An island in the Western Pacific
1700 hours, 29Jan79
Here I sat, fat, dumb and happily hiding from the memories of my last sojourn in sunny Southest Asia and along comes The Shortimers. It's no wonder to me having just finished reading the book, that it took you so long to write it. It must have been a heavy trip having to resurrect all those memories, regurgitate it all on paper and then live with the hangover each and every day. Man, that fucking bomb-shell you laid on the public tells it like it is, was and always will be as long as there's a Green Machine waiting to ingest American kids and spit out combat Marines. The whole gig came ripping back at me as I sat reading your book. All the characters (even those you didn't flat-ass name) were identifiable and I lived with my memories quite a while after I put the book down. I guess only Steve Wyatt and I are left on active duty from the old Snuffy gang and I plan to lend him the book soonest to see how it effects him. It's an incredible piece of writing and a tribute to all of us who fiddle-fucked our way through the war as combat correspondents. One of these days when I wander back through Morro Bay, California (where the fuck is that, anyway?) we will break out several bottles of double-rectified busthead and dissect the story, episode by episode. Meanwhile, the book hit me like an Eighty-Deuce on charge eight and I need to mull it over. Suffice to say, it's a slam-bang motherfucker of a book and I'm as proud of you as I was the day I finally made you take a shower and change into jungle utilities that had actually been washed in the past week. I was especially proud of the dedication. I don't want to dwell on it, but the really meant something to an old fucked up asshole that couldn't see his way clear (read: no guts) to get out of the Crotch when the war ended and there was no more reason to stay. I spend most of my time training young, would-be Dye's, Hasford's, Bayers, Penningtons, Stokeys, Grimms, etc. and telling them war stories to bring the point across. Maybe when the shit starts flying again, I will have done something to motivate them and keep their stupid young asses alive. If not, I've pissed away my life. I promise you, the Shortimers has just been put on the required reading list for each and every one of those poges as of now.
The important stuff has now been said. You can take off your pack and flake out along the trail for a while while I fire off a bunch of questions. How the fuck are you? Do you get to see the old crew much. I love every one of those motherfuckers more than anything else I can think of and I'd sure like to hear what the status is on Bayer, Grimm, Licciardi, Kibat, Gerheim, Stokey, etc. Can you find out and pass it along? Will success ruin Gus Hasford? What's your next project? How many bananas did you make from The Shortimers? Are you a rich guy now and is some woman hellbent on ripping you off? Do you still speak to guys who stayed in the Crotch? Write and tell me the answer to all that stuff right away.
As for me, Mother Corps has seen fit to
make me a Chief Warrant Officer. I made it through OCS and the Basic
School much like we both made it through Parris Island. You remember
the system: act like a flaming asshole whenever they are watching
but retain that central core of sanity. There is a board meeting
somewhere in Washington at this moment trying to decide if I have enough
couth to promote me to First Lieutenant. If they decide in the affirmative,
I'm on my way to becoming an old, crotchety mother-hen like Mawk Arnold
and others of that ilk. I suppose that's what passes for upward mobility
in the Corps. I'm serving as Station Manager in the local version
of AFVN here on the Rock. In the next missive I'll be glad to relate
the changes that have taken place here on Asshole Attoll since the war
ended and we ceded the island back to the Japanese. I'm still pursuing
eduation education since Mother Corps says all
her officers (even the Mustang assholes who made it all the way ot Master
Sergeant before going insane) must have a degree of some sort. My
marriage is still intact and the wife has been promoted to Gunnery Sergeant.
She's serving here on Okinawa with me. No kids...I've got enough
trouble with these fucking recruits they keep sending me from San Diego
and Parris Island to fuck up the Corps. I continue to win piddley-assed
journalism prizes and try to find time to write on my own book.
Which brings me to another point. Steve Bernston and I have been working on a tome describing our misadventures in the Battle of Hue City for the past six years. I believe I'll finish it this year in the Summer. Without being an asshole about it, can I ask you to look over a few chapters and, if you think it's worth it, turn me on to some junior editor who might get it read by someone that counts? I think it's an exciting piece (about 300 typewritten pages right now and we've not even crossed to the fight on the North Side) and I believe it will raise enough chillbains among veterans and non-hackers alike to make it in the fiction market. No one of my acquaintance has the knowledge of that market that you do, especially after you fought so long and hard to get published. If this request is way out of line, let me know. I hope it isn't because I, too, have something to say about combat correspondents in uniform and the way they fought the war. The book concerns only the fight for Hue City and is sort of a day-to-day chronology of the craziness. If you can spare the time, let me know.
Must close now and go back to dwelling
on your book. Jesus, I wish I could have there to help you guys celebrate
the victory of Hasford over the establishment. Best wishes, Gus.
I really am proud of you.
Your old asshole buddy from Hootch 12,
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