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NgDKhang

North and South Vietnamese War Letters

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I am unsure if this would be the correct sub-topic to place these, but I figure since most other topics have "Field and Personal Equipment" that I would place these here. My idea is to basically create a running thread perhaps where I'll post these as I find/translate them. If any forum members have any letters that they would like to have translated, feel free to post them here or send me a PM.

 

I'll start off with with several letters

 

 

1) This letter was sent from Ngo Thanh Binh - Phu Binh District Hospital to her husband, Ngo Van Khoa at Military PO 86.564 YK at the B1 Battlefront which lies along the coast of Southern Vietnam, stretching from Quang Nam Province to Phu Yen Province. According to captured documents though, it would seem by 1969, the military code corresponding to 86.564 YK were operating in Tay Ninh Province in Southwestern in Vietnam based off of captured enemy documents.

From Thanh Binh

Our Homeland, 10 July 1969

 

Dear Husband!

 

Respectful greetings to you! Up here in the North, I recently received your letter from the front which you sent me. Thanks to that, we learned about your current health and mission. Personally, I feel very motivated after reading it.

My Dear! I would like to briefly tell you a little bit about what’s happening back here as well as the family’s current situation so that you’ll be up to date. Back home, generally speaking the family is doing well financially and physically. There’s nothing to worry about. Both of your parents are doing really well; sister is still feeling ill, but it’s nothing to worry about. The children, Hoc, Dat, Xuan and Thu are growing up very fast. They behave very well. Especially the twins Xuan and Thu. They always talk and remind us about you, especially when they see any soldier walking across the street. They both exclaim, “This is my dad!”. We see them running around calling every soldier their father. When we see this, we feel happy, but we also feel sad knowing that you’re not here with us.

Dear love! This is obviously something that everyone within our family feels and it's a sentiment many other families here share. Parent are separated from their sons, older brothers from younger brothers, fathers from their children and husbands from their wives. We never forget about the love and warmth of the family. We miss you very much. But on the other hand, we still have the American invaders. They use their planes to kill our fellow countrymen, our fathers and our brothers. Everyone in the party, if healthy enough, cannot sit by and let this happen. If we don’t act, then how can we achieve true happiness?

Love, the family and myself are very proud that we have contributed our fair share in the fight against the Americans. Plus, you are serving our nation at the front lines as well. You are far away, but I very much hope everyday that you don’t worry about us too much and instead will fight with all of your strength. Fight against the enemy and kill them all until there’s no one left! When there’s no one left, you will return triumphantly to us and recount your stories to the family and me. Just imagine, at that time how happy we’ll be.

My dear, work is still good at the old agency. Recently, I was sent to attend classes, but since I’ve just finished 7th grade, I’ve returned home early. Right now, if they open up the middle school again, then I will apply to attend. Brothers Nhan and Duc are working very hard. In fact, they’re the favorites candidates to become party members. Brother Tam graduated 7th grade this year as well!

My dear, I’m just briefly going through a few details about the family so that you’ll know about our current situation. Generally speaking, everybody is doing fine.[Letter is incomplete]

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2) This letter was written from a man named Nguyen Loi to what I presume wold be his wife. As he worked as a war correspondent/photographer during the war, it seems like he wasn't subject to military censorship like other soldiers were. Due to this, he writes much more freely compared to others. I have numerous letters from this couple, but only from the early war period. I have not seen any from the mid to late war period

 

From: Nguyen Loi

Ha Noi School of Photography

 

To: Ly Thuy Hoa

Planning Office

Fabric Factory

Nam Dinh

 

Excerpt on envelope: “I received you letter. I’m so happy! Where are you now dear? When will you come home? Dated 8 Nov. ‘66”

My Love!

 

I arrived in Thanh Hoa yesterday afternoon. The route to the city was relatively safe. In Ha Noi the city is full of fire and smoke. But when I arrived here, I was surprised to find that it’s much better than Ha Noi. Over here, soap is sold freely. Toothpaste and t-shirts are also sold freely. Anything that is scarce in Ha Noi is almost unlimited here. The route here was a little hard, but the thing is when we came to rest here, food was prepared carefully for us. It seems like every time we stop, we’re welcomed with luxurious food and wine.

