April 2010


Found Letter: From a Soldier in Korea

A long time ago, back when I lived in Wyoming, I bought a used book and inside it found a letter from Lt. Mike A. Campbell written to Mr. Frank Campbell.

The letter was written back on July 24, 1977, (when I was 3 years old!) and mailed from an APO address, presumably Korea given the letter’s content. Do you remember when it was possible to mail a letter for 13 cents? I don’t.

I kept the letter, moved it with me to Indiana, and promptly forgot about it. Occasionally I would see it and then I would put it back where I found it. The ultimate storing of it was when I put it into one of the boxes I kept in Bloomington for long-term storage—boxes that I went through for the first time in six years this week. I’d sort of wondered what happened to the letter and so when I spotted it at the bottom of one of the boxes I was thrilled.

The handwriting is incredibly neat—Completely unlike my handwriting—so neatly printed that one can easily read it:

Dear Frank

The box with the clock in it arrived in good shape earlier this week. Thank you very much it will go well with the mirror type decorations I already have. My room here in Korea is such a dump I won’t try to use it here but I will repack it and send it home so I will have it at my next assignment.

I assume that you have received your camera by now. If not check with the postal officials in Grand Junction. The package was sent via registered mail and you will most likely have to pick it up yourself. I don’t think that the company can pick it up but I am not sure. Anyway be sure to let me know the status on that as soon as you can.

The weather here in Korea is terribly hot right now. Temperatures are in the 90s with humidity to match. My room only has a fan to keep it cool at night and that can hardly do the job. This past week has been a real bitch too. I am the on call duty officers and I haven’t gotten three hours sleep at one time without the phone ringing. You feel like a damn zombie after a week of that shit.

Still don’t know where I am going when I leave Korea. Would like to find out something soon but have been too busy to look into things like that. Our office has been going through an awful lot of changes the last week or so. We have a new G-2 and almost everyone else has arrived since I did. The new boss got pissed at our two drivers, two zeros, the other day and fired them. They took it upon themselves to take an afternoon off without checking with anyone. They needed to be fired about as bad as anybody ever did but we are in a pinch as far as transportation is concerned.

Mail has been real screwed up the past ten days or so. I don’t know if Mom and Dad went on vacation or not. I hope that works out the way they were planning.

I have been using my camera a little more but haven’t gotten the pictures back yet. The Koreans do such a shitty job on that type developing that I have had to resort to sending my film to Kodak in Hawaii. That costs a little more but takes a whole lot longer. Hope it is worth it in the long run.

Well that is about all of the news from here. Thanks again for the clock.



Really the only thing I couldn’t read was the signature. There’s clearly a y at the end of it, so I expect “Mikey” but there’s a c before something that looks like an l – but it really doesn’t matter. Nobody can read my signature—not even me.

6 comments to Found Letter: From a Soldier in Korea

  • How thought-provoking. They must have been brothers, but who were they and what became of them? I also like the dated references to film development and postal delivery.

  • Have you considered trying to track them down?

  • I’ve wondered about them for awhile — but I have no idea how to try and track them down. The last name is way too common for it to be easy–and when I tried the sender’s name as in the return address slot, I came up with a young professor at a university in Pennsylvania.

    I like the idea that it’s a handwritten paper letter — something that is done way too infrequently these days!

  • prashanth

    Obviously both of them loved photography!!….

    apart from that, I think its a simple letter which will crush the hollywood stereotype related to war time letters to back home!….a relief actually!

    thanks for sharing!

  • I think his nick might be Mickey if not Mikey.

  • My guess would be that his nickname if “Mickey”.