August 25, 2006
letter was given to me by
Joan Lee, sister
of Thomas Van Campen
(pictured here), both of her parents have passed away.
Airborne Brigade (SEPARATE)
San Francisco, 96250
Apr. 22, 1965
Mudda, hello, Fadda, here I am in Okinawa.
H O! HO! HO! Well
I bet you’re wondering if my ship sunk, or I ended up in Davy Jones’s
Locker, or what. Well, I arrived here safely and am getting
along famously. My job here in the finance office is different
from the one I had at Bragg. I am a combination clerk typist
and driver. I like the working conditions here a lot better
because everything is on a much smaller scale. I spend much
of my time driving around the island to find out where everything
is. Last weekend Jordan and I went cave exploring. There
are still a lot of the caves left that the Japanese used during
We found some bullets and bones in one cave.
You wouldn’t believe how inexpensive some things are here.
You can buy an eight piece set of hand-painted china for around
$10.00. there are also many other bargains from tailored Italian-silk
suits to handmade lacquer-ware, for which Okinawa is world famous.
We have to sleep with mosquito nets although there aren’t too many
mosquitoes this early in the year.
Did Fred go to Alaska?
If so, send me his address there. Jordan had been here for
a month before I go here. He wondered what took me so long.
The boat trip took fifteen days. We stopped in Honolulu for
a day. Things are really expensive there. It is a beautiful
place though and the climate is wonderful. The boat trip was
something. The guy sleeping above me threw up all over me
one night. Before I forget, would you order me another subscription
to the Mercury. It’s nice to know what’s going on around Oroville.
You ought to see the television programs they have here. It’s
funny to see Hoss Cartwright or Charley Wooster talking in Japanese.
But I think the funniest one is “I Love Lucy”. Another thing
I like about working here is that the people are a lot easier to
work with. They’re always in good humor and they stay off
your back. I am on office C.Q. tonight, which means, that
I have to sleep here in the office and keep an eye on things.
This isn’t bad at all because it gives me a chance to use this typewriter
for this letter.
How is Pat and the family? I wish I
had had a chance to see them before I left. Give her my address
too. I feel like a giant here. All of the people seem
I think the average height is about five foot-three.
Did you have a nice Easter? I ran into a priest here that I knew
from Fort Ord. Excuse me a minute while I get some coffee
before the cafeteria closes. Whew, just made it. A hot
dog and a cup of coffee sure hit the spot late at night.
by the way, I haven’t forgotten about that $17.00 I owe you.
You’ll get it as soon as I get paid.
What a pity, here I sit
with over $100,000 and a loaded .45. I could make a clean
It’s a shame I’m so honest (HA, HA, HA,)
can probably tell by the way I’m typing that I’m getting pretty
tired, so I better hang it up for the night, and sack out for the
More on Thomas next week
I used this letter because it tells about our
young soldiers, full of life and spirit with that youthful sense
of humor. Thomas was lost in Vietnam just two months after
this letter was written.
He and 10’s of thousand’s of American
men like him will be honored on the steps of the Veterans Memorial
Hall, September 15th at 6:45pm.
We will have our POW/MIA Recognition
Day with Ted Grainger
as our M.C. and music by
Jim Mangus. I sincerely hope you will mark your calendars
James Townsend, one
of our newest members, has started off running.
He is the
brother of Oroville Veterans Memorial Park Co-Chair,
He and his father Jim
have organized a Tri-tip and Chicken BBQ dinner fund raiser
for our memorial. It will be at the Veterans Memorial Hall
on Montgomery Street, September 9th, 2006, from 6:00 to 7:30PM.
The tickets are $15 in advance and $17.50 at the door. Tickets
can be purchased from any OVMPC member also at Bill Connelly’s
office at 5280 Lower Wyandotte Rd. near the corner of Las Plumas
For more information you can call James at 589-5748.
We want to thank Bill Fox
and crew for cooking and serving Hot Dogs at the Concert in the
park last night at River Bend Park. They were great.