22 September 2007

A Voice From the Past

These letters are the last sent home by Bill Kildare. Bill had already served a 4 year hitch in the Marines, reaching the rank of Sgt. He had gotten out and was attending Texas A & M University. His brother, Mike, had joined the Marines and was wounded near Khe Sahn. Bill dropped out of college when he finished the semester and re-joined the Marine Corps. At the time, only one son at a time from a family was required to serve in Vietnam, so Bill volunteered to go to Vietnam so Mike could come home. He was offered the chance to become a 2nd Lt., but turned it down and came as a private. In the first letter he had joined 1st Plt. Golf Co. (my unit), and we were guarding a radio relay station on a mountain west of Camp Evans. In the second letter, the entire Bn. had moved north and by the 13th of Sept, 1967, we were operating near Con Thien.

Bill Kildare died on Sept. 21, 1967 after only a month in Vietnam. His brother, Mike, made it home okay. Bill is a fine example of the men I served with. He didn't have to be there, but out of love for his brother and his country he paid the ultimate price.

His letters are compliments of his sister, Christine Trollinger. For more about Bill, see her tribute to him on this blog.

Bill Sellers
Golf 2/4

Letters From Bill Kildare August 30th, 1967

3D Marine Division, FMF, Vietnam

Wednesday Morning
30 Aug 67


Been meaning to write to you, but just have not got around to it. Excuse the dirty paper, but it’s all I have got.

I spent a month and a half in California after leaving Ogallala. Had a lot of fun while I was there. We left Cal on July 14, & spent the next 5 weeks in Okinawa going through training. We got to Vietnam a week ago on the 21st. Went looking for Mike, and found out he got pretty badly wounded on that day. I tried to see him but they won’t let anyone near him due to burns. I’m just praying for him and now in the thick of things.

I’m in a machine gun squad so will probably see a lot of action before I get back to the states. So far, they have been shooting at Charlie all around me, but I have not seen him yet.

We are about 30 miles north of Phu Bai, on a hill (mt?) next to Camp Evans. It is hotter than hell and all we get to eat is “C” rations. Worst of all there is nothing but water to drink.

You don’t get beer unless you are in the rear, which we are not.

How is everything with the tree business? How many men are you working now?
Not much more to add, so will close. Write.


Ps, Address is on the envelope.

Letter Bill Kildare – Received after his death


Thurs Morn
13 Sept, 67


Sorry I have not written. I had to get your new address from the folks. How do you like living in Arkansas? Do you know yet where the RR will send Gene, when he finishes his training for the KCS?

How is my little future Aggie Nephew Randy doing? I’ll bet he will be excited to have a new brother or sister. Wish I could be there to see your adorable new rug rat. I can’t wait to be Godfather to a new Aggie Recruit. (Don’t let that Arkie Gene get all the say in their sports team.) I know he will have them being Razorback’s but I can always dream.

Don’t tell the folk’s, but I am a Machine Gunner and it’s not pretty. I don’t want them worrying what with Mike being wounded and all. I tried to see him but they wouldn’t let me. Don’t worry, he will be fine, just bunged up some.

Pray for us all. The guys here are first rate Marines and I am proud of everyone of them. And pray for me…”I swear if I survive this “Hell hole,” I will never raise my hand against another human being.” This is a dirty job, but the Marines as always don’t shy from difficulties.

Sorry to be such a short note, but I gotta go, “Charlie” (enemy) is raising hell all around us.

Hug Randy for me.

Semper Fi!


Ps. Address is on the envelope. Mail is slow.

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