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Thursday     7 March 68

Dear Mom & Dad

This war in Viet Nam is worse than I thought it was. We stay out in the fields every day fighting V.C. (Viet Cong) both day and night.

Our missions also include day & night ambushes & searching of villages. Our mission today is to search out villages. Every day we have to carry 65 pounds of equipment and that gets pretty --------- heavy after about 4 miles.

So far since Iíve been here, our platoon leader, lieutenant Pershing , Grandson of General Pershing died, 6 others died & 28 wounded. In my company, 2 died in their foxholes at night from grenades.

Iím alright. I feel good & healthy and I pray every day & night. So far Iíve been in Viet Nam 2 months and every thing looks good. By the way Iím sending $100.oo home & next month Iím going to send $150.oo.

I hope the family is alright & donít forget to give my friends my address.
God bless you. Pray for me and Love me always.

Sincerely Yours
Your Beloved Son
Michael Angelo Shramko

P.S. (Donít send my gifts to me because there is no place for me to put them). Write me often now and if any body wants to know my address give it to them & tell them to write me.

Michael Angelo Shramko
A Company
1st Battalion
502nd Airborne Infantry
KIA March 8, 1968
Battle of Ap Dong Lam
Thua Thien Province



This is a transcript of what I believe to be my brothers first and last letter that he wrote us from Viet Nam.

My name is Philip Andrew Shramko.

As I was reading the stiff and fragile letter that I found in my mothers old Bible, I was moved to rewrite the letter in order that a record could be made, and that the actual letter be preserved, and yet be shared with others who may be interested in it.

As I was writing the letter, it was as if I were in the same dark place my brother was when he wrote it, in some shabby bunker held together with mud and sacks, in order for it to withstand a mortar round or two.

It was dark, and he knew he had to get up early to do it again. There was only a little time for rest and hardly any time to write. But he had to do it now! So he made it short and to the point. This letter helps to answer many questions that surrounded my brothers untimely death in the field of action.

It may help those who survived the war and have remembered him in combat; to remember him a little better. I am deeply thankful to those of his unit who tried to help us understand what happened to him on that Day in March 8 1968, the day after he wrote his first letter home.

I salute you all who gave the best you had to give to defend each other and hold up the name of our nation, for what ever it was worth. It surely was not worth the death of so many young and brave men. May the Glory be to One Nation under God!

Ití s funny. Iím not superstitious, but On the 7th of march, 68 at about 9:30 p.m. I was lying in bed when I heard Two loud cracks of a fire arm, and with each crack, I felt a pearcing in my guts as if someone on the roof across my bedroom had fired two bullets into my abdomen. That would be around 11:30 A.M. March 8 Hanoi time?

When I examined myself to see if I was hurt, and I saw that I was fine, a great fear came over me. I feared for Michael.

At the funeral on the day when my brother was being buried and the soldiers fired the 21-gun salute, those guns sounded similar to the ones I heard that fearful night.