From the collection of the National Park Service, National Mall and Memorial Parks.
Handwritten letter addressed to "Doc" and referencing U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CW2) Billy Dean Pedings. The letter is from a friend and fellow comrade, "Robert Shockley", and in content discusses the circumstances by which the author learned of CW2 Pedings' death in Vietnam while assuring Doc what a special guy CW2 Pedings was. The letter goes on to offer an apology that, "[...] we never got to meet back at the G.R.B. in Diego - but such is the luck of war", and informs Doc that the world has changed; i.e. that yuppies have replaced hippies, that short hair for women is in, and that a laughable movie (the "Rambo" film franchise) now depicts Vietnam veterans on the big screen. The letter closes with the lines, "Doc - we did have good times and I'll never forget them. / So long guy!" The artifact was left at The Wall along with another handwritten letter (VIVE (1808)) by Vietnam veteran Robert Shockley between December 1985 - January 1986.
HANDWRITTEN LETTER WHICH REFERENCES U.S. ARMY CHIEF WARRANT OFFICER 2 (CW2) BILLY DEAN PEDINGS. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF A LETTER HANDWRITTEN IN BLACK INK AND CURSIVE SCRIPT/ARABIC NUMERALS UPON A RECTANGULARLY SHAPED SHEET OF WHITE, LINED, FIVE (5)-HOLE PUNCHED SPIRAL NOTEBOOK PAPER. THE LETTER IS FROM, "ROBERT SHOCKLEY", IS ADDRESSED, "DEAR "DOC" ", AND SPEAKS TO THE ADDRESSEE ABOUT HOW LIFE HAS CHANGED FOR THE AUTHOR SINCE THE VIETNAM WAR, HIS SORROWS REGARDING THE LOSS OF HIS FRIEND BILLY (CW2 PEDINGS), HIS REGRETS ABOUT NOT GETTING TO MEET THE ADDRESSEE, "BACK AT THE G.R.B. IN DIEGO", AND HIS BEMUSEMENT ABOUT THE REPRESENTATION OF THE VIETNAM WAR IN FICTION (SPECIFICALLY, THE "RAMBO" FILM FRANCHISE). THE LETTER CLOSES WITH THE PHRASE, "DOC - WE DID HAVE GOOD TIMES AND I'LL NEVER FORGET THEM". THE OBJECT IS ASSOCIATED WITH VIVE (1808).
Text of the handwritten letter is transcribed in full, as follows: [Handwritten letter, obverse object surface] "Dear "Doc", / Well I finally got to say ta-ta to Billy - I still can't believe it has been 16 years - it seems like yesterday when he got orders to the Med and we went to Nam - I feel real shitty that the only time I saw him was that time his unit just got to Nam and we met the 2 nurses at that hospital - I herd [sic] he got it from a friend of mine on the medavac [sic] flight from Japan. / Billy was one special guy who dreamed of so many things - I only dreamed of going home. / I made it and he didn't. / Doc - I'm sorry that we never got to meet back at the G.R.B. in Diego - but such is the luck of war. / I wish that we had those times back - but what the hell would we do - we're 16 years older now - and so much has happened - I don't know where to begin to start - hippies are gone and something called yuppies are in. / Women are different and short hair is in! / Movies are being made about Nam and we could really laugh at them - Some guy called "Rambo" goes back to Nam" / [Handwritten letter, reverse object surface] "to free the POW's & MIA's - We could have won the war with this guy Rambo - but so much for fiction. / Doc - we did have good times and I'll never forget them. / So long guy! / "Shock" / Robert Shockley"
Item Weight: 3.1g
Item Length: 26.5cm
Item Width: 20.25cm