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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Billy Dunn VN 1967

(C) James J Alonzo

The first time I laid eyes on Billy Dunn, I thought to my self, "Shit, now they are sending us California surfers!"

As he walked towards me i saw a 6' tall, blond hair, 18 year old that had the swimmers thin body. He had been sent to me by the first sergeant to replace a man we had lost a couple of weeks ago.

"Dude, you the squad leader?" , he asked.

"The names Sarge, and yeah i am," i said, "your bunk is over there."

"Groovy man!!" he said.

Billy Dunn had the California vocabulary that at times could be annoying to me, using words like groovy, Dude, far out, easy, Coool, etc, etc.

However, Billy Dunn turned out to be a jovial character, singing songs of the 'Beach Boys', and other surfer tunes. He became popular with the rest of the squad, because of his lay back ways.
Also, because he had a lot of girls back home writing to him and even sending him "goodie packages", stuffed with cookies, candy, cakes, and other incidentals that we couldn't get here in the Nam. And he always shared.

Mail to and from Viet Nam took a week each way, so when a goody packaged arrive some of cookies might be a little stale. Letters were another thing, by the time your girl got your letter and responded, you forgot what you wrote her about.

Mail call was always a happy occasion, especially when it involved Billy Dunn, because he got a lot of letters and packages, i couldn't figure out how he kept track of those letters. But it was the photos that really made him popular. He used to get letters and photos from all his girls, this too he shared, especially the photos of semi nude and nude girlfriends.

After he had been in country for a six months he went to Hawaii for five day R & R. (rest and relaxation) some of the men chose Hong Kong, or Australia, or Thailand. Billy chose to meet his favorite gal in Hawaii, and his best friend was coming too.

When he got back he announced that he bought with cash a brand new 1967 Corvette, and that he got married too! A beautiful girl named Maria. We all were in shock, especially how he elaborated on his sudden marriage, purchasing his new vehicle, and giving his new wife his "power of attorney."

"What about your other girlfriends," someone asked.

"I dumped them", Billy Dunn responded laughing proudly, "This is truly the one!" Billy then went back to telling his buddies about his new corvette and his equally lovely wife Maria.

A month later, at base camp, it was the monsoon season, and raining heavy, Billy Dunn got a letter, and they had a name for this type of letter. It didn't matter if your name was Billy, Tom, or Daniel, this letter covered them all. Billy got a "Dear John" letter.

It seemed his new bride decided that being married to Billy was not as great as living with Billy's best friend. Billy's new bride included divorce papers, and a "oh by the way", she sold his new Corvette and is keeping the money.

Billy Dunn was no longer a jovial character, he told no one about his Dear John letter. He just sat around for throughout that rainy day, and kept reading the same letter. One of his buddies saw him sitting in the rain, and asked,
"Dude, what's up? You ok?"

"Yeah, I'm easy man", Billy would respond, "Every thing's cool dude! Just leave me alone."

Billy Dunn went into the latrine that night, and with his squad leader's 45 calibet pistol, blew his brains out!

Billy Dunn's new wife, and war widow, when notified that he died, immediately asked about the widow's benefits, and Billy's life insurance.

(true story, named change to protect the innocent and guilty)

© Copyright 2011 James J Alonzo All rights reserved.
James J Alonzo has granted Agent Orange Legacy its affiliates and syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.

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