going to Phoenix today. My buddy is going to buy a car, and I'm going to trade mine in (that is, if it gets us to Phoenix). That car was a mistake. It seems that every time I do something against Dad's advice, I mess up. I guess I can truthfully say that I'm surprised at how much Dad has learned since I left home.
I signed a paper yesterday saying that I would guarantee to stay in OCS for a minimum…………..
Thought I'd get busy and write you a letter. Have you taken any pictures with your camera? As soon as I've learned how to use mine, I'll send you some. Please get some pictures of the family and send them to me.
I have a friend from Italy who broke his ankle and is spending at least 20 weeks in the hospital. Can you think of any way I could cheer him up? He can't even get out of bed.
I suppose you've gone back to work. When you get really bored and disgusted, just remember---it's not as disgusting and boring as this place. Last week we packed up our gear and went out in the desert. We saw an F-8 fighter jet crash about three miles from us. The biggest part left of the pilot was his foot. Next March we're going on an amphibious operation. We'll go to an island off the California coast and shoot some missiles at planes. Ought to be fun!
I'm playing basketball for the battalion and base team. I'm just as bad as I always was. Is there any military gear that you would like? The stuff is pretty cheap at cash sales. I could get you a pair of combat boots. I don't know what you'd do with combat boots, but it seemed like a good idea while I was writing it….
How goes it, Marine? Hope you're enjoying yourself, leading the life of Riley.
I just got off mess duty and so am feeling pretty good. Tomorrow we have to get up at four o'clock in the morning and work until noon. Then we're off for the rest of the day. The reason they do this is because it's so hot here during the summer.
I'll probably start working in an office tomorrow. I don't want to do that, but I guess I'll have no choice. It will probably be good for my typing skills, though.
I'll probably see you this summer in South Dakota. I'll probably hitchhike there and drive back to Chicago.
Not much else to say, except, why don't you write to me? I'll send you paper, envelopes and stamps, so all you'll have to get is the pen.
The Candidate is having a great time---wish you were here. The program is getting rougher, but I'm not as sick as I was. I am becoming more gung-ho as time goes on; I have to watch that, because I might do something stupid---like request to be a grunt.
On Monday we went on a hike with full gear and slept out in the field. We made a day and a night compass march which, of course, the Candidate (Boy Scout) did well on. It snowed a little that night; we froze most of the time, and we packed up very early in the morning while it was still dark. I lost my compass and had to go back later that day to find it. Later that same day the Company 1st Sgt. took me to the PX and got me new frames for my glasses. I broke the other frames earlier, and I was wearing my old glasses taped at the center. The 1st Sgt. knew the optometrist, and I received a new military frame free. My Platoon seems to have forgotten about me. I no longer fill billets or receive chits, satisfactory or otherwise. Apparently, this is because they feel that the college boys need the experience worse than we do.
I'm heavier now than I have ever been in my life. I weigh 194 pounds and am hoping to weigh 200 pounds coming out of here. I doubt if I'll make it, though.
I received the package yesterday. Thank you much………….
Four weeks from tomorrow I will be a 2nd Lt., providing I don't break a leg, catch pneumonia, or get kicked out or quit, all of which could easily happen. My bunkmate, Sgt. Jones, had what the doctors term, "fly syndrome," meaning it's in his head, I believe. He is now in casual company in the process of quitting. He just walked out of the squad bay with all his uniforms. Must stop…………..
MARINE AIR SUPPORT SQUADRON 3
Marine Air Control Group 18
1st Marine Aircraft Wing
FPO San Francisco, California 96602
INFORMATION FOR PARENTS AND WIVES
Marine Air Support Squadron 3 (MASS 3), of which your son or husband is now a member, is a unit of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, which is a component of III Marine Amphibious Force, the U.S. Marine Command in Vietnam. The mission of MASS 3 is to control and direct Marine aircraft in close and direct support of Marine and other friendly ground forces. The squadron accomplishes this mission through its Direct Air Support Centers, Air Support Radar Teams, and Helicopter Direction Centers in various locations throughout Vietnam.
The Squadron base camp is at Danang. The climate is semi-tropical and pleasant. Temperatures range from 50 degrees in the winter to 90 degrees in the summer. Cooling ocean breezes make the nights comfortable. The most notable feature of the climate here is the northeast monsoon season with its frequent and heavy rainfall. All Marines in the Squadron are issued adequate waterproof clothing to protect them from the elements, and although the rains slow down our operations somewhat, we perform our mission regardless of the weather. The Squadron has detachments at Quang Tri, Birmingham, LZ Baldy, Chu Lai and An Hoa. Danang is the location of the Danang Air Base, and besides MASS 3, a number of Marine, Army and Navy units are garrisoned here. First Marine Division is deployed around the base area.
The Marines of MASS 3 reside in tin-roofed wooden buildings known as "Southeast Asia Huts," and they are designed to keep rain out while admitting a maximum of fresh air. These quarters are, by no means, luxurious, but they are adequate and not uncomfortable.
The pride of MASS 3 is the Squadron Mess, which is considered by many to be the best mess in the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. Here are served a remarkable variety of tasty, wholesome foods, including such staples as beefsteak, milk, ice cream and fresh salads, in almost unlimited quantities. Most Marines departing the Squadron weigh more than when they joined.
Excellent medical facilities and care are available to the Marines of MASS 3. Navy medical corpsmen operate a dispensary in the Squadron camp and care for routine ailments and minor injuries. Patients suffering from serious ailments or injuries are evacuated in the Squadron's ambulance to a complete Naval hospital located within 20 minutes' drive of the Squadron's camp. Patients requiring the attention of specialists are taken by helicopter or boat to the U.S. Navy hospital ship anchored off Danang.
There is an enlisted men's club and a noncommissioned officer's club where the Marines of the Squadron can go after duty hours for relaxation and refreshments. Touring variety shows often perform in these Squadron clubs, and occasionally Marines of the Squadron can attend performances given by celebrities of the entertainment world in the Freedom Hill Amphitheater.
During his duty in Vietnam, your son or husband will have at least one opportunity to visit Hawaii, Australia, or one of a number of Asian cities during a 5-7 day rest and recreation leave. His transportation to and from the city of his choice will be by a civilian airline aircraft, at no expense to him.
A chaplain is assigned to the Squadron to conduct religious services, to provide counseling when desired, and to serve the spiritual needs of the personnel of the Squadron. Additionally, there are available to the marines of the Squadron, several military and Naval chapels within a short distance of the Squadron camp staffed by chaplains of various faiths.
Considering all the recreation facilities and programs available to the Marine in Vietnam, mail from home is still the most potent morale builder. Your son or husband is encouraged to write to you as often as his duty permits, and it is hoped that you will write frequently to him. His correct mailing address is:
Rank, Name, Service Number
MASS 3, (Section)
MACG 18, 1st MAW
FPO San Francisco, California 96602
In case of a family emergency in which you desire that your son or husband be notified immediately, you should contact the nearest chapter of the American Red Cross and request its assistance in notifying him.
It is hoped that the information contained herein provides you an idea of your son's or husband's organization and duties in Vietnam. Parents and wives are invited to write to the commanding officer when they have questions regarding the Squadron or their sons and husbands.
I held off writing this letter so I could send you my new address. I am now at Marine Air Support Squadron-3. Right now I'm the assistant to another Lieutenant who I'll probably relieve.
MASS-3 is located on top of a 1,000-foot high mountain overlooking Danang Bay, and it's really beautiful. Its mission is to give radar guidance to planes giving the ground troops close air support. The squadron has one Direct Air Support Center and five Air Support Radar Teams. As you can guess, the reason I got this job is because of my enlisted experience. My platoon's job is to provide communications between the DASC and the five ASRT's which are located all through "I" Corps.
I think I'll be here for some time, although it's hard to be sure. The whole Marine Corps is readying to pull back, although it's hard to say what will happen. Twenty three hundred men from the wing will go home (as a result of) the recent cut, and we're preparing for more (cuts) in the future.
