Finding Aid for the David T.D. Erickson Vietnam War correspondence and other materials 2022.247.w.r

Andrew Harman
Center for American War Letters Archives
Leatherby Libraries
Chapman University
Orange, CA 92866

Contributing Institution: Center for American War Letters Archives
Title: David T.D. Erickson Vietnam War correspondence and other materials
source: Hall, James
source: Hall, Marla
Creator: Erickson, David Theodore Darrell, Sergeant, 1949-1982
Identifier/Call Number: 2022.247.w.r
Physical Description: 0.4 Linear Feet (3 folders) (2 compartments) (2 objects)
Date (inclusive): 1961-1972
Abstract: This collection contains correspondence from SGT David T.D. Erickson, USA to Andrea T. Kubacki during the Vietnam War. Also included are various materials belonging to Erickson, including hats, photographs, and other assorted militaria.
Language of Material: English .
Container: Vietnam 2
Container: 17-18
Container: 1-2
Container: WWI Uniforms 3

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of James and Marla Hall.


This collection is arranged by material type, the correspondence arranged chronologically.
  • Series 1, Correspondence
  • Series 2, Photographs
  • Series 3, Militaria

Biographical / Historical

Sergeant David Theodore Darrell Erickson, United States Army (11/15/1949 - 1/31/1982) was born in Hammond, Indiana to Claes Theodore and Inez (from Sweden) Erickson and attended Hammond Vocational-Technical High School until 1968. He enlisted in the Army on February 7, 1969, with a reenlistment in 1974.
David served in the US Army and trained Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and Fort Sam Houston, Texas before a station with the 6th Army at US Army Hospital Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) in Yuma, Arizona. He deployed to Vietnam as a medic with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division "Tropic Lightning" and arrived at Cam Ranh Bay on February 4, 1970 before travelling to Biên Hòa and Củ Chi where he attended the combat training academy called the Tropic Fighting Academy. Later that year he was moved to the outpatient clinic at the 95th Evacuation Hospital (Semimobile), and after mustering out of country he went to Fort Dix and then Frankfurt, Germany with HHC 1st Battalion, 35th Armor Regiment, 1st Armored Division.
On April 9, 1970 David's heroism and actions to save lives in battle earned him the Army Commendation Medal for Heroism, bestowed May 25, 1970. Just weeks after the first incident, on April 26 his acts of heroism to save more lives after being seriously wounded earned him the Bronze Star Medal for Heroism, which was given to him May 24 and included a "V" device for Valor.
He reenlisted in July 1971 and after a short leave, and changing from a 91B medical specialist to a 91C clinical specialist, reported to Fort Dix and was redeployed to Vietnam with 161st Medical Detachment and later the 126th Medical Detachment, 95th Evac Hosp (SMBL). After returning home he worked as a clinical special emergency medical technician (EMT) at Madigan General Hospital, now Madigan Army Medical Center, in Joint Base Lewis-McChord outside Tacoma, Washington. He was discharged on September 14, 1977.
After David's return from Vietnam sometime in the summer of 1972 he quickly married Andrea Therese "Andi" Kubacki (born around 10/1950) on August 25, 1972. Due to circumstances relating to workplace harrassment while working as a physician's assistant in Washington, David took his own life on January 31, 1982 (Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals, State of Washington:

Preferred Citation

[Item title / description; Box "n" / Folder "n"], David T.D. Erickson Vietnam War correspondence (2022.247.w.r), Center for American War Letters Archives, Chapman University, CA.
For the benefit of current and future researchers, please cite any additional information about sources consulted in this collection, including permanent URLs, item or folder descriptions, and box/folder locations.

