03-Love Letters from Vietnam: PT in Fort Campbell Heat
You'll have a clearer understanding of this hub if you read Episode 1 first and information in profile! Link to Complete Index of Letters
23 May, 1969 - Tim Beginning Basic Training
I'm here in basic training, and it is hell! The drill sergeants are ruthless, but I guess they have a job to do, and they might save my life. I've been exhausted for the past two days, too tired to eat. Wouldn't you know it, as soon as I arrived at basic, the temperatures climbed into the 80's and 90's. I've been living on salt tablets and water. The physical training (PT - the Army uses letters for everything) has been long and hard. Some of the meatheads (that's what we're called) in my platoon have passed out in formation. I haven't yet, but I ain't braggin'. I just might, I've been close to it.
For the next two weeks, the training is going to be intensive and I may not have a chance to write. Remember I love you. If anything gets me through, it will be the thought of seeing you again. Got to go and shine my boots.
26, May 1969 - Kate to Tim
Your letter (referring to May 23) was waiting here when I got home, and I was so happy that you have a mailing address. I imagine this letter will get to you before the first letter and card I sent, but you know how I usually do things kind of backwards anyway. (Well, you don't have to agree!)
Basic sounds awful Tim. It sounds from your letter that basic is someplace away from the place you were staying for processing.
I had a letter written last night - all light and cheerful, but this one's just got to be soupy, Tim, because hearing how rough basic is just makes my heart ached. I wish I could be there to do something for you, Tim. But you have all my love, all my heart and soul, and all my prayers, if know that may somehow help.
I keep thinking that you will be home soon because it seems like such a long time ago that you went away.
Things are fine here. Mom has a babysitting job two hours everyday about two miles down. My dad's not the cheeriest about that thought. I don't exactly understand why.
If you received my post card (of which there probably is a slim chance) you know that I went up to Ellen's this weekend. We drove to her home in Tigerton and went fishing - yes, fishing. Bet you'll never guess who fell in the river in addition to being chased by a bull who actually turned out to be a steer (harmless). Ellen said those were the only 2 time I stopped talking about you.
School is coming along ok, too. The boys' picture was in the Journal.
Ellen may come down on Memorial Day for a picnic with Mom and Dad and me. I asked my dad if they gave servicemen the day off on Memorial Day. You should have heard him laugh.
I realize that you are quite busy, Tim. Don't worry about writing. Just get enough sleep and enough to eat. I'm secure and happy in the knowledge of your love and although I wait for every word from you, I understand it's difficult to write. I know it's ok if I write thought, right?
Keep my love with you, Tim. Just remember, everyone says basic is the hardest part of service and every day gone means one less to worry about. Wow! Now who's tune has changed? Well, Tim, keep well. I love you.
PS Thought you'd be comforted to know that research shows that intense physical exercise is great. After the army, your super-sensitive hearing will be super, super sensitive and you'll have absolutely no cholesterol.