Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Veterans Day Uncle Robert, Welcome Home, Love, Cheryl

  I took a wet washcloth and washed his face. I prepared his coffee the way he liked it. I placed a straw into the coffee cup and put it to his lips. He was to weak to drink it. In a few hours I would be sitting across from the man behind the big desk down at the funeral home where he and I had sat together 4 months earlier for my Dad.

  He told me he was tired. I kissed him on the forehead as he lay in the hospital bed. As I sat quietly beside him there, mysteriously the door to the hospital room opened slightly. I thought about how odd that was as the door was heavy and had to be opened deliberately. After it had stood open for awhile I got up to close it. I wondered who had come to get him before the Nurse, the Doctor and the Chaplin arrived.

  It was August 25, 2005 and it was Friday. His chest still heaved as if he was breathing. The nurse said it was reflex action from all of those 71 years of breathing in and out.

  I wrote his obituary from the template he and I had used for my Dad, his brother. I said he had "crossed the river". As General Stonewall Jackson lay dying he was still shouting orders to his men. It was said that he suddenly laid quiet and said," Come, let us cross the river and rest 'neath the shade of the trees."

 A fitting reward for any good soldier.

 Rest well Uncle Robert. I'll see you soon.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Dear Folks, I Will Probably Leave The Company Next Monday, August 1958, 38th Parallel South Korea, Love, Robert

Dear Folks,
  Well I don't know
how to explain this.
The army is something
else. If have 5 days
left in this company
before I rotate. Just
about everybody has gone
home and I am next,
but instead of going
home for discharge like
everybody else I go for
reassignment. I think
at first when they cut
this to a 13 month tour
they knocked some time
off of your tour, but
you couldn't leave Korea
and when you reach the
states if you had less
than 90 day to do,
that is from the day
you hit the states until
your Enlisted Time served
when you first come into
the army.
  OK so I extended until
Aug 16, so I would have
less that 90 days and
go back for discharge.
Well when I leave I
will have less that 90
days, but with something
new. They say you must
have 30 days or less to
go back for discharge.
In other words they haven't
any replacements over here
they want us guys to
either extend over here
until 30 prior which
would give me about 18
months in Korea 5 months
over the tour, or leave now
for reassignment in
the States. Well just
as soon as they ask me I
am going back to the States.
I may get reassigned
but it will be less that
two months because
I will take 30 day leave.
  I will probably leave the
company next Monday
so I will write you when
I leave Korea.
  I don't know whether
all of this is clear to
you in a way it's not
clear to me. I will
just have to wait and
see what happens, but
I will leave in about a

                 Love, Robert

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Dear Folks, I Have Paid A Debt, August 3, 1958, 38th Parallel South Korea, Love, Robert

Dear Folks,         3 Aug 58

  Today is the third
of Aug, this is the month
I leave Korea, Saynora,
goodbye. Even with
just 13 days left it
it tough. We have
our annual big inspection
the sixth of Aug. We
have been working pretty
hard for it, but I don't
mind because the
harder I work the faster
the day goes by. My arms
and hands, my clothes
stay dirty with dust
oil and whatever you have.
You have to change clothes
at least once a day.
This army is great
you work all week long
for about 14 hours to
get ready for some
goofball to just walk
by and just look at
your equipment for
about 5 seconds.
  The hutch where I
live has a capacity
for about 25 people there
are four of us who
stay in there. I feel
good though we got two
brand new recruits
in just fresh out of
basic training and
they walk around like
they don't know what
in the hell's coming off.
  I listen to a good
joke the other day. My
platoon sergeant came
up and told me that
I would make corporal
this month. I just
about laughed in his
face. In this company
you just don't make
rank unless you
bow down and that
is something to me
which is beyond the
call of duty.
  I think the boat
which I will catch
will probably go
to Seattle, Washington
which is OK with me
just as long as it's
one of the 49 States.
I think that we will
probably stop off in
Japan. If we do and
the sun is shinning
I am going to take a
lot of pictures. You
know what I want
when I get back, a
good steak, about 3 or
four good cold beers
and my bed. I want
to sleep in that nice
bed without having
to get up and go on
guard or out into the
field during the middle
of the night. It might
not sound like much
to you but it seems
like a luxury to me.
For Twenty months now
I have had to wake
up about 5:30 and
be out in a formation
at 6 o'clock. Did you
know that every night
at 11:30 some officer
comes through my hutch
and check to see if
everybody is in bed. Did
you know my platoon
Sergeant has a 6th
grade education, did
you know that the medical
corps guarantees your
health over here for
12 months. There is
one thing that I have
learned to do since
being in the Army
and I think it is an
important lesson, that
is to survive and live
wherever you may
be. I have met and
become good friends
with a lot of guys
in the army over here.
I have seen guys so
drunk worst that you
have really seen, and I
have seen the same guys
from all walks of life
get woke up at about
2 o'clock Sunday morning
saying theres an alert
on, moving out during
the black of the night
over rugged mountain
roads which are either
icy or muddy and
setting up 80 4.2 mile
mortars capable of
killing hundreds of
people in one barrage.
  Guys who hate the
army, would never
stay one minute past
their time. This to me
is the backbone of the
US Army. I have just
about finished my
service to my country,
but it is not to the
army. I have perhaps
lost 2 years of valuable
time to a person of
my age, but I have
paid a debt, and
maybe later on I may
be called upon to
fight a war. I hope
not, but I will
stand up to anybody,
anybody who thinks
different about guys like
me who were drafted.
  I got drafted into
the army which
might have been a
mistake, I cannot
say yes or no, But
I do know this
whenever you receive
this letter from
that day forth do not write
a letter after it because
I will be on my
way home. You
probably will get maybe
one or two more letters
from me, but they will
not be from this company.
my port of of departure.
                    Love, Robert