Over here they’ve attacked us fiercely in recent days. They bomb us all day and night. But we haven’t been under any direct attacks yet. Maybe it’s not our turn yet. From what I’ve seen, people here are still carrying on with their daily lives normally. They carry on fighting much more calmly than those in Ha Noi. Right now we’re positioned at the foot of a Quan Hoa mountain. It’s just about 10 km from the Laotian border. We will be resting here for a few more days. Our march was kind of convenient because it was peaceful. Don’t worry about me too much my love.

While you’re at home, it’s best to take care of your health. If the situation becomes serious, then you should leave Ha Noi and go live with Ms. Vinh. And what about the collective company in Ha Noi? In my opinion, you should go back there as soon as possible. If not, maybe later on it may become more difficult. If you are afraid about your application being approved, then you should recommend them to forward your file.

At home, has anything changed much? Is your father doing well? Since he came came to Ha Noi and left me here alone I’ve felt very lonely. Where are Brother and Sister Van staying now? Are they still living in My Tan?

When you have some time, remember to write to Mr. Dung, ok? Also, see if there’s any fabric left to buy so when I’m home, I can make an extra pair of pants. After my stay in the mountains and jungle, my pants are destined to become new kitchen rags.

While we rest during our march, it’s very hard because I have to fight to survive everyday. During these times, I feel like I often pass between the line separating life and death. Sometimes, I even forget about you. But in normal times, I miss you, I miss Dad and I miss Brother and Sister Van immensely. It’s so true that time spent at home is priceless.

I know in the coming days on the march I will have to face many difficulties and hardships. But I can handle that. Just don’t worry too much about me and don’t be sad.

Thanks to a comrade in my unit returning home to Thanh Hoa, I am hurriedly writing a few lines so you won’t be too anxious. I wish you well. Send my regards to Dad as well as Brother and Sister Van and Thuy. When I have the chance, I will write again

 

Your husband,

Many kisses

 

 

 

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3) Another letter from Nguyen Loi to Ly Thuy Hoa, dated 9th of March, 1967.

 

 

My Dear Love!

Since I’ve arrived in Hanoi until now, I’ve been staying at Uncle Huong’s house. I’ll be staying there until the 17 or 18th of March and will leave around the end of April to go back to the school. For this commission, I will have to travel to many places. At each province, the longest I’ll have to stay is about a week. I’ll be going to Hoa Binh, Tuyen Quang, Quang Minh and finally Ha Tinh Province. This time, each team is only comprised of two people. That way, we can spread ourselves out more to shorten our work. Hopefully, this means that we’ll be finished by the end of April. In the future, it seems more likely that I won’t have time to study more. The missions are beginning to take greater priority. The other students however have already began returning to school. This time, we’ll be studying in Hanoi. But exactly where, we still don’t know. Uncle Huong and his family have been kind enough to allow me stay with them. In terms of food, we eat all kind of things. The factory has already been evacuated so the canteen there isn’t active anymore. I just have to eat whatever I can scrounge up. Each meal is around 20 cents, but it’s just plain rice. How can you swallow plain rice? Some days we had to work or attend meetings past the end of our shift, so by the time we’re finished, there’s no food left. We have to go look elsewhere. These meals cost much more. I don’t want to eat at Uncle Huong’s house because the family and Auntie are already suffering from food shortages. Furthermore, the walk to his house is so far, so I try to keep my trips limited to the mornings and evenings.

 

How’s the situation at home right? Is it very hard? If it gets too difficult, then you need to evacuate the city and live in the countryside. If the food supply is still ample there, you need to buy extra so you can stay healthy. Try using the bicycle to get around more, but don’t go out too much. It’s not very good for your health if you do it too often. The other day, I sent you two packages of crispy rice. Have you received it yet?

 

How are the others doing? When I come back home, I will talk much more. Make sure you pick up the clothing for me alright? I wish you happiness and good health. You must be lonely living by yourself right?


Many kisses,

Loi

 

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