WAR LETTERS: COMBAT - Vietnam War, Okinawa
Letters about combat situations make up the largest section of the project.
Vietnam War, Okinawa
Pat Jasper wrote this letter during the Vietnam War to his friend Ron VanOeveren and his family in Omaha. Ron says he was a close friend of Pat's since early grade school. Ron tells us that:
"Pat was a proud Marine, and ready to serve his country. The letter does not reveal the hardships Pat endured that night, alone on the hill. Pat drowned scuba diving off the coast of Monterey, California, while saving another diver's life."
Dear Mr. and Mrs. VanOeveren, B.J., and Jeff,
Well, I didn't last too long in Vietnam. I was there only a week before I was Med-EVACed out. I'm in a hospital in Okinawa now. Two days after I reported into my outfit, they sent me out on patrol. It was an O.P. 27 miles northwest of Danang. We were supposed to be out for 5 days, but on the fourth night, the V.C. hit us hard. I won't go into all the details of what happened, you might say we got wiped out. Out of the 14 of us on the hill, 8 are dead and 3 of us are in the hospital. I've got a hole in my leg about as big as my fist, plus some small pieces of shrapnel in my foot and my shoulder blade. I feel pretty lucky - when I was on that hill with all those dead Marines around me, I felt like the luckiest person in the world.
I stayed in Danang for two days before they sent me here. A couple of hours before I left, my C.O., 1st Sergeant, and the chopper pilot who got us off the hill came to the Danang hospital to see me. They said I did a real good job on the radio. When we got hit, I guess whoever was monitoring back in the company area went and woke up the 1st Sergeant. So anyway, they gave me my purple heart and promoted me to Corporal.
So I'll be here in the hospital for 5 or 6 weeks, and then I'll go back to 'Nam and try my luck again.
Say hi to Ron and Linda for me, and write when you can.