THE SPRINGFIELD 50 PROJECT
Letters written by
1LT Bernard James Lovett Jr.
2 Oct 70
I imagine that by now the weather is getting a bit cooler at home with fall, etc. We are in the middle of our rainy season and it is getting quite muddy around here, our road that runs to the operating base would be impossible for regular cars, but the team jeep has no problem in it at all.
...Absolutely nothing is new--if it wasn't for our card games at night I'd go crazy being bored--there's absolutely nowhere to go and nothing to do.
Seeing as how I don't have any cards, I'll wish Christine a happy birthday--I'll enclose 100 for a souvenir (Vietnamese money) but I doubt you'll be able to buy much with it as it's only worth about 90 cents American!
Anytime you want to feel wealthy over here, just convert American Military Payment Certificates (we don't have regular American money--it's like Monopoly) to Vietnamese--you walk around with a huge bank roll that really isn't worth anything.
We may go to Saigon tomorrow--I hope so--I'd like to take some pictures--I should be sending Kathy some next week to put in an album, so I'm sure she will bring them over and show them to you.
Give my regards to everyone, write soon.
7 Oct 70
I'm at Cu Chi for five days, a real break in the routine. This is the main base camp for the American 25th Infantry Division, and I'm here as an "escort" for 30 Vietnamese Sergeants from our district who are receiving a five day training course here.
I have absolutely nothing to do except sit around and (?can't decipher word?), there are officers clubs to go to and free movies etc at night.
The weather has been extremely hot--even for here which is saying something, but it still rains every night which cools it down quite a bit.
As for your inquiry about enemy activity, we have had a couple of "incidents" but nothing big. The greatest danger is from mines or booby traps, but that's pretty much the same story all over the country.
We will probably be setting up MAT 107 in another week--you'll still only be able to locate me by seeing Trang Bang on the map as we will be going to a place called Phu Cau--so far I've been at Loc Trac, Loc Giang and Anh Khoung, which are all villages around Trang Bang.
I'm still trying to get another tape recorder--I'm going to try the PX one more time, then go back to mail order.
Well that's all for now.
Write soon and give my regards to everyone.
Greetings from beautiful Southeast Asia! It looked much better in the 7th grade Geography series.
I’m currently serving as an advisor to a Vietnamese Regional Forces Company, located in Hau Nghia province, too near the Cambodian border! We are rapidly approaching the end of monsoon season and the mercury is really getting up there. We never look at a thermometer but I’m sure today was at least 115°
We are located about 40 miles northwest of Saigon in an area that I could only describe as an embarrassment to the pacification program.
It was my misfortune to be assigned to an area where there is a comparatively good deal of activity.
I’ve learned some Vietnamese, mostly just military jargon, I wouldn’t be much of a social conversationalist.
Working as an advisor is a fairly frustrating job, the allies aren’t always too eager to “find” the enemy–I’d much rather be with an American infantry unit.
To really understand the terms refugee, poverty and underdeveloped country, a person really has to visit Vietnam. The filth, squalor, etc. of the Cholon District of Saigon is beyond belief.
As for the average rice farmer, who is at best semi-literate, I really don’t think it makes much difference to him who runs the government as long as he is left alone. He feeds both V.C. and government troops who happen by, I guess self-preservation is the first law.
The Vietnamese soldier is probably quite a bit better than most people believe–I’ve seen a few "gritty" acts performed by them, and really believe that they are capable of handling the war as long as they get reasonably good leadership from their officers–that’s the key.
I trust all is well on the home front, and look forward to returning to the system next September. Give my regards to the crew, and drop me a line when you get the chance.
(page last revised 07/03/2004 06:56 AM -0400)
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