11-May-67 [Aboard the USS Colleton ABS 36]
Dear Mom & Dad
Well this may sound like a hell of a letter but I am going to
tell you about the operation we just got in off of.
We got one day's rest from the other operation. But we
worked all day cleaning our weapons and getting ready. That night at eleven or twelve we loaded unto our A.T.C's and we pulled out at one or two in the morning not much sleep maybe an hour.
We landed in mud. We walked through mud knee deep. Then the tide came in we walked all day in mud and water. The water was any where from waist deep to over your head then the tide went out and there was the knee deep mud again. We didn't stop until dark. At two o'clock in the morning we woke up floating in water. I was lying on a pile of brush I had made for a bed in the mud I got so sleepy I laid in the water and slept for a while then I stood up the rest of the night. The next morning we went about two hours then we cut an L.Z. and got food & water and new clothes that some of the guys had got torn off. Then they told us we were to be extended for 24 hours. We ate and moved out about one o'clock we got word over the radio that second platoon ran into something. Half of our platoon got across the river when a fire fight opened up a couple of hundred meters in front. The second platoon was firing in our direction and pushing Charlie toward us. We hit the mud. That mud sure felt good. I did not think I could ever get deep enough. And to beat all they called artillery in and they started walking it towards us. We were all scared [scared] shitless. Pieces of shrapnel were hitting all around us. We had to cross the river. Some of the guys nearly drowned. Just as I got to the other side and let go of the rope. Six rounds came whizzing through the air. I dove off the bank back into the water. They hit about forty or fifty meters away. We finally got the artillery off of us. A buddy and I were behind a big tree and every time we would go under the water. One piece hit about three feet away. But we were lucky only one guy was hit and it bounced off a tree and hit his leg. It didn't do much damage to his leg enough for a purple heart. We sat on line in water waist deep for about an hour then we picked up and moved out. I was point I was walking along in waist deep water. All of a sudden I went in over my head. Some body pulled me out. I tell you the honest truth the water is like that for miles. You will be able to see it all on T.V. because both C.B.S (was with B Company) and N.B.C was with us. The news men could not take it and left in a chopper. We sat up that night and about three in the morning the tide came in again. I slept standing up in knee deep water leaning backward against a bunch of bushes. We got supplied by chopper and moved out again. We hit our L.Z. at about two-thirty. We waited there in chest deep water until 4:00am and we were picked up again in the A.T.C's. Just as we got into the boat a chopper spotted some Charlies across the river from us. They told us to put our gear back on we were going after them. Well the Navy opened up with 40 MM guns and grenade launchers. We were all watching when 40 MM (millimeter) rounds started hitting all around our boat. We started fighting for the bottom of the boat. A patrol boat around the bend of the river was shooting at us. Well we hauled ass and got out of their and came on in. The T.V. cameras took pictures of us coming in and cleaning up and eating. We talked with them laughed at them for chickening out and coming in.
I have got sores from my feet to my waist. They look like little boils. Some of the guys can hardly walk.
Well Cooper cut his hand open on a c-ration can and had to be dusted off he got ten stitches in his hand. Well I got the money. I will leave the 14th on R-R- for Japan. I got a letter from Martha
& Joe today. She sent me a article of a cousin in the paper.
Well I guess I will close for now.
O-yes a 2nd Lt was stuck in the mud and his Radio man grabbed his rifle to pull him out and the rifle went off and shot the 2nd Lt through the chest he died stuck in the mud. He was from A Company. I am going to pick Tony Cooper up about 3 or 4 hundred dollars worth of Camera's. He wanted about eight hundred worth of equipment I told him no. I could not get that much.
Well so long for now. By the way please (from now on) send
different little items in those packages like cookies-nabs-just little nick knacks to eat.
I want some Jumbo Pies. (moon pies) and use my money to get them. I ruined my camera & film again. I had to fish it off the bottom of a ten foot deep stream.
Well may the Lord Bless