Right now it's the same time as in Chicago with a 12-hour difference---explain that to the kids! I'm watching the 6:30 news on TV in my barracks, but this new barracks isn't air-conditioned (war is hell!). They say it stays fairly cool here because of the height-catching sea breezes. I'll send you pictures soon. I can say that this is one of the most beautiful places (views) I've ever seen.
I've taken a book on the Vietnamese language and will study tapes on it. I probably won't learn much, but it will help pass the time. I received your letter and the letters from the church two days ago---glad you enjoyed your trip.
Friday 13 Mar 70
It's Friday the 13th and---you guessed it---I'm on duty. I catch Officer of the Day about twice a month, and it's pretty dull. At least it's a good time to catch up on my letter writing.
Quite a few interesting things have happened since I wrote last. I've been pretty busy with Special Services since it was a real bag of worms when I took over. Also, since the other Comm. Officer is still here there isn't much to do in Comm. I've built a basketball half-court and a boxing ring, a skeet shooting range, and I've fixed up our recreation room. I didn't realize what I was getting into with the boxing ring. It filled an entire five ton truck. A few people weren't too happy with it since we figure to move back to California in the summer, and it will be a pain to embark. Tough. I think everybody thinks I'm pretty gung-ho because of the things I'm getting (into).
I'm probably too lackadaisical in my bearing as an Officer. Perhaps I tend to be too familiar with the troops. But then, I guess that you can't lead men if you don't know them.
I think that Hwang is now in Vietnam. I haven't heard from him again, but he wrote to one of our friends and said he was on his way. He is probably in the thick of the fighting if they didn't make him a General's aide.
I'm going on R&R to Hong Kong the 29th of this month. I could probably leave the country twice a month on Special Services by buying trips if I wanted to, but my conscience would bother me. I'm gambling on going to Japan when we pull out of here, so I'm not taking R&R there. I hope I'm not wrong, because I do want to see it. At the same time, I don't want to waste R&R on a place that I'll probably see anyway. I could also go to the Philippines, Singapore, Australia, Bangkok or Taipei.
My CommO boss will probably leave soon since so many Marines are leaving early. As I said before, our outfit will probably be leaving in July, although we've had no firm word on it. I'll still have time see the Western Pacific, so I'll probably go to MCAS, Iwakuni, Japan. I'd really like to stay in Vietnam since the money is great and it's the first time I've done anything in the military that isn't training.
I've seen several of my friends from Comm School, and I know where several of them are. I can hitchhike over and see them at any time.
I guess I'm a semi-civic action Officer, although our Hill is too removed from the village to start any program. They've never officially assigned me the job---it just usually goes with the catchall bag of Special Services. I am trying to get the troops to treat the civilians better, but I fear that winning the hearts and minds of the people is better left to social workers. Marines, as a rule, are not tremendously fond of the "Gooks." I'm sure that you've read of the murder of the sixteen women and children south of here. Well, the Platoon Commander of those men was relieved the day of the night that they committed those murders and was sent to command our Security Platoon.
He is proud of his men killing the civilians. His only regret is that his troops will get burned for it. I haven't said much to him, but I think I'm going to pick a fight with him and beat the living hell out of him, perhaps letting a little sense into him. I imagine he was doing a miserable job in the bush, as he said that he didn't want to leave his platoon and come to the safe job of our Security Platoon Comdr. He certainly hasn't improved the morale of the Security Platoon personnel who already have low morale since the job they do seems to be pretty useless. He won't give them the party at China Beach that I've tried to have for all the sections. He thinks that they are too slack to rate a party. I guess his reasoning is that all things that improve morale will be curtailed until morale improves. He wants to go back to the bush so he can go out at night with five men armed with bayonets and 45 pistols and silently kill the enemy (as he has already done many times). Well, if he gets his orders soon, perhaps he will be killed. Otherwise, he'll only get his teeth kicked in.
Sorry I've been so vehement, but as you can see, this "combat environment" has me on edge. War is hell. Tonight I boxed a Golden Gloves champ in the ring. He was a little shorter than I and perhaps 30 to 40 pounds lighter. I judge that it was a draw, but perhaps I'll find out tomorrow that everyone thought I lost.
Well, I think that I'll wind this letter up and write one to Neil, and perhaps one to Pete. I say again, if there is anything that you desire me to buy, let me know. I figure to buy you an electric typewriter and a stereo set. The cost is about half of what it would cost in the States.
Things are looking up. I'm mighty short. It's becoming difficult to see over the typewriter. I'm struggling manfully to keep from falling down whenever I step out of a building.
As you can guess, my orders are in. I leave the sunny south land on 10 December. I should get to South Dakota a week later, depending on the layover time in Okinawa. I'll spend a few days visiting the relatives and then come home. I'll leave for Europe and Israel some time after Christmas. I'll probably spend a few days at home when I return from Israel, unless I can catch a diplomatic flight going east.
Saturday I will go to the Embassy in downtown Danang and get my passport. I won't start checking out until the 7th. I'd like to get enrolled somewhere so that I can get out when I come home for good in late July or early August.
Mom is going to have to arrange a marriage for me. It seems that every girl I ever knew is married or getting that way. Of course, school should change all that. I don't figure to let studying interfere with my education. I suppose I should try to get into the Circle so that I can spend some time at home for the first time in over five years. I'd like to spend a good time with my big brother. Perhaps we can do some of those things we have always dreamed about. I do have certain distaste for returning to the violence of the big city. When you get used to the relative safety of Vietnam you begin to develop a phobia about life in the big city.
Things have been going along pretty well lately. Our big new beautiful building is coming along well. We should be ready to move into the building late this week. I hope to have the place completely squared away by the end of my tour here. I'm trying to find all the Special Services gear that I've squandered around so that I won't end up paying for any of it. I will probably be getting a new job when I come back. They are thinking of putting me in the Wing Comm-Elec Shop as I've had a pretty good background in the communication field. MASS-3 is, in my opinion, the Squadron with the most varied Comm requirements of any unit in the Marine Corps. We use a variety of radios that no one else employs. The Comm Center experience is also valuable as, that too, is a pretty vital function for any Wing or Division.
Did you receive my letters? I mailed three of them in close succession and am not sure if they were all actually mailed. One was very long and one contained a large check.
Love……………..Craig (The Walker)
PS: I learned something that made me feel good. I always feel that I am too easy. One of the Grunts told me that they all stay especially alert when I have duty because I am known as "THE WALKER." I generally walk all the posts four times a night as I feel that you can't do an adequate job riding around in a jeep. I know---I've slept on guard duty!
Four years ago I had the privilege of working as a church social worker in a Norfolk, Virginia slum. I ran a teen center and ran into some fairly interesting characters. Cecil Cade was a husky six-footer who ran his gang of juvenile delinquents with a firm hand. The local police, who insisted on shaking him down for weapons every time he was seen on the streets, were hampering his career. It was almost impossible for Cecil to walk the streets in safety; either the cops would bust him for an illegal weapon, or he would be set upon by armed toughs who sought to gain status by smashing the gang leader. Cecil solved his problem with a touch of genius and a large tablespoon. He carried his spoon in the hip pocket of his jeans with the handle in plain sight. If a fight came his way, he would pull out his spoon and attempt to spoon the opposition to death. The police were powerless to act, as no court in Norfolk would burn a man for carrying a concealed weapon in the form of a tablespoon. His peers had a lively fear of "The Spoon," for in the hands of a quick and powerful young man, it was a formidable weapon. In addition, it could be used to great effect in mock battles when others could only use their hairbrushes.
I'm back on duty tonight. so I can write a pretty long letter. This duty isn't so bad as it is not very demanding, and I should be able to sleep most of the night. It is now 2305 and I am waiting for a MARS call home. Consequently, if you get a call, then you will know, when you receive this letter, that I was writing it the day you talked to me.
I guess I gave you a pretty good picture of Australia. It really is a fine country. If you can, imagine a nation likes ours, with only 12 million people, and you will come as close to (imagining) Utopia as any nation can come in our time. I really feel that most of our country's problems are caused by overpopulation. While other countries have many more people per acre, their mode of living is not so dependent on wide-open spaces as is ours. Our large, numerous cars and homes on large lots create a large property sense that becomes frustrated when hemmed in by large cities and traffic jams. Quite a philosopher, what?
