187th Aslt. Hel. Co.
A.P.O. S.F. 96216
January 28, 1968
After perusing through AVATAR No. 14, specifically your answer to the letter from Richard Ketchen, I felt compelled to write and let you know how it really is. There you are telling poor Richard that his letter made you angry whereupon you proceeded to set him straight. Well your letter pissed me off too, because your letter only contained half the truth and the rest seeped with your whole anti-organizational philosophy that is thwarting your vainglorious attempts at the truth.
Now don't get me wrong, Wayne. If I didn't like your paper I wouldn't read it, and if I didn't like you I wouldn't take the time to write. On the contrary, I admire you or more specifically, your mind and your work. You possess a penetrating insight, a virtue that Nature (You know what I really mean) has deprived so many of today. However, being subject to the same fallacies that every mortal mind is subject to, you also err in judgement sometimes, as in your views on the war. It is on this subject that I take issue with you. There is moral justification for this war. The same justification that there is if you saw some defenseless human being, brother of ours getting his ass kicked by a bully and you, being equipped, intervened and kicked the bully's ass. This is analogous to the ideal behind this war and it is the only moral justification for any war. Now you and I both know that this is not the only reason this war is being fought, but then the fault lies with the motives and not with the war itself. Communism is much more than a vague threat. It is the antithesis of freedom and is therefore our mortal enemy. It's a disease, a sore on the ass of mankind, and must be fought like any other disease by utilizing every available resource to eradicate it. Just as you oppose those in our land who would threaten our freedom there, I oppose those who would threaten our freedom here.
Now maybe by now you think that I am also "drenched in Army Bullshit." If you still fail to see the truth you cannot refute me on that basis because I don't think that any man that has once tasted the beauty of freedom can pledge allegiance to the Army as it is now. I have been incarcerated by Uncle Sam for over two years now and I really know what bullshit is. I hate the fucking Army with every fiber of my being. I eat the shit that they call "chow" because I have to eat to stay alive. I'm subjected constantly to the will of lifers with the mentality of morons, who are placed in positions of authority based solely on their longevity rather than their knowledge or ability. The injustices and repercussions of this one policy are infinite. I'm sure I don't have to elaborate. Power does corrupt if it is misplaced. Besides, being 12,000 miles from "the World" as it is termed here, we are constantly harassed by daily inspections, (I can't keep my fucking razor on my shelf) unnecessary formations during off hours, insanely childish restrictions, e.g. I'm 22 years of age and I can't buy a hard drink at our makeshift club because I'm not an "E5 or above." The town is off limits. It's okay to chase "Charlie" through the rice paddies during the day but don't chase the gook pussy at night because you might get the clap. General company policy changes continually depending on the mood or whims of the idiotic lifers who run it. And there's nothing more fun than shakedowns at 3 in the A.M. which incidentally resulted in a $100 fine to myself because during a search and seize mission by the NCO's they confiscated my rifle from inside a closed padlocked wall locker with a faulty lock mechanism allowing it to be opened without opening the lock. I paid the price for the Army's inferior equipment but, of course, with combat pay, pay raises and longevity (over two years), I'm making a boodle. Almost 300 scouts a month, whee! If they want to get you there are no means too unscrupulous and by Christ they will get you. Lifers are often found sneaking around bunkers trying to catch someone turning on. They get their rocks off over a bust. And a court martial for smoking grass, which the army labels a narcotic, can really screw up a guy's life.
In spite of all this nominal harassment, I can always escape to my job. Uncle Sam spent an alleged 3 grand of our good tax payer's money to send me through 14 weeks of aircraft maintenance school. So what do I do? I sit behind a fucking mechanical monster of a switchboard and plug a jack into the hole that buzzes. (I could teach my 4 year old nephew how to operate it in ten minutes.) And I try to be fast because after 4 months I'd rather hear the sound of incoming mortars (breaks the unbearable monotony) than the incessant buzzing of my fucking switchboard. I mean it.
I'll tell you, Wayne, I know you've got your bitch too. There's just as many ignorant motherfuckers on the outside as there are here, but for Christ's sake, don't let them take your paper away from you because when a man can't do what he has to or wants to do then all his other problems are magnified out of objective proportion.
I'm a comedian, Wayne. That's what I am. I make people laugh at the injustice and the ludicrousness of the Army. I'm lucky because I have this inherent sense of humor that allows me to laugh so that even though I still feel the pain, it never gets me deep. But some of the guys can't laugh, Wayne, and it really gets to them. I had a buddy like that. The fucking Army got to him and he cracked right down to the middle. He was acutely intelligent, but sensitive and innocent and the system was too much for him. He's free now but he'll never be the same because the Army doesn't let you adjust. They grabbed him fresh out of school when he was eager and filled with a vision of the beauty of the world and the stupid, incompetent lifers hit him smack in the puss with their visions of duplicity, deception, robotization, red tape and all their other filth. And now, who knows? I hope he gets over it. That's all I can do now.
So you see Wayne, I'm sure I hate the Army more than you because it's my scene. But I'd still rather spend 3 years in the Army than see the stinking hate mongering Commies and their pawns kick anybody else in the ass.
I see now that I might have let my emotions thwart my purpose, which ironically was the very thing I intended to keep you from doing. So with risk of boring you, I'm going to repeat. I'm with you all the way when you try to squash the draft. The choice has to be the individual's. As a matter of fact the abolition would also eliminate the Army's chickenshit harassment because unless they made it a fit organization, nobody would join. Common sense supported by historical fact prove that a volunteer army is a proud army, an efficient army and the only type of army that should be allowed. Admittedly, no army is a good army, because that's a contradiction of terms, but as long as diseases like Communism flourish and there is one motherfucker left in the world with the ideology of Hitler and a band of sheep to follow him then there will always be the moral justification for an army. But only a volunteer army and when in the fuck are those in power going to take their heads out of their asses and see it. Until then, I applaud every one of you with enough balls to tell the government to shove their conscription cards up their ass. I'm with you, baby, until you cloud the real issues. It isn't an army or the war (although they really fucked it up) that's wrong but it's the goddamned idea that you've got to do it. Well, you don't even have to shit if you hold it.
So keep on bucking them because there's a lot of us over here (this is to you Rich Ketchen) in this God forsaken country that have our morale raised by those of you who finally are standing up and telling it like it is. I wish I could have found you two years ago and then maybe I would have had the balls to do what I wanted to do so bad.
Our way of passing on to you at the AVATAR our highest compliments is saying You guys sure got your shit together.