Dec 7, 1965

To Ben


(EDITOR’S NOTE: Following are excerpts from a letter from Charles Black, Enquirer military writer in Viet Nam, to Ben Walburn, Enquirer managing editor.  Black has been with elements of the 1st Cavalry Division during heavy fighting recently.)


“Dear Ben:

“. . . the Plei Me campaign turned into a hell of a thing.  I made the entire operation up until the Second Brigade under Col. William Lynch came in to take over.  I was with the ambush, . . . the hospital fight. . . a village clearing. . . I also got in on the Plei Me relief and a few other affairs.

“I thought we were finished one night of that ambush but some great people - including Capt. Danielsen (Capt. Theodore Danielsen) - got us out of it.  I got a bullet through a PAVN (People’s Army of Viet Nam) ammunition pouch I carry cigarettes in. . . we were pinned down seven times trying to get back to the patrol base where we had three more hours surrounded by a battalion (of Viet Cong). . ..

“I have seen a lot of PAVN dead.  They are catching hell from these kids, just no way to describe how tough these riflemen are.  They are the best I’ve ever seen and the fighting is as hard and mean as any that has ever been seen by the American Army.

“When I get back I’ll make up for the copy you’ve missed while I was out in the brush.  The story was out there, and from here to the Cambodian border, or out in the Ammonite Mountains, is a long way and the country just doesn’t permit any communications.  I’ve been out for 20 straight days, for example, on one of these things.  If I had come in I would have had to have spent about seven days just commuting and would have missed the sequence of events.

“. . . I have a lot of material and a lot of people have liked the idea of me going out there with the guys. . .

“I’ve had one exclusive after another here which I just had to commit to notes and even give to other guys so my writing would agree with the headlines when I got to do it. . .

“I’ve been pretty poorly in health. . . same old stuff everybody has. . . headaches, chills, sweats, etc., but I don’t think anything serious.  About 41 guys evacuated out of this one administration company with it but I don’t think it is that serious.  They show up again in four days cussing the hospital, so I think I’ll just rough mine out here at An Khe. . .


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