I guess I told you that a Mustang car costs about $13,000 in Australia. They are forced by duties to buy the three cars produced in Australia: the Falcon, the Valiant, or the Holden (Chevy II). These cars cost over $3,500 new and are the largest autos commonly used in Australia. Even the farm machinery that so much of Australia's prosperity is based upon is very expensive, running 20% to 30% over U.S. prices. Considering the cost of manufactured items in Australia, it is amazing to me that so many people can afford luxuries there. I couldn't really see much difference in the living standards at home or Australia. Of course, I was only able to see prosperous Sidney, and I know the farm community that I saw was very prosperous. Perhaps the rest of the country is not so rich. At any rate, the quality of life is certainly better there.
Consumption of beer is truly awesome. The beer is very good and very strong. A beer-drinking five-year-old girl and a two-year-old boy inhabited the home I stayed at in the Outback. Starting their beer drinking so young must be a factor in their high per capita consumption.
Right now I don't know which way to fly. As I told you, I am filling the billets of Operations Officer and Executive Officer, both jobs normally having one Captain each. Actually, it isn't very demanding, and I feel that there is probably no job in the world that I can't handle and that there is probably no job in the world that I would like very much, either. I definitely do not want a paperwork job. I now have a complete horror of bureaucracy, whether it is through government or civilian enterprise. I really don't have the faintest idea of what to do when I grow up. Right now I figure to go to school to get a degree, avoid all marital entanglements, and then I'm off to see the world at a leisurely pace. I figure I can help Neil wherever I end up going to school.
Of course, I still don't know what I will be doing. I should be out of Vietnam by June. I may be going to Hawaii by boat or flying straight home. It's still up in the air whether I'll get out or not---probably not, but I don't really know. My orders are to Quantico (Virginia). I could easily stay with the outfit in Hawaii until I get out, which might not be too bad. Circuitous travel is another problem. I can undoubtedly get it if I am going home by air. However, I have 50 days of leave on the books, which converts to $800 a month if I don't take it and get paid for it when I get out. So I'd be spending $26 a day for a free trip around the world. I guess what I will do, if I end up going to Quantico, is to take the circuitous travel west to the States and not stop very long at each place. The Embassy flight flies from Okinawa, Bangkok, Delhi, Saudi Arabia, Greece, Spain, and then Charleston, S.C. I would then report into Quantico and come home on weekends this year. By the time I would get out (around Christmas), I would have 1,600 bucks coming from unused leave, providing I don't squander the leave. Actually, if I wanted to travel, the best way to do it would be youth hostels and a motorbike or VW, in which case, I had best wait until I get out.
I guess I told you about the boy and girl who had sailed to Australia. The fellow had gotten out of the Air Force and left his native Oklahoma to work his way across the South Pacific, stopping at Tahiti, Bora Bora and New Zealand. His next stop was supposed to be South Africa, as soon as he found a yacht bound his way. The girl had left her native Bermuda and gone east, past Africa and India, to Australia. Definitely neat. Strangely enough, very few people I have met want to travel to the States. They are convinced by the media that the U.S. is coming apart by the seams and that they will certainly be mugged by an irate gangster or black person. Maybe they are right, but I told them that most of us in Vietnam felt the same way until we got back and realized that, sure, there are riots, but it's not as if all our communities are going up in flames. After I explained this to a few people, I think, perhaps, it revived their interest in the States.
I'm definitely getting ready to come home. Vietnam has lost all appeal for me. Its beautiful, scenic vistas have gotten old. Well, it's getting late, and my marginal skill with the typewriter has become fatigue degraded to the point of diminishing returns. My thought processes have also lost some acuity.
PEACE, LOVE AND FIRE SUPERIORITY………………Craig H. Hullinger,
Leader of Marines
At last we have an easy night and I can take time out to write a letter. We've been quite busy lately and spent the entire thirteen-hour watch trying to catch up on our message backlog. Just imagine fifteen or twenty people all typing, proofreading and sending messages as fast as they can, and you've got a pretty good idea of what we're going through.
Tomorrow, when we get off work, I'm taking our truck and taking everyone out to China Beach for a few hours. Even though we'll have to go back to work in just eleven hours, it will still be good to get out and do something like that. You reach the point where all you do is work and sleep, and that isn't very good for morale.
Tonight my Staff Sgt. was missing. A few hours ago he called to tell me he was at an off-limits Officer's Club in downtown Danang. He told me he was wearing a Navy insignia, and I just hope he doesn't get into trouble. He's a pretty good man; a black guy from Chicago. I guess I'm about the easiest Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. I just can't buy all the petty military procedure. I've yet to jump anyone about salutes or calling me "Sir." I really haven't run across any disrespect, but I suppose I'm too friendly with my troopies. I keep wondering how Dad was in similar situations.
I'm sure Anne told you about my call last night. I'll try to call again tonight. My address is on the back of the envelope, although a letter will get to me by using any address that you have.
Have you received the gear I sent you from Hong Kong yet? I'm sending Neil a cassette player so that you will be able to send cassettes to both of your wandering sons. All you have to do is fill out the mailer card, put a stamp on it and mail the cassette. I think it should be a lot handier than the tape recorders that you used to have. I'll send you another portable job that you can take with you on trips.
I believe I told you that my insurance expired and that you have to send proof of insurance to Chrysler Credit Corps in Maryland or they will bill me for insurance. I hope to have the car paid off next month.
I could probably get used to the idea of $800 a month, mostly tax free, and very few expenses. I'm not saving anything, though, as there are just too many things to buy and I've still got to pay off the loans from Quantico.
I wrote Neil a line as well as the cousin in the 101st. I can't place him. Would he be Pete's kid and/or Frank's brother? I'll drop Jackie a line tonight. That should impress his buddies if he gets a letter from a "heavy."
I'm trying to get a catalog of Pacex (Military Exchange) items so that you can decide what you need, but the catalogs are hard to come by. I will get you that electric typewriter when I get my bills paid off.
I need information on your birthdates, addresses of Pastor Hoyor and Rich Eckenstahler, and some credit references for a "Top Secret" security clearance. I need that info as soon as possible.
Well, I'll write that letter to Jackie and Jim and then get back to work.
Dear Mr. Dirksen:
I am a Marine stationed in Yuma, Arizona, and I have just returned from Vietnam. Although I am an NCO in the Armed Forces and was entrusted with the lives of 14 men in my squad in heavy combat, I find that I am now considered too young and immature to vote for the men who make the decisions that send men to war. If I am old enough to die for my Country, then I should be old enough to choose my leaders.
I further find that I cannot drink a beer legally, either on base or off. I realize that the federal government has little to do with this state level decision; still, your favorable opinion might sway state policy makers. At least you might make it legal for servicemen to be able to buy a beer on their own base.
I further find that I cannot buy anything on installment without an "adult" co-signer. Sir, if I am not an adult, then what am I? What I am is a second class citizen. "Taxation without representation is tyranny!" However, I choose to uphold the law rather than burn my draft card and oppose the war.
I am now operations officer for Comm Company, so at least I have a fairly responsible job. Right now I am somewhat intoxicated since we had an outside floor show this afternoon. The show wasn't too good, but a good time was still had by all.
Yesterday I went down to Baldy and Hill 34 and looked over a few radio relay shots we have down there. As Op Officer I've got to ensure that everything is working properly. If I play my cards right, perhaps I can visit the radio site that we have at Khe Son. Actually, there isn't much going on there, but it might be interesting to see the place.
Last night we went down to the Recon O' Club. Recon is the Marine Corps answer to the Green Berets. They argued about who had been on more patrols and who had more kills. Fine young killers.
I have another investigation. It seems that our young radio operators have been making extracts from the crypto key lists. This is a "no no." They sent one key list up with the man who went up to the General's helicopter. He cleverly lost the confidential material where the General could find it one hour later. The General was mad. However, the General gave the list to his driver, who did not have a security clearance. This is also a no no. So if the General hangs the parties involved, he should also hang himself. Have you ever tried to advise the commanding General of his rights under Article 31?
Enough. I am tired and shall quit writing.