Content Description

This collection contains 40 letters and 11 postcards from SGT David T.D. Erickson, USA to Andrea "Andi" Kubacki, his future wife, during the Vietnam War. Also included are five blank postcards, three letters from Andrea to David and other correspondence, several photographs, two clippings, and various materials belonging to Erickson, including three Army issued hats, driver's license, engraved Zippo lighter and watch/lighter, as well as various rank insignia, medals and ribbons, and other military related pins and patches. List of the various materials are provided below.
Note: most letters do not include original envelopes, and David's correspondence includes several blank postcards.
David's correspondence begins with a few postcards in August 1968 apparently on his way to training in Texas. He then wrote in February 1969 from Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and discussed his travel and training schedule. He continued to write about his training, moving in April to Fort Sam Houston in Texas to a medical training unit. There is sparse correspondence during this period until he moved to Yuma Proving Ground in August. On September 19 he writes explaining how he would love to marry Andrea but wants to wait until he can assure security; financially as well as stating "We can't lead nice peaceful lives because we don't know what country I'll be in a month from now." He continues:
Honestly, I'm not afraid to go to Viet Nam, because I know we're better trained, better equipped...Lastly, Andi, I want to go to Viet Nam, because we're Americans. Everyone owes this country some much...I don't want to be given citizenship...I want to earn my citizenship. I want to do something for America."
David wrote his first letter from Vietnam on February 14, 1970 (arrived February 4). He describes his unit and where in Vietnam they landed and all the places he goes, continuing for a few letters while describing his work. On March 5 he writes about a "hard spot called Pine Ridge" and his work as a medic for 3rd platoon and their return to Fire Support Base Kein (FSB Kein), as well as several letters for the remainder of the year mentioning his work with immunizations; for both servicemembers and local civilians.
On August 2, 1970, David describes coping with combat. He writes, "To tell you the truth, I really don't know how I feel about much of anything, not how I really feel. Because I don't really feel anything anymore, not the way that I used to. When you see a lot of people blown away you either become less sensitive or you go insane. It's a natural mental defense." He goes on to explain he doesn't care for "the World" and the future for the moment; "Caring and being a sensitive individual in a war zone just doesn't get it."
In October David went on a trip to Hong Kong (sent a postcard) and in November to Sydney, Australia. Upon return he was given notice that he would be leaving Vietnam, shortly after learning that he would be moved to Germany with the 4th Armored Division. In January 1971 he wrote a letter detailing his travels, including travel from Shannon, Ireland to Frankfurt, Germany and trips through Goeppingen (Göppingen), Erlangen, and Nuremberg. He mentions that since he is in a tank unit, "I will be spending some time out in the field playing games." He goes on to describe those "games" as alerts, practice for a European conflict, and his roles, as well as the day-to-day maintenance and other activities.
The letter dated July 19, 1971 inclueds a strip of photo-booth photographs of David in uniform. In that letter he tells Andrea that he will be returning home in August on a "reenlistment leave," further explaining to her why he is reenlisting and why he did not tell her. He tells her, "I know how you feel at this moment Andi but I'm just being logical and trying to think ahead, and that is sometimes painful as hell!"
On September 24, he wrote from Camp Baxter where he'd been transferred with 126th Medical Detachment and the next letter dated October 24 was written from Vietnam, in which he writes about a typhoon and their hospital's cleanup.
David continues to write into 1972, a couple letters each month, describing his activities and them movement of his units, as well as some attacks leading up to the Tet holiday and casualties in Da Nang in April.
The last letter from David was dated May 6, 1972 and he describes the situation in the war and his vantage point. He mentions the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) getting "the hell blown out of it" and "We're in a good location to see all of it; B52, air strikes by fighter bombers, air strikes by air force spector, and snoopy gunships, and 175, 155, 105 artillery."
Other correspondence includes three letters from Andrea, all written February 1969 shortly after he left for basic training. Also included is one letter from an unknown author, one telegram relating to David's reassignment, one letter to Andrea and David from "Mom and Dad" dated August 24, 1977, and one letter from someone named "Sami" or "Shmi" dated September 1979. The last correspondence is a short note along with resume and references for Patrick Murray, sent to David in December 1981.
Other materials and documents include:
  • 1 booklet, US Army Recruiting Station, "This is how it is"
  • 19 photographs, David in uniform, he and others at work in the Army hospital, one unknown soldier in uniform, four photographs of Andrea, and one of David and Andrea at a dance
  • 1 driver's license, state of Washington, David Erickson
  • 2 stickers, American flags
  • 1 decal, member, NCO Association
  • 1 booklet, "Your Army Pay", February 1973
  • 1 ration card, US Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, issued November 1971
  • 4 cards issued to David Erickson
  • 2 cards, Army rules of conduct and personnel rules in Vietnam
  • 6 prayer cards
  • 2 clippings, David Erickson new position announcements
The various items collected by David Erickson include (located in WWI Uniforms Box 3):

Insignias, ribbons, and medals

  • 5 patches, small, green cloth, US Army Combat Medic Badge
  • 1 pin, silver, US Army Combat Medic Badge
  • 1 cloth, green with three insignias, US Army Combat Medic Badge
  • 1 badge, in blue plastic sleeve, Madigan Hospital Emergency Medical Team
  • 1 patch, red, Pierce County Emergency Paramedic
  • 1 patch, green, 1st Armored Division, "Old Ironsides"
  • 1 patch, green, 25th Infantry Division
  • 1 patch, green, Army Service Forces
  • 1 patch, Oliver Taxi and Ambulance Service
  • 1 nametag, Erickson, Clinical Spec. EMT
  • 1 nametag, David T.D. Erickson, LPN, EMT
  • 1 nametag, Erickson, Madigan General Hospital, Clinical Specialist Course
  • 5 ribbons, in package, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Vietnam Service, Good Conduct, Air Medal
  • 5 ribbons, loose, Bronze Star with 'V' device, Army Commendation with 'V' device, Presidential Unit Citation, Vietnam Campaign, National Defense Service Medal
  • 1 medal, Good Conduct Medal
  • 4 packages, ribbon devices, 2-pack 'V' device, 6-pack star device, one oak leaf cluster, one Vietnam Campaign Medal date attachment

Miscellaneous realia

  • 1 hat, green, US Army cap with Combat Medic Badge and Specialist 6 rank insignia
  • 1 hat, green, US Army uniform cover with gold Army insignia
  • 1 hat, green, US Army field cap, embroidered "Vietnam 70 71; Doc; ACO 2/12 25th INF DIV"
  • 1 lighter casing, Zippo, see below for engraving
  • 1 lighter, gold with clock
  • 1 dog tag, David T.D. Erickson
  • 1 pin, US Army medical
  • 1 pin, Madigan General Hospital
  • 1 pin, 35th Armor Regiment crest
  • 2 coins, Thai Bhat currency, ca 1960s

Zippo lighter engraving:

  • Top, side one: David Erickson, Viet Nam, Cambodia, 70-71-72
  • Top, side two: 3rd Herd Medic, A Co 2/12 INF, 25th INF DIV
  • Body, side one: Yea though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death I fear no evil for I'm the evilest son of a bitch in the valley
  • Body, side two: You've never lived til you almost died April 9th, 26th 70

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this material except where previously copyrighted material is concerned. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain all permissions.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Vietnam War (1961-1975) -- Correspondence
Vietnam War (1961-1975) -- Vietnam.
Cambodia -- History -- Civil War, 1970-1975.
War -- Medical aspects
Hall, James
Hall, Marla