It's Lonely Here in Hell - love letters from Nam

This book is dedicated to the memory of

PFC James Dennis Piper

April 28 1947
April 11 1967

In 2010 Michelle (Micki) Phillips (previously Micki Piper) approached me and asked if I would be interested in writing a story based on love letters from the Vietnam War era. While my writing at the time leaned toward romance novels and cub reporting my interest was piqued. When she informed me the letters she was referring to were letters written to her from her husband who died from small arms fire in the Vietnam War leaving her a young widow, my heart broke.

To be allowed the intimate glimpse into her life, the life she shared so briefly with her young husband, and to then share his letters with the world was without a doubt an honor I would not take lightly.

How better to honor, not only her husband’s memory, but the memory of all the servicemen that never made it home to hold their wives, their daughters, their sisters, their mothers.


March 1950 President Harry Truman approved a National Security Council (NSC) Memorandum 64 proclaiming that the French Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos) was a key area that could not be allowed to fall to the communists and that the United States would provide support against communist aggression in the area.

August 1964 North Vietnamese attack two U.S. destroyers sitting in international waters, the incident became known as the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. In response to that incident the U.S. Congress passes the Gulf of Tonkin resolution which gave President Lyndon Baines Johnson authorization, without a formal declaration of war by Congress, for the use of conventional U.S. military force in Southeast Asia.

March 2, 1965 Operation Rolling Thunder commenced: a sustained aerial bombing campaign of North Vietnam.

March 8, 1965 the first combat troops arrived in Vietnam.

July 1966 James Dennis Piper received his draft notice to report on August 1, 1966
On April 11, 1967 PFC James Dennis Piper was killed in action.

This is his story.

Each letter written by Piper is transcribed verbatim, excluding only highly personal words to Micki and responses to her letters that I do not have.

After each dated letter I have carefully researched and correlated events that took place on that date in Vietnam and in America, creating not only the view of the soldier but the view portrayed by the media, the CIA and President LBJ. A full circle effect.

Back Cover:
April 9 , 1967, in a letter from Jim Piper to his young bride Michelle, he writes, "I thank God each night for my wife and my life and also enjoy every breath that I take and praise every morning I wake up too. It means another day gone, another day I'm alive, and another day closer to being home with my wife forever."

PFC James Dennis Piper was killed in action two days later, on April 11, 1967 in the jungles of Vietnam.