| 9 April 1963
My Dear Brother:
Please forgive me for not writing
to you but it seems as if the days just don't have enough hours in them
anymore. I was very glad to hear from you and to know that you are alright.
I'm glad to hear that you have been accepted to college. You will never
know how much it means to Dwight and I for you to finish college in America.
We both are so very proud of you and we tell all of our Vietnamese friends
I arrived in Saigon on the first of
Nov. 1962 so I have been here now 6 months. It was good to be home in
Asia again. I am the U.S.O.M. [United States Operations Mission] advisor
to the Province Chief of Darlac province. Banmethuot is the capitol of
Darlac province. I'm sure you have heard of Banmethuot. The province of
Darlac has a population most of which are Montagnard. About 3/4 are Montagnard
and 1/4 are Vietnamese.
In Darlac province Vietnam we have
the same problem that exists in America. The Montagnards are treated by
the Vietnamese as the Negroes are treated by some white people in America.
We are doing all we can to bring these two parties closer together and
make both parties realize how important one party is to the other and
vise versa. I wonder though how rapidly we can get these two parties together
since it has been over one hundred years since we freed the Negroes and
they still don't have full equality. In the Highlands it is essential
that we bring these two peoples together quickly if we are to stop Communism
Dwight is the Advisor to Kontum Province.
We are both very happy to be assigned to the Highland Provinces. Much
of the area in Barlac and Dontum reminds me of Muong Sing.
You have heard of the strategic hamlet
program that is being carried out here I'm sure. In my province things
are going very well. We have almost 400 hamlets completed, we have armed
and trained the people of the hamlets to defend themselves, and now we
are trying to raise their standard of living or their economic and social
You said in your letter that you rarely
hear anything good happening in Vietnam this, I feel, is the faults of
our journalists. You know that good news does not sell many papers but
everyone is anxious to hear bad news. Believe me things are going very
well here in most places.
When I first went to Darlac province
there were many areas that I could not travel in because there were so
many V.C. In other areas I had to have an escort of 4 or 5 truck loads
of soldiers --- now I travel in many of these areas by myself in my jeep.
We can go to almost any area in the province with 2 or 3 truck loads of
soldiers. This situation exists not only in my province but in most of
the provinces throughout the country. Places where six months ago you
could not travel you can travel now with little or no escort.
Dwight and I are working mainly with
the Highlanders and in my province we have many groups. We have mainly
Rhode people but also Chill, Muong, Coks, and some others. I have a Rhode
boy working for me as my interpreter but I sure wish you were with me
again. He taught himself English but is not too good because he has had
no one to practise with.
We know that our operation in Darlac
province is fairly successful because the V.C. have started to be more
active. They are beginning to mine the roads and there are more and more
ambushes along the roads. When our programs hurt the V.C. they strike
back-they are beginning to strike now.
I was recently in one area where we
have resettled 8,000 Highlanders --- we have helped them plant their crops,
helped them rebuild their houses, shown them improved agriculture techniques,
given them tools, blankets, and food, built schools and hospitals and
helped them produce better pigs and chickens, dug wells, and many other
things to help them have a better life. They know now that they will have
a better future if they are loyal to the Vietnamese Government. The V.C.
are very unpopular in this area and they have stepped up fighting in this
area. I had been driving back and forth in this area from village to village
and about 30 minutes after I left the area a convoy was ambushed. Several
Vietnamese were killed and one American officer was wounded. I guess God
was with me on that trip.
I think we will continue to win here
in Vietnam. I think that within two or three years we will have the V.C.
driven back across the 17th parrall.
I do get discouraged with some of
the Government Ministeries here. It takes so long sometimes to get things
started. Sometimes it seems as if the Vietnamese Government is fighting
us and we are only trying to help win the war. Some of the minor officials
are so concerned with their power and authority that they slow us down
The situation is getting better though
and I pray that it will continue to get better.
I am in Saigon now but tomorrow I
will go back to Banmethuot. My wife and children are living here in Saigon.
I see them once or twice a month, the rest of the time I spend in Banmethuot.
I am very happy that you have been
accepted by the college in Rockford. In one and a half years I'll be coming
to America for a vacation. My hometown in Illinois is not far from Rockford
so I will come and see you then. I am also happy about your scholarship.
Don't worry about working to get extra money. Dwight and I are now making
a good salary, so we can help you through college. This is your brother
talking now so you be sure to write and tell me how much money you need
each month when you get to college --- understand! I want you to spend
all of your time studying so that you graduate at the top of your class
--- you can do it I know. Don't forget to tell us how much money you need
- "bo loom"
I hope you will forgive me but I can't
speak Vietnamese yet. I have been so busy that I haven't started to study
yet. I will begin soon though - I promise.
I must close for now - be sure and
tell the Northshields hello for Dwight & I. We would like to hear
from them if they have time.