Republic of the Philippines
August 31, 1972

Dear Mother & Daddy,

I'm in the Philippines, waiting for a flight out of here to Thailand. We're supposed to fly out of here at 5:00 a.m. in the morning. We flew all night in an Air Force C-130, and we got here this morning about 5:00 ...

Squadron 533 is beginning to fly single plane missions at night in North Vietnam. They're flying in about 500 feet above ground, which is low enough to keep them out of the SAM (surface-to-air missile) environment, so it should be pretty safe.

I hope Karoni has been over to see you every couple of days. I sure miss her. Give her a kiss for me.

I guess I better close and go get something to eat.

Love,
Ron





Nam Phong, Thailand
September 3, 1972

Dear Mother & Daddy,

Well, I've been here three days now, and there's no doubt in my mind as to why they call this place "The Rose Garden..." They just got electricity in the tents two days before I arrived. There is no hot water, but we do, at least, have a shower now.

The heat and humidity are really bad. I don't know how I can help from losing weight. Even as bad as things are, if I had a choice of being here or in Iwakuni, Japan, I'd choose here. I knew just about half of the people in the squadron before I got here, so I feel right at home.

I've got to go to "New Guy School" every night next week before I will be able to fly. My first mission will probably be next Saturday or Sunday. In a way, I'm looking forward to it; on the other hand, I'm scared to death just thinking about it ...

Tell Don & Larry I said hello, and give Karoni a kiss for me.

Love,
Ron





Nam Phong, Thailand
September 6, 1972

Dear Mother & Daddy,

I went up on a test hop this morning. The scenery is beautiful, but I still wouldn't give fifteen cents for the whole country.

I've got two more nights of "New Guy School" before I can fly in combat. I'm looking forward to it now. I'm sure I'll be a little nervous, but the prospect of being shot down doesn't scare me the way it did when first arriving.

I've been here for six days and have spent a total of ninety cents. I should have coins when this experience is over.

No one has any idea how long we'll be here. The C.O. seems to think we'll be back in Japan by Christmas. That would be the best present I can think of, not that I don't like it here, but a bed with a mattress would be nice.

I guess I'd better close. Give Karoni a kiss for me.

Love,
Ron





Nam Phong, Thailand
September 8, 1972

Dear Mother & Daddy,

I flew combat mission #1 and combat mission #2 today. We flew over south of DaNang and bombed an outpost that the South Vietnamese were trying to retake. We then landed at DaNang and reloaded with eighteen five hundred pound bombs.

We had lunch and then we headed off again. You've read about Quang Tri in the papers. That's where we headed for mission #2. I was a little nervous on mission #1; in fact, I didn't sleep too well last night for worrying about it. When I found out we were going to Quang Tri, my heart stepped up about twice what it should have been. That's a really hostile area, and I was a little bit scared, although I expected to be more terrified than I was.

Fear is a strange thing. I was more afraid on my first day at Texas A&M than I was today. I guess fear is something with which you have to learn to live. As long as you can keep it under control, it's no problem.

I'm scheduled to fly mission #3 tomorrow so I'd better go to sleep. I love you both very much. Kiss Karoni for me.

Love,
Ron





Nam Phong, Thailand
September 16, 1972

Dear Mother and Dad,

It's hard to believe another week has already passed. It's hard to remember what day of the week it is when everyday is just the same. We are working seven days a week ...

I've averaged about one combat sortie a day so far. It's going to be a really long year over here if the war doesn't end soon. The ball game is entirely different over here now than it was two or three years ago. I know people who spent a year flying over here and didn't get shot at but once or twice the whole time they were here.

I've only been flying missions for two weeks. Already I know what it feels like to be doing a 45 degree dive toward the ground and having 37mm rounds exploding right in front of the aircraft. The missions are tense to say the least.

Will you check to see if I am registered to vote ? The more I read about George McGovern, the more I despise him.

The day has been long so I must hit the rack. Tell Don & Larry I said hello. Kiss Karoni for me.

Love,
Ron





Nam Phong, Thailand
September 26, 1972

Dear Mother & Daddy,

I've finally started to receive some mail. Mail call and a shower at the end of the day are just about all we've got to look forward to.

Sorry that my letter writing has slowed down. The only exciting thing around is the combat missions. If I wrote you about them, you'd only worry more than you already do.

I just came back from Bangkok. You can't believe how nice it was to sleep on a bed with a mattress and clean sheets, to have running water and aflush toilet. The city of Bangkok is dirty, but we stayed at a really nice hotel. We had a great time sitting around the swimming pool.

The pilot I fly with all the time is Jim Chipman. He is a Mormon from Utah who did missionary work after he graduated from high school. Needless to say, we stayed out of trouble in Bangkok.

I've flown twelve combat sorties so far. I received my first air medal right before we left for liberty. Since I got here, I've flown more than anyone else in the squadron ...

Dad, I really appreciated your letter. Things haven't changed that much since WWII. I can't say my heartbeat is down to normal on these missions, but most of the fear is gone.

Give Karoni a kiss for me.

Love,
Ron





Nam Phong, Thailand
September 29, 1972

Dear Mother & Dad,

Christmas came early this year. We got steel racks with mattresses today. You can't imagine how nice a bed is until you go without one for a month.

I'm not getting to fly as much now as I did when I first arrived. We have twenty-one aircrews which means if everyone did their share, we wouldn't get to fly but once every three days. I flew my fourteenth mission today, so I've averaged a little more than one every two days since I started flying.

I got letters from Larry and Grandma yesterday. They were both mailed three weeks ago ...

I ran into Bob Black the other day. He and I lived in the same form our first two years at A&M. It's a small world.

Karoni probably won't remember me when I get home. I sure do miss her. Give her a kiss for me. It's been a long day, so guess I'd better close.

Love,
Ron





Nam Phong, Thailand
October 2, 1972

Dear Mother & Dad,

Sorry to be so long about writing, but I've been kind of sick the past couple of days. I'm o.k. now. I just had a virus that is going around ...

The base where Ralph Crow [a close friend from Texarkana who Ron met at Texas A&M] is stationed was his by a rocket attack last night. I don't know the extent of the damage or if anyone was hurt.

I sent Karoni twenty dollars for her second birthday. I sure miss her. Give her a kiss for me.

Love,
Ron





Nam Phong, Thailand
October 5, 1972

Dear Mother & Dad,

It's beginning to get cool here at night. The cooler weather makes it nice for sleeping, but makes the shower at night more of a daily task instead of a highlight. They're supposed to rig up a device to produce hot water for the showers, but they haven't been very successful yet.

My flying has slowed down considerably. I haven't flown but twice in the last week. I had more combat missions than anyone else in the squadron last month, but I'm off to a slow start this month.

I can't believe that Karoni is already two years old. Jana sent me a picture of her talking on the phone. I can't believe how grown up she looks. I think she is getting even cuter. Giver her a kiss for me. Tell Don and Larry I said hello.

Love,
Ron





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