Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (59.43 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Table of contents What's This?

box Vietnam 5, folder 1-4, folder 1-4

Series 1, Correspondence from Bruce M. Pilch, Pre-Vietnam 1966 July - 1967 September

Physical Description: .32 Linear Feet(4 folders)
Language of Material: English.

Scope and Contents

This series contains correspondence that CPL Bruce M. Pilch wrote to his family in Van Nuys, California while in basic training and Infantry Training Regiment (ITR). Pilch ended training with the rank of Lance corporal. Pilch wrote the pre-Vietnam letters from Camp Pendleton in Southern California, Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, and from the Marine Corps base in Barstow, California. There is also one picture included with a card on November 20, 1966.
Pilch writes about life at the various bases. He also discusses entertainers and musicians, including Frank Sinatra and Bill Cosby. Pilch also writes about the Los Angeles Dodgers in several letters.
Letters of interest include one from December 19th, 1966 in which he writes about a Marine being taken away in a straightjacket and another Marine who was threatening to kill a Corporal. In a letter on November 11, 1966, Pilch mentions the election of Ronald Reagan as California governor.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Vietnam War (1961-1975) -- Correspondence
California -- Camp Pendleton
North Carolina -- Camp Lejeune
Marine Corps Supply Center -- Barstow, CA
box Vietnam 5, folder 5-7, folder 5-7, box Vietnam 6, folder 1-3, folder 8-10

Series 2, Correspondence from Bruch M. Pilch, Vietnam 1967 November - 1968 November

Physical Description: .66 Linear Feet(8 folders)
Language of Material: English.

Scope and Contents

This series contains correspondence that CPL Bruce M. Pilch wrote to his family in Van Nuys, California while serving in Vietnam. Pilch was with the 81mm Mortar Platoon in Khe Sanh during the Battle of Khe Sanh. Pilch also writes letters from Phu Bai, Con Thien, and the USS Princeton. The letters discuss activities in Vietnam, military operations, and R & R procedures and locations, including China Beach. Pilch also writes frequently about events at home, including news events and entertainment events. He also writes often about the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Letters of interest include a letter from November 17, 1967 in which Pilch writes about Major General Bruno Hocmuth being killed. A December 25, 1967 letter discusses President Johnson's trip to Saigon.
In a letter on February 17th, 1968, Pilch reveals he is in Khe Sanh and discusses "Operation Scotland." A February 9, 1968 letter also refers to "Operation Scotland." In an April 1st, 1968 letter, Pilch writes about President Lyndon Johnson's decision to not run for reelection and also writes about "Operation Pegasus."
In a May 24, 1968 letter, Pilch writes about the 26th Marines receiving a President Unit Citation for Khe Sanh. A few letters in June 1968 refer to Bobby Kennedy's assassination. An October 22, 1968 letter mentions memorial services for Marines who got killed at LZ Mango and the DMZ.
A few letters also mention the book "I Protest!" by David Douglas Duncan about Khe Sanh.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Battle of Khe Sanh (2nd) (Vietnam : 1968)
Vietnam War (1961-1975) -- Vietnam.
Vietnam War (1961-1975) -- Correspondence
box Vietnam 6, folder 4, folder 11, box Oversize 1, folder 18

Series 3, Ephemera 1966 - 1968 February

Physical Description: .04 Linear Feet
Language of Material: English.

Scope and Contents

Items in this series include a letter to CPL Pilch's parents announcing his arrival at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, a Marine Corps recruiting service business card, and a birthday message that Pilch wrote to his father on a large piece of cardboard. The card is dated February 28, 1968 and reads "Happy Birthday-Dad from Khe Sanh-Vietnam".
The donor says he made the message using cardboard from the "outer sleeve of a case of C-Rations." He also writes "My Dad told me that he was shocked when the mailman knocked on his door to deliver it."