News From Home

Thursday, October 10, 1968

Tink showed up on time at 0500.  It was his first day on the job, and I taught him how to light the immersion water heaters.  We used three outside the mess hall, one for washing, one for rinsing and one with a sanitizer (bleach).  We also used two more in the Pot Shack/Scullery.  All the stainless steel compartment trays were sanitized again in boiling water before circulating back to the chow line.

We kept trash in 30-gallon galvanized aluminum cans.  Once a can was full, it was covered with a lid until being picked up the next day.  When these containers were returned, they were scrubbed clean with a Pine-Sol solution.  This was a sinus-clearing job and required rubber gloves.

At mail call I received a letter from Jenny and a large manila envelope from St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Glendale.  I thought it might be my absentee ballot.  I put the mail on my bed while I supervised dinner.

After showering I read Jenny’s letter.  She had a calendar in the kitchen and was counting days.  We were both preoccupied with time.

I opened the envelope from the church and was surprised by a TIME magazine dated September 13.  The label said, “E.E. Hailwood” (Jenny’s father).  I scanned the featured articles which were all about the upcoming election, and amazingly, there was nothing about the war.  The World section had a small article on the stalled Paris peace talks; North Vietnam was demanding a bombing halt.

In my head I said, “No, no, no, we’re not going to stop the bombing . . . I don’t believe that for a minute.  Who in their right mind would put us in jeopardy by doing that?”

I wrote a quick response to my father-in-law, thanking him for the TIME magazine.  I also let him know that we were starved for real information from the outside.  All we got was the watered-down and filtered Stars and Stripes (American Military Newspaper).

Command Chronology – Kilo 4/11 – October 1968

Next Edition:  Tink’s Request

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