Digital Commonwealth

Ronald Wayne Schrum Papers, 1966-1968

University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries Special Collections and University Archives

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Born in Richmond, Va., in 1946, Ronald Wayne Schrum served as a corporal in the 9th Engineer Battalion, US Marine Corps, during the Vietnam War. Based in Chu Lai, on the coast 56 miles southeast of Da Nang, the 9th Engineers were responsible for the maintenance of bridges and roads, and perhaps most importantly mine sweeping. Schrum was wounded in action in August 1967, returning to duty after a short recuperation. While on leave in May 1968, Schrum married his fiancee Carolyn Ann Garrett, and the two settled in Virginia after the end of his time in service. Schrum died in Glen Allen, Va., on June 20, 1995. A compact record of one marine’s service in Vietnam, this collection contains letters written by Ronald Schrum to his fiancee describing his duties as a combat engineer near Chu Lai. Covering only the months from Jan. 1967 to Nov. 1968, they include accounts of mine sweeping, fire fights with the Viet Cong (including one in which he was wounded in action), the Tet Offensive, and life on base, and increasingly as the couple approach their marriage, the letters are marked by a longing for his wife and home and a literal counting down of days remaining in service.

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