A grunt's-eye view from Bravo Company, 3/60th Infantry in the year of Tet, 1968
I'm happy to say in April 2012, I made contact with other ex-members of B/3/60. They even have reunions! 44 years later, I'm looking forward to meeting new people and reacquainting with old.
This site consists primarily of three sets of letters from the Vietnam War.
Letters Home are letters I wrote to my family from the time of arrival in country, early February, until I left three months later as a casualty.
Diary Letters are the letters sent to my friend Larry, who collected and saved them for me. This is what I really felt and experienced.
Letters from Mac are from Daniel Lee McKechnie. We stood six men apart in the induction line at Oakland. I know this because our 8-digit service numbers were identical up to the last digit. We knew each other casually during Ft. Bliss basic training, but bonded when assigned 11-Bravo (light-weapons infantry) and Ft. Polk, the only two of our small group of basic training buddies guaranteed infantry and Vietnam. Learning a lessen from the induction line, we agreed to stand in all future lines together. Thus, we were assigned the same unit for Advanced Infantry Training at Ft. Polk, and sat together on the long plane ride from Travis to Hawaii to Clark in the Philippines to Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Saigon, where we became separated. A week or so later we both turned up at Bravo Co, 3/60th Infantry. Standing together in lines had worked again. These are the letters Danny (Mac) wrote to me after I was wounded and sent home. He wrote the last letter, November 23, 1968, two days before he died.
"Wounded!" is my personal account of being shot. It was rejected by the Readers Digest First Person editor in the summer of 1970.
"My Last Day in the Field with Mike and New Guy" is a short story based on events covered in the Diary Letter of March 13. Setting and events are mostly true. Characterizations and dialog are more subject to the demands of fiction. I was New Guy in real life, not the narrator. What the narrator observes about New Guy's actions are generally true up to the point where New Guy disappears from his view. In real life, I stayed with the group. Many of the narrator's thoughts and observations were also my own.
Other items include my photo taken by a combat photographer and passed on to me through Danny's mother. Also two lists, one with first names or nicknames of people I knew, and a second list of many who entered Bravo Company within a few days of each other. All on the second list were either killed or wounded.
Computors and most people find my handwriting impossible to read so I am presently adding searchable text to the letter jpegs. This of course tempts me to edit the letters. Some things are personal or just notes to myself, and sometimes the 20-year-old embarrasses the 60-year-old (the reverse would also be true), but editing leads to possible self-censoring. I've corrected only some of the worst grammar and spelling from a day before word processing.
Some people write books. I do not have a book on this subject in me, so this will have to do. Stories and even letters are my sometimes subjective account of my experience. However, there are official records and other accounts that my letters supplement. I intend to eventually collect and comment on some of these, adding an objective dimension to this site. First is the link below, Feb 26, 1968. The date of this battle was not fixed in my head for over forty years, but is the background of the short story and subject of the March 13, Diary Letter.
Comments and suggestions are welcome. I especially would like to hear from any who know me, recognize my List, or have shared my experience. I am looking for links or anything appropriate to the title of this page. This site is not finished. I sometimes check my email email@example.com. My name is Robert Marcuson.