It's about 3:00 in the morning, and we just now caught up on our work. I guess it's about 2:00 in the afternoon in Chicago. I'm pretty tired, but I'm still going to the beach tomorrow with Woody Griffin, my friend since OCS and my counterpart over at 1st Marine Division Comm Center.
I've been thinking pretty seriously about volunteering for a civic action team, as they do about the same thing that POPV does. I don't know whether I can get the job or not, but I think that I will try for it.
I can't remember whether or not I told you about Hong Kong. I really enjoyed myself. The place is quite filthy and, of course, the number of people living as close as they do is unbelievable. The harbor is jammed with ferries and junks and sampans. Of course, I now want to buy a junk and tour the outer islands. On one of the trips I visited "no man's land" by the Red Chinese border; that's probably the closest that I've been to an enemy soldier.
I didn't hear the President's speech, but I gather that our pullout may not be as soon as everyone thought. No matter. I don't wish to come back to the world just yet.
I need the information on the sheet that I'm enclosing; it's for my Top Secret Clearance that I need for my job in the Comm Center. We just have a security violation every time I have to handle a top-secret message. We were all amused by the "disclosure" of our presence in Laos. Of course, it came as a complete surprise that we conduct bombing missions into Laos and Cambodia.
I'll write Neil another letter tonight, and I should write back to my cousin in the 101st Airborne. Also, I'll have to drop Jackie a line.
Sorry I haven't been writing more. My only excuse is that these thirteen-hour watches take all desire out of reading or writing. My eyes feel like they are popping out of my head after proofreading all night.
Our air conditioner is functioning poorly, so we have to rely primarily on our fans. Also, there are only a few radio stations and my cassette player isn't working. Obviously, war is hell. Constant combat is wearing me down.
Must get the other letters written and get back to work.
Well, I don't know exactly what is going on. It appears that I will now be going back on the airplane and will be in the States by 1 July. If I am released, I think I will take my time coming home and perhaps hitchhike or ride a motorcycle. I'd like to stop in Las Vegas, Denver and South Dakota. I'll be sure to give you a call when I get to the States. If I do get my release, I will have to spend several days at Pendleton. If I don't get my release I'll probably fly home via South Dakota and then go to Quantico after a few days in Chi.
I'm going to Okinawa for a few days to pick up the Company's baggage. It should be a fun trip.
Now I'm sitting in my jeep waiting for one of my SNCO's to come out of Sick Bay. It's 0840 on the 13th. I am driving up Hill 327, 244, Marble Mt.
I am back…sending letter on 14 May.
Having absolutely nothing to do, I thought I might as well write again. The word changes daily. Now I am flying home around 27 June and am not going to Okinawa to pick up baggage. On the 15th of this month I will sit on a Court Martial, General Type, which means a major crime such as murder, rape or hating the Marine Corps has been committed.
Nothing much else is happening that is exciting. I'm still not doing anything worthwhile, and I'm ready to come home.
I did buy a small bronze-ware set, a hand carved Marine emblem, two tables and a hand carved three-tiered Lazy Susan. It's monkey pod wood from the Philippines. I wish that I could find one of those large hand carved tables, but apparently these can only be obtained in the Philippines.
My new quarters are right on a beach. However, the water is an inland lagoon where swimming is not advisable. The sand is white, and it's a very pretty place. I've been running every noon, and it is really hot.
27 May 70
I'm finally getting around to writing another letter. It's 3:00 in the afternoon here and raining outside. War is really hell now, as we removed our air conditioner yesterday and it's sweltering. I received your letter with the check and also the one where you said you received the gear I sent. I can't imagine why they should bill you that much for those clothes. I spent a shade over $200 on the clothes, which I don't think is too bad, considering everything was tailor-made.
As you can see by the orders this letter is written on, I'm going to Okinawa for approximately 15 days. It seems I have to go to a school to learn how to write a battalion or regimental landing team communication plan. Really tough. I'll try to get your typewriter over there.
I'm going to mail a cassette to you the same day I mail this letter. We will see if the cassette arrives at the same time as the letter. We can mail the cassettes free. As I said, I'll be sending Neil a cassette player so that you can send sound letters on a "round robin" basis. I think this will work better than the tapes that you used to send the relatives as the cassettes are easier to handle and come in their own mailers.
To heck with writing. I'm going to say the rest of the letter on the cassette. My speech may be lacking, but it can't be half as bad as my typing.
27 Oct 70
27 Oct 70
I am writing this letter by the light from the hole in my roof. We had a typhoon here that blew off the roofs of most of the buildings. It was really impressive. I was with my radio crew, and every time more of the roof fell, we ran into the radio vans. Luckily no one was hurt, but we have to evacuate most of the hill. Two of our buildings were almost completely wrecked. We will move most of the Squadron down the hill. My office will be below, but my radio shop with the radios for the DASC will remain here, so I will be doing a lot of back and forth traveling. Everyone on the hill will be commuting up and down. It will be a hassle.
A few more words on the typhoon. It tore down every one of my antennas, wrecked all my wire comm, and soaked down most of my radios. It picked up a large porch, carried it over a building and set it down on the other side. It sent tin flying around which bent metal poles. It drove a small metal rod through a sandbag. My own booth kept over half a roof, but the wind pushed the hootch off its supports, and the building moved four feet. I'm still living in my end of the building. The wind blew a metal cage weighing 600 pounds, with no surface to catch the wind, over the hill. Luckily, we have plenty of bunkers, so everyone got shelter. Winds were only 65 knots in Danang but, of course, the winds are much higher at 1,000 feet. We were the only place destroyed this badly.
Getting short. I figure I should be home in between 44 to 56 days. GREAT!!!
I talked to LCpl. Needham three days ago. He's nearby. His unit guards positions all around our hill. I haven't seen Hwang in some time. No where to put him...no hootches. Gotta go.
9 Nov 70
Our Squadron is almost completely moved off the hill. Just a few diehards left. The clubs and mess halls close tomorrow. We will live at Group down in the lowlands.
Two days ago one of my men locked and loaded his rifle on a man at the DASC. Yesterday my black-bearded Corporal locked, loaded and fired his 45 into the air to emphasize to two of my other men that they should hit the rack. The Colonel has decided to secure the war and have the troops turn in their weapons. It's plain to see that the war is dying out. Most of 1st MAW and the Air Force do not have weapons. Weapons will be kept for those on the hill.
LESS THAN ONE MONTH! I'll be coming home. Outstanding!
I figured that the Marine Corps are probably in the top twenty as far as the biggest armed forces in the world and have probably one of the 10 largest air forces. The Army is cutting back to 850,000 while the Marine Corps will go to 200,000 men.
I suppose I should attempt to enroll in school when I come home this month. I guess I'll go to U of I. I don't really have any idea where to go. I would prefer to go to a place where I could get some credit on a test. If I do go to school, I guess I'll have to stay until I get a degree. Otherwise, I'll become a dropout.
I'll send you my title, but if you don't intend to drive the car when I leave, perhaps it ought to just sit. I can rent a car for 10 days.
Give me a hint for Christmas presents. I've purchased some already. I still haven't been able to get that electric typewriter, but I will get it eventually.
The engineers are supposed to build a beautiful new shop. They have kept us waiting for two weeks. I wonder if Dad's engineers were that slow.
Tomorrow is the Marine Corps' birthday. Big, gala celebration. One hundred ninety five years of tradition, unhampered by progress.
COMING HOME SOON!
12 Nov 70
12 Nov 70
I'll write a little more since I didn't mail the last letter promptly. Almost everyone is off the hill now, so the clubs, mess halls and water have been shut off. I'll probably move down in a few days.
I received a few of your letters and sure hope Neil starts feeling better soon. I enjoy the local column that you have been sending.
The engineers haven't started building our new shop as yet. I sure wish they would get started. I can't find my car title. I fear it may be a typhoon loss. I can just as easily rent a car if a duplicate title can't be dredged up.
I'll get my passport next week. I need your recommendations on a school. I suppose I could shoot for a name school like Harvard, but I wouldn't want studying to interfere with my education.
If you see the woman who bought my old car, find out if they are interested in selling it and at what price. I think I'll need another old machine for college. Right now I'm thinking of political science, journalism or the likes for a college major. I'm amazed that I can be 23 and have seen the world and yet still don't now what I want to be when I grow up. The only consistent ambition that I've had was to be President of the United States. Oh well… Gotta go.
