Rick Holt's Adventures in Vietnam
Letters Home from Vietnam, 1971

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Da Nang
February 17, 1971
7:45 pm

Dear Folks,

Just saw the movie "The Love Bug" at the Rice Paddy Inn. When I came out the stars were shining bright with clear skies. Hope that's a sign of good weather for tomorrow. Looking forward to another day at China Beach.

You were wondering about the people I've been working with. Well, I don't know all of them real well, but here is a sampling of those guys I know best. First, of course, is Ed Seacord. He's from Kansas City originally but lived in Long Island when he enlisted.  He is in for 3 years and he will never live it down. Then Tom Kelm. He was a business major in college and was working for Kresgees in Milwalkee when he was drafted. His MOS is crypto repairman, but he's a radio operator just like me. And there's Vernon "Swamp rat" Harrelson from Alabama. He's one of the U-21 crew chiefs. The crew chiefs are the mechanics who take care of the planes and refuel them. He says he was a lumberjack and the way he's built I wouldn't doubt it one bit.

And there's Paulson who is an Indian from North Dakota. And there's Duff who will supply our room with  a refrigerator and television which he bought while he was up here. Paulson and Duff are both O5C's. Duff lives in my room back at Long Thanh. Paulson is from some other unit in 1st Signal Brigade. There are others but I don't know that much about them. A couple of them are from Florida. We've got two soul brother's here too. One's a radio operator, the other a crew chief.

You might be interested in the 'black cult' the negroes have over here. It's no formal organization or anything but most of the blacks seem to have a sort of 'thing' going. Whenever they pass one another, whether they are walking, driving, eating or anything they hold up their fist and shake it. Sometimes they get together in groups and go through a regular ritual with about ten of them standing in a circle playing patty-cake and snapping their fingers. They do it just about anywhere. In the club I've seen them stand up right in the middle of the room and do it while everyone is trying to watch the band. They do it in the mess hall. Just about anywhere. Every once in a while I see a paper on the door of the Rice Paddy Inn with a note about a meeting of the 'Black Brothers.'  I never did feel prejudiced or anything but right now as far as I'm concerned you can have them, I sure don't want 'em.

So much for now. Keep jogging. Write often. And watch out for little people with slanty eyes.


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