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Vietnam War Era Letter Written by U.S. Soldier on his way to Vietnam.

Article about: This letter was written by a Thurman Olan Pike Jr. He was born on June 26th 1945 in North Carolina. During the Vietnam War, he would enlist and serve as the leader of B Company, 2nd Platoon,

  1. #1

    Default Vietnam War Era Letter Written by U.S. Soldier on his way to Vietnam.

    Vietnam War Era Letter Written by U.S. Soldier on his way to Vietnam.
    This letter was written by a Thurman Olan Pike Jr. He was born on June 26th 1945 in North Carolina. During the Vietnam War, he would enlist and serve as the leader of B Company, 2nd Platoon, 50th Infantry Regiment, often attached to the 1st Cavalry Division, 4th Infantry Division, 173rd Airborne Brigade and 1st Field Force Vietnam.

    At the time of writing this letter, Thurman was onboard the USS General John Pope, heading to Okinawa, then to Vietnam. He didn’t write a date on the letter, but as the ship he was on arrived in Okinawa on September 18th 1967, and he states they were about two days out from Okinawa, he likely wrote this letter on September 16th 1967. The letter reads:

    “ Forgot the date.

    Evelyn,

    Well here I am, just about 13 days out to sea. And I’ve been out here just about 13 days too long. It feels like I’ve been rocking and rolling with the waves forever. We should get into Okinawa, about day after tomorrow. Then I’ll be able to get my feet onto solid ground one more time, even if it is only for 6 hours. That will be when I get to mail this letter. So I will probably be in Vietnam, fighting to protect freedom and Democracy when you receive this.

    You know I never knew there was so much water in the world. You can stand up on the deck and see for 50 miles in all directions. But all there is, is water, blue, wet, wavey water. You get a feeling of being so small and so lost. It’s like being an ant on a leaf in the middle of Longview lake. Last night we were in the edge of a storm. It felt like we were being picked up and tossed from wave to wave. On top of every thing else, there’s nothing to do. I think I go crazy if I see another deck of cards.

    Oh! We do have movies, one each day, but only because are too old to have on the late show. I think they have been on the ship since it was commissioned and that was in 1943.

    Evelyn, since this may be the last chance I get to write for a good while, there’s something I want you to know. I think you are the most wonderful person anyone could have for a “mean ole stepmother”. Really, I want to thank you, one more time for all the wonderful things you have done for daddy, Stanly, Pat, Martha, Janet and myself.

    No-one could have asked for more. Please remember that I love you and always will.

    Tell everyone, I said Hello, I love them, and to write me.

    My address is:

    Lt Thurman O Pike jr.
    05340262
    Co B. 1st Bn. 50th Inf.
    A.P.O. 96238
    San Francisco
    California

    WRITE!!
    LOVE,
    OLAN “

    Thurman and his regiment would depart Okinawa on September 19th and would arrive in Qui Nhon, Vietnam on September 22nd. They would be stationed at Landing Zone Uplift in Binh Dinh Province. Throughout their stay in Vietnam, Thurman and his regiment would engage in several operations and missions including:

    Securing the coastal Highway 1,

    Participating in numerous search and destroy operations aimed at locating and neutralizing Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army forces in the region.

    Pacification efforts, which involved securing villages, providing protection to the local populace, and disrupting enemy activities.

    Conduct frequent combat patrols and set up ambushes to engage enemy forces and prevent their movement.

    Provide support to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) units in joint operations against enemy forces.

    Thurman would survive the war and return home. Throughout his service, he would be awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Army Achievement medal. Thurman would pass away on April 10th 2015 aged 69. He is buried in the Raleigh National Cemetery in North Carolina.
    Vietnam War Era Letter Written by U.S. Soldier on his way to Vietnam.
    Vietnam War Era Letter Written by U.S. Soldier on his way to Vietnam.
    Vietnam War Era Letter Written by U.S. Soldier on his way to Vietnam.
    Vietnam War Era Letter Written by U.S. Soldier on his way to Vietnam.
    Vietnam War Era Letter Written by U.S. Soldier on his way to Vietnam.
    Vietnam War Era Letter Written by U.S. Soldier on his way to Vietnam.
    Vietnam War Era Letter Written by U.S. Soldier on his way to Vietnam.

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  3. #2

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    Based on his grave marker the AM would indicate "Air Medal". The Army Achievement Medal (AAM) would not be established until 1981.

    The LT would have been eligible for the Air Medal after participating in Combat Assault Flights with the 1st Cav and or the 173rd.

    Smitty

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