Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam

Synopsis: A documentary featuring letters written by U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines during the Viet Nam War to their families and friends back home. Archive footage of the war and news coverage thereof augment the first-person 'narrative' by men and women who were in the war, some of whom did not survive it.
Director(s): Bill Couturié
Production: HBO Films
  Won 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 5 wins & 2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
84 min

Hey, it's 104 degrees,


and if that doesn't wipe you out,

a jammed weapon will.

Remember, guys, keep it clean

and keep your head low.

"Hi, Mom. Well,

I'm fine today.

And I hope that you're

in good shape also.

Today I am swimming,

washing and taking in the sun.

The beach is great.

The sand is white

and the sky is clear.

Boy, I wish every day

was like this,

then I wouldn't have

any problems while I'm here."

American casualties

in Vietnam,

killed and wounded

now exceed 300,000.

More than 39,000 killed

and more than 258,000 wounded.

"Dear folks, this is your

on-the-spot correspondent

in the Big 'Nam reporting.'

"Hi, honey, I had

a hell of a day yesterday."

"Dear Sue, thank you

for the wingtips.

Only one question:

Where do I wear them in Vietnam?"

"Darling, I am sitting down

to write of my love for you

and the horrors of war."

"Actually, I'm writing because I have

to, or go out of my mind.

Things happen over here

you just can't..."

"Mom, I appreciate

all of your letters.

For a while as I read your letters,

I'm a normal person.

I'm not killing people

or worried about being killed."

"Darling, believe me, I try not

to skip a day in writing you.

Whether or not I get a letter determines

if it's a good day or not."

This is London...

Switzerland calling...

...South America...

And here is the news.

Three Communist P.T. boats

attacked an American destroyer

off the coast of Vietnam


And today, President Johnson's

response was hard and tough.

He has ordered the U.S. Navy

to continue patrolling there,

and if they are attacked

to destroy their attackers.

To any armed attack

upon our forces

we shall reply.

To any in Southeast Asia

who ask our help

in defending their freedom,

we shall give it.

You can't win in Asia.

So I am not going to go along

with this kind of a program

in South Vietnam,

at least with my vote,

that in my judgment is going

to kill needlessly

untold numbers of American boys,

and for nothing.

"Dear Dad, well, here it is.

We've been told that our whole company

will be shipping out to Vietnam

after advanced infantry


Our company commander and our

battalion and brigade commanders

told us there's no sense in trying

to fool ourselves, we're going for sure.

The only thing

that makes me mad

is how do they expect you

to tell your parents."

"I don't mind going, but there are some

guys here who just won't make it.

And I don't think

they'll make it out alive.

Your son, Bob.

P.S., tell Mom not to worry.

It's nothing I can't handle."

All right, settle down,

settle down.

"Dear Uncle and Aunt,

some people wonder why

Americans are in Vietnam.

The way I see the situation,

I would rather fight and stop

Communists in South Vietnam

than in Kincaid, Humboldt,

Blue Mound or Kansas City.

And that's just about

what it would end up being.

The price for victory is high

when life cannot be replaced.

But I think it is far better

to fight and die for freedom,

than to live under

oppression and fear.

Your nephew, Jack."

- What state are you from?

- Charlotte, North Carolina, sir.

North Carolina?

Charlotte, yeah,

- I know it well. Good luck to you, lad.

- Thank you, sir.

"Dear John, well,

in 360 days I'll be home.

Try not to worry

too much about me.

I know that will be


but it doesn't do anyone

any good.

Love, Bobby."

"Chris, I finally got

to my unit yesterday.

Our mission is to find V.C.

and kill them.

I should be operating like this

for the next two months

before I get a chance

to take a shower and sleep in a bed.

What a life.

There are absolutely

no comforts in our job.

I carry nothing but a razor

and a bar of soap for comfort.

We wear the only clothes

we have

and wash them in rivers

and streams as we cross them.

You were right.

I managed to get myself

right in the middle of it all."

"Dear Tom, hi, how are you?

I hope all is well at home.

Everything's okay here.

My whole squad is

all a bunch of screwballs.

Eddie's running around

with an insect bomb

cursing the bugs.

The mosquitoes that come out

at night are man-eaters,

but the insect repellent

keeps them off.

It's safe in the daytime. We stand out

in the open or work on the bunker.

We can run up and down

the hill with no worries.

But at night we've got to stay

in the bunkers, as snipers sneak in.


"P.S., send some Kool-Aid.

The water here

tastes like sh*t."

I think I got

a booby trap here.

Roger Whiskey,

I have a booby trap...

trip wire tied

onto a branch,

grenade on the end of the trip wire.

Spoon is out.

"Dear Mom and Dad, the way

we move without contact

I begin to wonder

if the V.C. are even out there.

All the time

you know they are.

The great frustration is

that they don't come out and fight."

Be careful now!

Watch yourself.

"Dear Red, anyone

over here who walks

more than 50 feet

through elephant grass

should automatically

get a Purple Heart.

Try to imagine grass

possessing razor-sharp edges

eight to 15' high, so thick

as to cut visibility to one yard.

Then try to imagine

walking through it

while all around you are men possessing

the latest automatic weapons

who desperately want

to kill you.

You'd be amazed at how much

a man can age on one patrol."

"We're all scared.

One can easily see this emotion

in the eyes of each individual.

Rate this script:5.0 / 1 vote

Richard Dewhurst

Richard Dewhurst (May 26, 1826 - October 13, 1895) was an American lawyer, judge, banker and lumberman from Neillsville, Wisconsin who served in the Wisconsin State Assembly for four single discontinuous terms over four different decades (from the 1850s to the 1880s) under four different political party labels (Republican, Union, Liberal Reform and Independent); and was defeated twice when running for election on the ticket of a fifth party, the Democratic. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 18 May 2024. <>.

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