Rick Holt's Adventures in Vietnam
Letters Home from Vietnam, 1971
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Long Than North
January 30, 1971
Well, I finally made it to my permanent hooch - at least for the time being anyway. I guess you're wondering what I've been doing all this time. It seems like a long time but it's really only been a couple days. I left 90th Replacement Station on Friday morning. We went by truck to 2nd Signal Group headquarters, it was about a five or ten minute drive, still in the area considered Long Binh. The roads we drove on were big blacktop ones, sort of like Merrit Blvd. or some other big highway.
We started processing-in there and it took us till 6:30 pm to get through finance. There were only two of us who actually processed in for the 2nd Signal Group. I came up to the Signal Headquarters with a group of 11. Six of which were 05C's from my class at Gordon. The other 4 guys, 05C's, were assigned to other Signal Battalions after arriving.
We slept in a transient barracks last night at the 2nd Signal Headquarter. Then this morning Ed Seacord and I finished our processing and crypto briefings and at about 3:30 pm we shipped out, by truck again, to the 2nd Signal Group Aviation Detachment at Long Thanh Air Base. About a ten or fifteen mile drive back in the boonies. We didn't actually go through any jungles or anything but we did go through a couple villages along the road.
You wouldn't believe all the traffic on these roads. It's really a riot watching it. Cars and motorbikes trying to run one another off the road. Everybody passing everybody else. And it's really fantastic the number of people these Vietnamese can squeeze into one little car or bike.
I won't be working my MOS of 05C. I'll be in an airplane operating radio relay equipment. It's strictly voice communication and they say it's no more complicated than turning on a television. Looks like I'll be getting flight pay on top of everything else. They still think I'm an E-2 though. I don't have any orders stating I'm actually a PFC, just those PCS orders telling me to report to Ft. Dix. It will probably take forever to get that straightened out. I don't think rank is that hard to come by over here anyway.
Right now I'm living in a room partitioned off in a barracks. All the barracks are partitioned this way. There are six of us in the room. We call the room our hooch or house. We have a house mama who does our wash and keeps the place clean. They call here mamasan. The men - papasan and the kids babysan, of course. They have a swimming pool here and a small PX and an EM club where you can get hamburgers and cokes and things like that. I've got about $150. I got paid yesterday at finance.
Starting to get a good suntan. The weather here hasn't been unbearable. It has been hot but it cools off at night. I don't know a whole lot about the job I'll be doing. I haven't seen the equipment or the type of plane yet.
This is my address now. I don't have a box number yet.. If I get it before I mail this letter I'll put it on the return address. If I don't get it just mail your letters without it until I get one. I'm sure I'll get one.
PFC (or is it Private) Richard V. Holt, Jr.
2nd Signal Group Aviation Detachment
APO, SF 96530
(read the next letter home)