Gooks and Tootsie Rolls

We haven’t had hot chow for the last week and tonight we are going to, I can’t wait I’m about to starve eating the C-rations 3 times a day.

I thought of another thing you could send me is candy bars like Almond Joys, Mars, Tootsie Rolls, Mounds or anything like that. You’re giving me all the pleasures of life.

I thought that I might add this. I am in the 3rd platoon and we call ourselves the Gook Killers. And our platoon sergeant from Ohio said you were Gook Killer Mother of the Year. That’s good coming from a bunch of boys because of all the goody packages.

Well I am going to close for now. I am going to have the guys remind me each night to try and send a letter.

Letter home postmarked 12 Sept 1967

My dad referred to his enemy soldiers as either VC or gooks in his conversations with me, never anything else. I never judged him for it. I wasn’t there, I’ve never fought in a war, and I abhor political correctness viewing it as policing personal opinion. I think perhaps attaching a less than human sounding name makes it easier to justify one’s actions. Even under orders and while believing that one is fighting for a worthy cause, in this case stopping the spread of communism, killing wasn’t taken lightly. Hence the term gooks, while defined as derogatory in the OED, to the American soldier it meant the enemy, the one who would kill them if he had the chance.