I finally made it over to Division on 1 Feb 71. On 30 Jan Division told me I would have a Battalion in the Que Son Mountains. However, I am now serving as Assistant OIC of Division Comm Center. I am super unhappy. However, I will make the best of it. This Comm Center only handles one-sixth of the traffic 1st MHW Comm Center handled, so the workload is much lighter. For some reason, it takes about four more troops to run this Center than it took at Wing. I'm afraid that I may get stuck as OIC in March when various units begin pulling out. It's a thankless job, punctuated with frequent counseling discussions with various Colonels and Generals. Perhaps I'll get something gung-ho after a while, but it appears doubtful. It may be that I'll pull back to Okinawa in March. I should have stayed with Wing and gone to Japan.
I've been accepted to the Circle (campus) for September 71. I guess I'll submit a form to Headquarters, MC for release, either then or on 18 July, which is any new return date. I guess I'll wait a couple of months and see where I am before applying. If I can get out, I won't take leave and will be paid for it. If I can't get out, I won't go to school until spring (January) and will take 30 days circuitous travel, meaning military hops back to Conus. I would like to see Africa, South America and more of Europe.
Well, who knows? I've got three letters from my former outfits here that saying that I almost walked on water. After this Comm Center job, I may be lucky to stay out of jail.
Everybody be good. Army is not better, Scott. Play on, Anne.
Get motivated, Neil.
21 Feb 71
21 Feb 71
Received several letters from you and also received a nice one from Grandma H. I've got to start writing more.
I think I told you about the investigation I ran on the one man who cut the other with his bayonet. Well, in an unrelated incident, I taught a class on the Uniform Code of Military Justice yesterday. My attention gainer was to call the class sharply to attention, savagely chew out one of the Marines and accuse him of being a "pot smoker" and a disgrace to the Marine Corps. Next, I planned on calling on the first Sergeant, who wasn't there, so I called on the only man I knew by name---the man with the bayonet. I instructed him to take the "pot smoker" behind the Company Office and shoot him. I then gave the men at ease and proceeded to tell them how this could never happen in the U.S. Armed Forces because of the U.C.M.J. One of the men called my attention to the fact that the "pot smoker" and my erstwhile knife fighter were almost behind the Company Office. Having grisly visions of my court martial, I quickly called them back. Not so funny if I became as famous as Lieutenant Calley did.
I may still have to pay $416 for that piece of test gear I lost, but I'm not sure yet.
I am still Assistant Officer in charge of the Comm Center. Everybody has good laughs at my expense. Recently, "Clutch," the duty driver, called up and asked to speak to the Captain. I told him that the Captain was gone. He then said, "Well, then I guess no one is there, huh, Sir?" I replied that yes, a few of us were there. The civilian tech reps have started "Ask the AOIC a question" periods. One of the Comm Watch Officers started a "Get to know your AOIC" project. He thinks of things for me to do. He wants me to be "part of the team." All of this is quite humorous.
Actually, I have been rewriting the Comm Center SOP's. I had every man write his Standard Operating Procedure. I took out old SOP and collated everything into one, up-to-date SOP. Some of these troopers write in an amazing fashion. A few of them made absolutely no sense in their writing, although they perform difficult paperwork jobs well.
In a few days I get a new job coordinating our Company with the Comm Company at FLC. What is happening is, our headquarters is dissolving and heading home. The two Companies are combining with each other and sending short-timers home. We don't know as yet where the Marine Amphibious Brigade Headquarters will be, so planning is difficult. If the heavies would quite dragging their feet, we could start a good plan in action. Actually, I think that one headquarters group, either Wing, Division or FLC should remain in tact and run the MHB. But instead, we must combine, rewire and move everyone around. It will be a massive mill drill. When I'm President, I'll change all this.
I need advice from the "Old Man." Question:
1. Should I try to get out for school this fall?
2. Should I serve until I get out on 1 Feb. 72 in the States?
3. Should I extend for six months for duty in Japan (getting out on 1 Feb 72)?
If I take any of these alternatives, should I:
A. Take circuitous travel with 30 days leave and come back through Europe?
B. Just save the 30 days leave, which is worth about $800?
I will have about $5,000 saved when I come home, not counting bonds, as leave pay if I don't take leave. I now make $780 base, $100 for housing and $50 for chow. Suddenly, I'm making respectable money, and I'm having trouble deciding whether to get out. Actually, I would be much wiser to stay in, get two years' worth of credit doing night work and then the Military sends you for the last two years of school on full pay. Graduate school is par for the course, and I could retire at age 38. Actually, I'm fairly sure that with a bachelor's degree, four years from now I wouldn't be financially as well off as I am right now.
NEED ADVICE. I would like to consider a super school like Berkeley or Harvard. I'm also interested in South Dakota and would like to know if they give credit for being a Commissioned Officer, or have higher college level GED tests. I can hardly bear to be a freshman.
NEED ADVICE. I would like to consider a super school like Berkeley or Harvard. I'm also interested in South Dakota and would like to know if they give credit for being a Commissioned Officer, or have higher college level GED tests. I can hardly bear to be a freshman.
Much love to all…Craig
Well, I'm out of the Comm Center. I'm now working on an investigation on a crypto key list that the Commanding General found on his landing zone. Members of our radio platoon had lost it. My primary duty is to liaison between out Comm Company and Comm Support Company at FLC. The two units are to combine in a month and a lot of coordination will be necessary. I am also the Fire Marshal, Awards Officer and Grand Safety Officer.
I may be getting out of Nam in April. I don't really care if I go or stay, but I guess I'd prefer to go. I'd probably end up in Okinawa until July.
I came to Division to do something gung-ho. Now MASS-3 has moved an ASRT to the Laotian border and I am in Danang. It's very frustrating. I feel kind of bad about being here now. The 4-1/2 months I have left seem like a long time. Oh well, this is what I asked for.
Still don't know what to do about school, getting out, etc.
I just received your letter, and it really sounds like Neil is depressed and that he wants to go off on his own. I always told him he and I would try to get something going when I got out of the Marines, so here's the pitch. Let's try to get me enrolled at Brookings, and I'll really make a good pitch for getting out. I figure the best thing to do would be try to rent or buy a few acres with an old, cheap house on it, somewhere within 20 miles of Brookings. Neil and I can figure something out. Perhaps we could raise chickens or something. I think a real estate agent could find us a "good buy" in the area. I definitely think a place in the boondocks, with no mean neighbors, is required. We would probably get an old horse and a cow and really go to town.
Actually, the more I think of this, the better it sounds. If dear, sainted Mother gets hot we may be able to get something going.
I am now Operations Officer of the Company and am keeping pretty busy. It's a Captain's billet, and I must take calls from all the "heavies" concerning failure of the Division's wire, radios or radio relay failures. Then I must correct the problem. Interesting.
I'm ready to come home. I figure to get out in July with about $6,000 saved. That should be enough to go to school and to raise chickens with Neil. I think that this would be good for him and would boost his ego by making him feel worthwhile. It will be good for me too, as I'll have a quiet place to study. I think we would both be better off away from the Big City with its speed, violence, pollution and callousness. Perhaps we can coordinate my coming home and getting out with your vacation to South Dakota. We ought to be able to find a place to rent or buy near Brookings for Neil and me. It wouldn't need much land at all---just a few acres. An old house would be good, or we could buy a trailer or build a cabin. It wouldn't have to be too sophisticated. It should have a swimming hole and be some distance from neighbors. I envision a few dozen chickens and a horse. My super-inventive mind will think of ways for Neil and me to keep occupied after school.
I really think this might be the answer. Respond soon.
I understand that you are off on your own now. I'm really trying hard to get out of the service by this summer. I've changed my mind about going to the Circle, and figure on going to school where Mom and Dad went to school. I kind of hope to rent or buy a small farm outside of Brookings and maybe raise chickens. Since I'll be at school most of the time, I figure I'll need a partner I can trust. How about it, big brother? I've got Mom and Dad working on the project. If you agree, how about dropping me a line. Start thinking about some money-making ideas that will work, and start saving your money. Figure that I will get out in July, and we should be moved in to South Dakota by August. That's only four or five months away, so get hot. I figure that you and I can farm for the next three or four years.
