Arnolds Letter Home #9
August 23rd 1966
Hello Bob, Ginny,
I got my first letter from home yesterday from you. I really appreciated it too. Its been getting pretty bad here lately between our guns and there guns going off I sometimes wonder who's who. The Cambodian border is a pretty active place for Viet Cong. The artillery was pouring heavy fire on this place called Hobo Woods and yesterday a bunch of VC gave themselves up cause of no food and no sleep cause of the artillery fire and our infantry always pushing.
The voting over here is in September. That's supposed to change things a lot. If you read anything about it in the paper send the articles to me. Also if you read anything about the 196th Lt. Infantry that will be about me, send those too. I would like to see if they tell the truth about the Cambodian border.
About going to villages, I went once but no more cause they are full of VC. I talked to some people but they can hardly understand English. Tell Jim Machakos thanks for praying for me cause right now there's nothing else I need. I'll try and answer most of your questions, it's better that way cause I can't think of to much to write. I can see plenty of the battle cause I am right in the middle of it day and night. I didn't come by boat, I came by jet. I was part of the advanced party 2 weeks ahead of the boat. When I got here we started getting things ready for when the troops on the boat got here. I didn't have to talk to any GI's who saw action cause I saw it myself soon enough.
The food is getting a little better everyday, no rations, they cook it right here. Most of it is canned but better than rations. The cooks job was taken when the troops from the boat got here. I sleep in a big tent with 19 other guys. We try and keep the area clean. Can't wash to good though cause of the lack of good water. The weather is miserable, if it isn't raining its around 115 to 120 and around December it will be about 135 to 140. There are plenty of mosquitoes and snakes. There's cobras too. A snake about as big as one of our grass snakes can kill you in a few seconds, I don't know the name of it though. I didn't leave my wallet home, it was probably my old one that ma found. Do you think it's wrong for me to shoot someone for my life? I pray that it don't come about but what if it did? I'll have to admit I'm real scared over here. If there's one thing that's gonna make me crack its seeing young kids getting killed. I ask myself for what? I pray every night that I can come home very soon and when I do I'm going straight to a hospital cause I'm getting sick, not physically but in my mind. Don't tell dad or ma though. It will take a while to clear my mind of this place and what has happened here but the sooner I start the better.
Well I've got to close now I have to go to chow. I'll write when I get your letters so I can answer them. I feel real good when I get a letter from you and Bob. Sometimes I think Jesus puts words in your mouth cause you write so good. Thank you very much for writing.