Sunday, August 10, 1969 10:20am
Hill 55, Vietnam
Dear Mother, Dad, Pat & Mary Ann,
Right now we are in a village west of Hill 55 for the day. I’m writing on a table that the Vietnamese build themselves out of bamboo. It’s strange–they have tables and benches, etc. out here, the things we would like but don’t have up on the Hill.
Sometime between the 15th and 20th of this month, the 7th Marine Regiment will be moving. We haven’t gotten any specific word yet, but the word seems to be that we will be going South to set up somewhere around Chu Lai. Other than that I don’t know. How long we will be there and exactly where I don’t know either. Just have to wait for further word . . .
I’m hoping that if I have to stay over here the whole 13 months, that I’ll be able to make Sgt. The reason I say “13 months” is that we are all hoping to be among those being pulled out of Vietnam. I read the other day that another 100,000 military personnel were to be removed sometime soon. We are hoping that the 7th Marines will be next to be pulled out because, as we understand it, the 7th is now the senior division after the 9th Marines was pulled out last month. But we’ve learned not to get our hopes up too high. We won’t believe it until it actually happens.
Joanie [Mike’s fiancé] wrote me about her visit with you. She really enjoyed being with you all. It was also a pleasant way to spend an evening away from her studies. The senior level courses she is taking now are really difficult as far as involving a lot of time. She has so many books to read and papers to write. Most of her letters to me are written late at night or a short one sometime during the day, so I know exactly how busy she really is. That’s good, though, because it makes the time go by fast. It’s hard to realize that I’m already in my 7th month. The time has been going by quickly for me also. Each day seems to slip away into the dusk . . . .
I learned that the PX in DaNang not only sells Gen. Motors, Chrysler, Ford and American Motors cars, but also that I can get a Volkswagen. I haven’t been able to get into DaNang to talk about it. But from what I understand . . . I can buy a Volkswagen and continue paying for it after I get back to the States. That’s good because we can hold the money that I’ve been saving as a reserve rather than using most of it to pay for the car. Joanie also wrote about a lot of garage apartments that are really nice for less than $100/month. Something like this will be good for us.
Sept. 9-16 is the date. R&R in Sydney, Australia. A friend just got back from his R&R there. He said it was really great. I really am looking forward to it.
On August 28, 1969, Corporal Michael McAninch of 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine, was caught up in a full-fledged battle during a search and destroy operation in Quang Nam Province. He was killed by mortar fire and was one of the 13 Marines killed during that operation. The letter above was Michael’s last letter home.
In remembering her fiancé, Joan stated: “I buried him on September 9th, the day we were supposed to meet on his R&R and six months before he was supposed to come home. He was twenty-two.”