I guess it's letter writing time again. A lot of troops are complaining that they are not receiving their mail. Perhaps the letters you are sending are not all arriving here.
I'm going to try to go to Australia on the 30th of March. That would be a seven- day trip. I rate the R and R but may not get on the airplane, as I am going standby. However, my arrival date in "country" is so senior that I will probably get on the plane. I'll write again soon so that you will know whether I made it or not.
I finally received that letter that you had sent to Israel. Those brown tablets are malaria pills, which I did not take with me as I was due to be back in Vietnam.
I've got my discharge application with the letter from the Circle. If it is disapproved, I will be going back to Quantico. I don't know what I will do there; perhaps I can go to school or teach at the Basic School. If that happens, it won't be so bad, as I'll get out on the 1st of February and can come home often. I don't wish to take much more leave since I will get paid for it when I get out; and so, I will probably just stop by for a few days when I do come home. Everything is up in the air right now, although I will probably leave Vietnam in mid-June. I may have to sail to Hawaii aboard a ship, or I may fly straight home. At any rate, I will be in the States by 18 July, unless I find that I can't get out and decide to extend for Japan. But I don't guess that I will do that. If I do have to go to Quantico, I will get an apartment and Neil can come to live with me for a while. I'll send you a couple of hundred bucks and you can have a shop fix up the Barracuda---that is, if it's still any good. I'd like to get the front end bumped out and have the whole thing painted the same color. I can see to new tires, etc., when I get back. I don't figure to put a huge amount of money into the beast.
I sure hope they will let me out. I am definitely ready. If I don't get accepted at South Dakota, I may have to go to the Circle. Neil and I could still get a pad in Chicago.
Peace, Love and Fire Superiority…Craig
5 Jan 71
5 Jan 71
From Tel Aviv, Israel
I'm back in Tel Aviv after two days in Eliat. I'm leaving for India tomorrow (I think). Tomorrow afternoon I go to the airport to find out about trading in the ticket. If I can't trade it, I'll leave for someplace in Europe on Sunday and continue on to the States on Monday. I guess you'll know which way I went by the time you get this letter, as I'll either be home or in India or Vietnam.
It's been an interesting trip. The night before last I spent the evening with a retired Marine Lt. Colonel and three Israeli lieutenants discussing almost everything. I had been depressed at my inability to find any Israeli girls, but found out the home grown lieutenants were having their problems also. The retired Colonel had long hair, especially around his ears. I think he must be trying to recapture his youth. He was an interesting character, though, still doing developmental work on weapons for the Marine Corps. It seems we are to buy a 60-mm mortar from the Israelis that, he says, is far superior to our own.
The country looks something like Arizona or California, but usually much rougher. I think there are more rocks per acre here than anywhere I've ever been. They now manage to grow most of their needs. The strip along the coast seems to be moist enough to support forests and fields, while further inland everything is irrigated. I don't know where they get their water, but they don't ration it at any place I've been. Compare that to our water hours in the States.
The people generally aren't too terribly friendly. It seems they have a chip on their shoulders from World War II. They all seem to be somewhat prejudiced, I think, even against other groups in Israel. The people here don't look like your stereotypical image of Jews, as they are of all complexion types and hair shades. There are even some black Jews from Africa.
Getting late…must do the town.
14 Mar 71
14 Mar 71
I hope everything is going OK. I received a letter from you yesterday. It's the one that you sent to the Embassy in Israel. It had been kicking around all over the world.
Pam Kerb's class has been sending letters to all the troops whose names I sent to you. I didn't tell anyone what I had done, so there was some mystery when everyone started receiving letters from 5th graders from Chicago. I was found out, and I think most of them got a kick out of the kids' letters. I don't know how many of them will write back; however, several of them wanted to write to Pam. I didn't give any of them her address.
I hope you've done something about South Dakota. I guess I should really do it from this end, but if you have already started the application proceedings, I guess that we should continue to march in that direction. If you haven't done anything yet, don't. Just let me know the addresses, and I will get hot. I guess my test scores are still on file there, but I'm not sure. I've got my letter for discharge roughed out, and I'll submit it shortly. I can't remember the format for a business letter. I guess I could write it in a military format, but generally that is done when a letter comes from a command. I am confident that I can get out, at least by September, as the Marine Corps is cutting back a great deal.
I have been sick for a week. It started with what I thought was a bad hangover and developed into something resembling the flu. Eventually it blossomed into a rather startling skin rash. After the skin rash went away, all my leg and ankle joints were very sore. It was very remarkable. Actually, I think the skin rash was a reaction to the medicine I was taking for the flu. At any rate, I am now back in fair-to-middlin' health.
This week I am wearing two hats. I am serving as Operations Officer and XO. This is somewhat awkward, as two of the platoon commanders are Captains. They're the good guys, so it is actually no problem. This Company is larger than MASS-3, which was the air wings equivalent to a battalion.
Hope Neil got my letter and has cheered up. If all goes well, it shouldn't be too long before we are in some kind of setup near Brookings. I've been wracking my brains for a good business we could set up. A roadside stand would be excellent in the summer, although the interstate would seem to preclude this. I would be afraid To get into livestock feeding. People like us, with no experience could go bust on a venture like that. Chicken raising on a limited scale might possibly work. Actually, I suppose we don't have to make much money on our endeavors if we get a very small place (rented), as I'll have the GI bill. I would like to think up something very clever and original, but after over four years of the military, I find that my brain-housing group has wilted. Perhaps a campground. A western town. An eastern town. A gay 90's town. A ghost town. An amusement park. A miniature dude ranch (something along the lines of a reasonable motel set in the atmosphere of a ranch). A perfume factory. Tell Neil to think up some schemes.
I just scanned the letter and discovered that I sound like an illiterate. I guess that I'll have to slow down and learn to try to think as slowly as I type. I'd hate to think that my typing is a reflection of my thought processes.
I am now set to go into Comm Support Company about the middle of April. I am scheduled to become the Assistant Radio/Radio Relay Officer. That is disgusting and should be easy, except for one factor. I am also slated to be Embark Officer. I know nothing of embark, a job skill that calls for the person filling the billet to be trained in a month-long school. I'll have to compute weights, cubes and sizes of all gear and decide how best to load this gear in a ship. Then I'll supervise the loading and the unloading. It looks like I'll be going to Hawaii with the ship; but, of course, everything is subject to change at a moment's notice. I'm slated to get out of here in the middle of June. I have to be back in the States by 18 July. I have high hopes of getting out shortly thereafter or at least by September.
That's all folks…Craig
EXCERPT FROM ACTUAL REPORT
Personnel on operation observed 2 enemy moving into a cave. Enemy wearing dark shorts and shirts. 2 rifles of unknown type. Engaged enemy with 8-60mm, 30-81mm,15-105's and fixed wing strike of 12-1,000 lb. bombs with excellent coverage of target.
8 April 1971
8 April 1971
Had an outstanding time in Australia. I left Vietnam on the 30th of March and got down to Sidney 10 hours later, after stopping in Darwin for one hour. I spent three days in Sidney meeting the local girls and seeing the sights. I spent one day on a fifty-foot sloop and sailed around the bay and a little way into the ocean. I guess I don't really need to sail around the world in a small boat. A boy and girl and an old yachtsman ran the craft. The girl was from Bermuda and had worked on yachts to reach Australia. The boy had done the same thing, except that he had come from the other direction.
After three days of terrorizing Sidney, I decided to see something different, so I took the same trip Jimmy took and ended up in the town of Cowra, a community of about 8,000 people, 200 miles straight west of Sidney. I stayed at a 2,500-acre property, 22 miles northwest of Cowra. The home of the people I stayed with was quite ornate. The land looked very little like South Dakota, for it was scattered with eucalyptus trees and gum trees. Apparently, the weather is usually very moderate and does not get too hot or seldom snows. It rains over 20-inches a year, and, judging from the number of stock raised, it apparently supports a lot more stock per acre (than South Dakota farms). The people I stayed with didn't farm much but took me to an irrigated farm with modern machinery. All machinery and cars that are imported are very expensive. A Mustang would cost over $12,000. They produce three cars in Australia: a Valiant, a Falcon, and a Holden, which is a Chevy II. These cars are better built than ours, but cost a good deal more. Of course, Australians drive on the left-hand side of the road.
