Dear Mom and Dad,
I love you,*
Give Sis a big hug for me. Its three days before Christmas, but the war stops for no one over here.
When I come home I am not sure that you will recognize me anymore. Yesterday I lost one of my best buddies. We were making an assault on some nameless village in the bad part of Da Nang. I was following XBadger who was cutting down VC on the left and right in front of me. Then he charged an enemy tank like a madman. It happens sometimes, something snaps and a guy goes crazy, thinks he is Superman or something.
It's hard, Mom, to get over something like this, and that's why I say I'm gonna be different. I'm not smiling anymore. Nothing is funny anymore. Everything is serious now.
Once I get out of here I never want to hear another word about Vietnam or wars. You read in papers about demonstrators and all this other bull . . . they ask why we are over here. Well we're stopping communism over here instead of in the people's backyard back home in the USA. And we're doing a damn good job over here and we'll keep doing a good job. Our Marine Corps saying is "Death Before Dishonor."
Anyway, Merry Christmas all. I'm gonna have to rush off now. I'll write more later. God Bless you all.
I love you,*
*From a letter home by Marine Joe Pais to his mother in Raton, New Mexico, August 30, 1965.