PFC William D. Carpenter

RA 16887249

Ward I-B

US Army Hospital

Camp Zama, Japan

APO San Francisco, Calif 96343

 

To

Mrs. Ova M. Carpenter

4416 Xavier St.

Denver, Colo 80212

 

30 Apr 67

 

Dear Momma,

 

Try writing with a cast on your arm, it’s a little slow.

 

First of all, I’m really doing great and my moral is really very high and except for my broken jaw, having no problems except for ear aches the jaw causes. I can get shots that kill the pain right off. I usually only have them give them to me if I need them to sleep. So the pain is not really all that bad.

 

Now it looks like that in about 2 months the kid is either going to have one of the best “cool it” jobs in V.N. or be home with a discharge. The only way I will go back to V.N. is on my terms and I can call them. There can be some money to be made in V.N.

 

Your little boy fibbed to you. Next, have Tom H. and Ronnie tell you what I’ve really been doing, LRRP and all. On the the eve of the 19th me and one other new man went out on our first mission. We were with Team 1. Things went well and we picked up some important info for Division. Until about 6:15 am on the morning of the 23rd (about)15 VC hit us. Some of them were women but all had automatic weapons. Some had BAR’s like Kirby carries on Combat. I was on guard and the first I knew they were in the area was when a gernade (sic) went off beside my head. This is what did the damage. I am permanently blind in my left eye.. It also broke my jaw, knocked our 4 or 5 teeth and put a couple of cuts in the kid, none that would mar my features tho. The concussion also temporarily deafened me. Two doctors have examined my ears and say that there is no permanent damage. If there is any, it will be only minor to my left ear.

 

Well after that we had a little firefight. I passed out three times during it, so I don’t know all that happened. I did get shot 3 times, but no major damage. Once through the left hand, no broken bones but the nerve to my pinky, once through the left fore arm, missing both bones and Ronnie you said in one of your letters, “Don’t get your you-know-what shot off”, well the third one went in my left hip, came out my left thigh about ˝ way down. My hip is not even sore, I can sit on it. Only limp a little when I walk. Art, the kid from Denver, was shot in the stomach area, but not hurt seriously. Our medic took a round in the spleen, it had to be removed. Art was everywhere in that fight. Using the grenade launcher, calling in choppers, shooting. Really a good man. Now for a big reason for me wanting to go back to Nam. The other new man was on the same poncho sleeping that I was—less than 2 feet away—he took seven rounds through the trunk. Died instantly. I feel I owe Dave something. I don’t know if the army will even let a 1-eyed man stay in uniform, much less in V.N. and I know I’ll never see combat again. Actually the odds are real good that I will be home for Daddy’s birthday.

 

Again Momma, don’t worry about me. I’m really doing fine. I thot it was about time I told the truth. By the way I have been recommended for the Bronze Star, the major that eats where you work can tell you about it.

 

Would you let the people around the area know why they aren’t hearing from me. Appreciate it.

 

Well, I am going to quit for now. Take care, tell all hello.

 

Love always,

Your son,

Bill

 

 

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