The town seemed a great deal better off than a comparative American town. I suppose the land holdings are a great deal larger here than in the States. The people are quite friendly and, of course, their manner of speaking sounds quite quaint and friendly to an American. The fellow I stayed with raised Merino sheep and Hereford cattle. Oh, and I saw four kangaroo hopping around on the ranch.
I also saw the Sidney Easter Show, which is actually a giant stock and farm show. It was huge and was something like a county fair. I saw the opening night and heard Prince Philip speak while 1,000 horses were on the parade grounds. Afterwards, I saw a most impressive fireworks display, which made me want to take cover. A polo match then took place, which was quite interesting.
I later took a girl who worked at the hotel to dinner. She came from England a few months ago on a chartered bus trip from England to Nepal. The trip took three months and cost 240 pounds. I really had a good time since we were both interested in travel.
It's amazing how much beer these Australians drink.
I got back to Sidney for one last night on the town before returning to good old Vietnam. Really great to get back! Must go to work. I am now Ops Officer and XO of the Company.
PS: Be sure to send all future correspondence to the address on the envelope as any mail to the old address arriving after the 15th of this month will be sent to California.
17 April 71
I'm finishing up as Ops and XO of Comm Company, and I'm getting ready to be Assistant Radio/Radio Relay Officer as well as Embark. As Embark, I'll have to prepare Company for going home and load the ships. Since I'm not trained for the job, it may be interesting.
No news. Be sure to list my new address on my mail or else it will go to California:
Lt. C. Hullinger
Comm Support Company, 3rd MAB
FPO, S.F., Calif. 96602
We're having a floor show and party. I collected money to give the outgoing Officers some presents. I finally received another ribbon to wear on my left pocket. It's an Air Force award for 1st MAW. Now I have four (awards) so I'll look a little more like a hero now.
We're having a floor show and party. I collected money to give the outgoing Officers some presents. I finally received another ribbon to wear on my left pocket. It's an Air Force award for 1st MAW. Now I have four (awards) so I'll look a little more like a hero now.
I'm ready to come home. Enough of Vietnam. Right now it appears that I'll get home around the 1st of June, but I'm not sure yet. I told you I have orders to Quantico, but I could probably extend for Hawaii, as my new unit will depart for Hawaii in June. Of course, I'm still waiting for word on my request for discharge when I get back. So I have three options with the circuitous travel as a kicker. Oh well, another month will tell.
I hope Pete doesn't have to come here. I guess I should write Randy and find out where he is. He might be up here. If you see his folks, ask them where he is.
I wonder how long the Circle will wait for me. I should know where I stand for discharge in a month, but perhaps that will be too late for them.
22 April 71
It is about 1330 in the afternoon, and since I am now typing this letter, you can infer that I am not working very hard. I am now filling the billet of Assistant Radio/Radio Relay Officer. My brief shot at a higher position died when Comm Company left. The last ship from Comm Company leaves the 25th of this month.
The Marine Corps just came out with a mandatory 3-month cut for all reserve officers, so I will now get out by (at least) 1 Nov 71. It would seem to me that they would not let me out in July for sure. Of course, that would be common sense, so I can't tell if it will happen. They move so slowly that I probably won't know if I will be getting out until just before I get home. Things do look pretty good for getting out, though, and I am planning on it for right now. I never received that second letter you said came from Chicago Circle. If you still have it, go ahead and pay the $25. I never received a reply from South Dakota, so I guess I'll have to give up on them. Nothing says I will stay at Chicago Circle for the full four years.
If I don't buy any stereo gear while I'm over here, I will have $7,500 when I get out. It would seem that there would be something wise I could do with that money. That Daily News article didn't interest me too much. I don't think I'm cut out to be an entrepreneur. I do want to buy a motorcycle. Around the first of June I would like you to dig the auto out of storage and have someone check it out… I would like it ready to go when I get home. Keep the bills so that I can reimburse you for the work.
Dear Sainted Mother…if you have some spare time, I would like you to call the local Honda dealer and ask for their prices on their 350, 450 and 750 models. These are pronounced: three-fifty, four-fifty, etc., and refer to the cubic centimeter (cc) displacement of the engine. I'd like to get an idea of what these animals cost in the States to decide if I should buy one I Okinawa and ship it home. If the savings are not too much, I won't bother.
As I read back on my letters I realize that I am amazingly illiterate. I don't seem to write too poorly when I write end-of-tour awards and meritorious promotions, but as soon as I begin to write a letter home, my grammar, spelling and typing fall apart. I suppose that part of the reason is because I tend to write very quickly when writing home. One of the courses that the Marine Corps insists that its temporary officers take is English grammar. Of course, military citations are generally unbelievably verbose. The letter utilizing the most superlatives invariably gets the most attention. I wrote a meritorious promotion today. I was given the facts and I expanded it into praise and adulation. I will also enclose a little thing I wrote satirizing a piece of military writing. Most of the words used were taken from the my letter of endorsement.
Peace and love…Craig
It seems like it has been a long time since I've heard from you. I suppose that's because I'm so bored with this job. Right now we are waiting around to see if a typhoon will hit. If it comes, we should feel the full effects in about one hour. At this moment it's very calm, and it doesn't appear that anything will happen.
I enjoyed talking to Dad the other day. The military radio station called the office and asked if anyone would want to call home. I said, "Yes," before I considered how late it would be in Chicago. I couldn't understand Dad most of the time, but I think he understood me.
The latest scoop on coming home is that I will be taking a defunct unit home for deactivation. The unit is 5th Comm Battalion, and while they have been gone for almost a year, they never officially left Vietnam. Taking the unit home would be a fitting end to my Marine Corps career.
I guess I told you that I must get out of the Marine Corps by the 1st of November and will probably get out some time for school. I still haven't got any official word on release, however. I may fly home or boat home, but I won't be stopping in Hawaii for duty.
Have you found out anything about motorcycles or apartments yet? If not, get hot. I am enclosing a check which you can bank. Please take out the necessary cash to fix up my car and get plates and sticker, if possible. I will write my insurance company and get them to insure the thing on the 1st of July providing it hasn't died. Let me know whether it still works so I will know whether I must buy a new car or not.
If I get released in Pendleton, California in July, I may ride a motorcycle or hitchhike home. I'd like to see the country in a somewhat leisurely fashion. If they have work in South Dakota, I may work for a few weeks. I'd like to get to Chicago in August so that I'll have several weeks free before starting school.
We will be moving our location as soon as it stops raining. We will be moving to the old 1st Radio Battalion at FLC (Force Logistic Command). David D. should be familiar with that area, as he was stationed there most of his career. It's north of Danang and near the beach. A very secure area. The Army is taking over this compound.
The typhoon hasn't arrived yet. I guess it won't come.
Peace and love and fire superiority…Craig
7 May 71
7 May 71
What's happening? Nothing happening on this side of the world. That's why I'm sitting here writing letters.
I have gotten the word. I will be coming home via ship as detachment OIC. We leave the 26th of June and will stop for a few days in Hawaii. I should get home in the middle of July. If I get discharged from Pendleton, I should be home in late July or early August. If not, I'll fly straight home and continue on to Quantico.
As Assistant Radio/Radio Relay Platoon Commander, I am doing absolutely nothing. It's embarrassing. I should be getting socked with a few investigations to keep me busy. I have a radio jeep, so I spend a good deal of time driving around to the various sites.
Danang is now open for liberty. I am really anxious to taste the delights this center of enlightenment has to offer. Eighteen months in Nam and I don't have any idea what it's like.
I haven't been receiving any mail to speak of. I imagine some of it has been misrouted. Let me know if you received my last check. Since I won't be home until late July, there is no rush on the car.
20 May 71
20 May 71
Nothing much going on. As of today I have one month left in the Nam, three or four days in Oki, then home. Still no word on getting out. It does appear that I can get out for sure in September for school.
