A series of 49 Vietnam War letters have been digitized, transcribed, and added to the North Dakota Historic Documents collection on Digital Horizons. The letters were written by James A. Murray to his family back home in North Dakota. The letters range from his time in basic training to his time on the front lines. One really gets a sense of a scrappy young man, who grows and matures as he witnesses the realities of war.
James A. Murray, a native of Montpelier, North Dakota, is the son of Angela (Stott) and James Murray. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on March 13, 1969, and went to basic training at Fort Lewis, Washington. This was followed by Airborne training at Fort Benning, Georgia, in which he had to quit for medical reasons. He was sent to Vietnam in September 1969, as part of 4th Infantry Division, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry, C Company. He was stationed near the locations of Pleiku, Ban Me Thuot, Bu Prang, An Khe, and the Binh Dinh Province in Vietnam. He was wounded in action and received the Purple Heart. He also received the Army Commendation Medal for Valor, Air Metal for combat flights in action, and Combat Infantryman Badge. He was discharged at Fort Hood, Texas, March 12, 1971, at the rank of Specialist 4th Class. Mr. Murray is a resident of Bismarck, North Dakota.
The letters can be viewed online at Digital Horizons - North Dakota Historic Documents Collection
These letters are being released in conjunction with the release of the Ken Burns series The Vietnam War on PBS, and Prairie Public’s project, Prairie Memories: The Vietnam War Years.