Danang is now open for liberty. I haven't been there yet, but I'll go soon and check out the sights. Good God, but I'm bored. I really haven't done very much since I've gotten back.
Did you ever receive my $1,000 check? I'd like you to get the car fixed with part of the money.
I'm being put in for a Bronze Star for end-of-tour award. All the letters I have from different outfits read pretty well. It's pretty unusual for a Marine to get a non-combat, good-guy Bronze Star, so if I get it, it will be quite an honor. It may get kicked down to a Navy Achievement Medal. Most Marines think of a Bronze Star as being a hero award, so there is a certain amount of distaste in awarding a Bronze Star for a good-guy award. The Army gives them away; Cousin said if he didn't get into trouble, he would get a Bronze Star.
Well, I'm ready to get out. Enough of this Marine foolishness. Most of the career officers are trying to get me to stay in. No way!
Hope everything is fine with you. I haven't been receiving much mail, so I wanted to remind you to be sure to use the right address; otherwise, the mail will probably go back to California. I haven't been keeping too busy. In fact, I've been taking it pretty easy.
Still don't know when I'm coming home; it now appears that I will go with the Company to Hawaii for a few weeks and be home and probably out in July. The Marine Amphibious Brigade Hq. (MAB) sent a message out saying that I was already in California. I informed them of their error. Perhaps I will get orders sooner than expected.
Since it appears that I will be getting into school this fall at the Circle, perhaps you can get a line on apartments in the area. I figure we ought to get it big enough for Neil and me, and we can try to make a go of "batching" it in the big city. Of course, we would be close enough for some home based logistic support. I imagine that I will go the sweat shirt and blue jeans route. You might send ads on apartments in the area so I can gauge the price range. I'll have the GI Bill and the weekend warrior money which, together, will amount to about $275 a month, so I should be able to go up to $150 for an apartment without much trouble. I suppose a 1-1/2 mile radius from the campus would be ideal so I won't have commuting problems. I figure to keep the car and, perhaps, buy a motorcycle. I suppose the motorcycle would have to stay in Mt. Greenwood to preclude its loss. The more I think about Chicago, the more I think that perhaps I will transfer after a semester or two. Of course, all these plans are predicated on my release, which may not come about.
If I do get out in July, I'm not sure what I'll do until school starts. Perhaps I'll just "bum around," or perhaps I'll work in South Dakota. Although I can't get really excited about working 15 hours a day for a few hundred dollars a month. I should have about $7,500 saved when I get out.
I'd better get ready to go over to the afternoon meeting. Peace, love and fire superiority.
I believe you are now in South Dakota, so I will address this letter to all the relatives. I'm having a great time, wish you were here. I've got duty tonight, so I should be able to write a lengthy letter. I'm a little tired, so my normally bad punctuation and typing should be especially terrible.
The sentry on one of my posts just shot at a wildcat. He asked me earlier if he could shoot it; but, of course, my answer was negative since you can only shoot at the enemy. I told him that next time he could shoot and tell me he fired at movement so that we could obey the rules. He missed.
I've been working hard and getting into trouble. Two nights ago the movie projector went down at the Enlisted Club and, since I have the additional job of Special Services Officer, I took the Staff Club projector down to the "E" club. I was waiting for my sergeant to set the projector up and leave when a fight broke out. I ignored it, figuring that the sergeants who were managing the club would break it up. However, the people who were breaking up the fight quickly turned the fight into a rather spirited free-for-all. Calling upon my considerable experience as "riot preventer," I pulled some of them apart and got my NCO's to throw out the principal instigators. My troops were well represented in the fight. I kept one of my corporals from braining one of my sergeants with a chair.
One of my sergeants ended up with three stitches in his brain-housing group, but all in all, it was just good clean Marine recreation and relaxation. However, I cut my knuckles slightly and the word quickly got around that I hit a few people in putting a stop to the fight. This isn't true, but the "heavies" think I am a true leader for decisively stopping the brawl. They also think I instigated it, but you can't win them all.
One of my sergeants ended up with three stitches in his brain-housing group, but all in all, it was just good clean Marine recreation and relaxation. However, I cut my knuckles slightly and the word quickly got around that I hit a few people in putting a stop to the fight. This isn't true, but the "heavies" think I am a true leader for decisively stopping the brawl. They also think I instigated it, but you can't win them all.
I've been taking a few pictures; hope to mail them to you in South Dakota. I think you would be interested in the livestock and farming methods of the locals. As I told you, I put my extension in; however, we are leaving even sooner than anticipated and I may be home shortly, although right now it's impossible to say.
Actually, things are pretty peaceful around here. I spend a lot of time writing up awards and keeping communications up and running. I'm signed for a couple of million dollars worth of radio and special services gear, so I'm hoping nothing will be lost. That would ruin my whole day. I told you that I could look off the Hill and see the base camp where Jack Needham is. I called him, but I guess that he was on operation, as he hasn't called back yet. I should manage to see him one of these days, if we don't pull out soon.
As I said when I started the letter, I'm pretty tired, as you can see by my typing. I suppose I'd better get back to checking my posts. Incidentally, I don't mean to give the impression that this is much of a combat zone. I've never fired a shot in anger. We've got most of a Marine division and two ARVN divisions between us and the bad guys, and this place is well guarded (if I can keep the guards awake). Guess I'll quit and go back to my baby-sitting job.
Since I am writing a letter, you can probably guess that I have the duty. It is approximately 0150 in the morning, and time is starting to drag. I should have begun this letter with, "And then the rains came." It rained most of the day and half the night. It isn't much fun walking around the Hill in pouring rain, checking posts…especially since I had duty the night before last and only took duty tonight because my gunnery sergeant had to go to Chu Lai...especially since I don't have anyone in the Combat Operations Center who can drive the personnel carrier and so I have to run most of the errands myself…especially since the truck has a flat. Oh well…war is hell.
I'm getting anxious to get home. I'm getting short, which means that it's getting close to the time for me to return home. I have to be in CONUS (Continental U.S.) no later than 14 December. Since today is 27 September, I figure I have 78 days left in the sorry land of Vietnam. Of course, with my extension, I may not go home right on 14 December. My leave is scheduled to start between 10 and 20 December, so I'll be home for Christmas, in any case. I figure to spend a few days in South Dakota, then home for the holidays and then to Europe for a time…that is, if I don't tire of Vietnam and cancel my extension.
I hope Neil, Anne and Scott are all OK. I enjoy getting letters from them. I saw Hwang Young Nam again. He seems to be doing fine, except that he is anxious to get out of Vietnam. I guess I told you he is now a captain. Nothing much else to say, so I guess I'll quit.
5 June 71
It's noon, and I'm not doing anything. I am now the Platoon Commander of the Radio/Radio Relay Platoon. My ex-boss was relieved (fired). It's a lot more interesting being the boss; but, of course, it's more of a hassle. We are almost finished getting everything ready for going home. I am now scheduled to leave (the) country on 25 June. And I am ready!
Yes, you're new typewriter seems as good as a printed page. I thought at first that you were sending me a newsletter. I apologize for never buying you an electric typewriter. They never had any in the PX's over here.
Have you heard anything from the Circle? I would also like to know if you ever received that $1,000 check. Our mail here has become very erratic. I imagine that some of the letters you've sent have been lost, as it's sometimes three or four weeks between letters. Everyone is complaining that letters and packages they sent have been lost. Don't send letters after the 22nd, as they will probably float around forever.
I need Pete's address. I wrote him a letter that came back. I'm sure that I just wrote the address incorrectly. I should be in the States by the 1st of July. I still don‘t know if I will be getting out or if I'll have to serve the summer somewhere. I will almost certainly get out in September for school. If I am stationed on the West Coast, I won't come home until September, as I want to get paid for the leave. Must run.
Leaving beautiful scenic Vietnam on or about about June 26, 1971. Be home soon as I can.
Craig is about to become a PFC (Proud Flippin Civilian)
Leaving beautiful scenic Vietnam on or about about June 26, 1971. Be home soon as I can.
Craig is about to become a PFC (Proud Flippin Civilian)