In Their Own Words

Read passages from letters written by Texas soldiers who died in Iraq.

For the feature article “Letters Home,” we photographed correspondence written by Texans who died in Iraq. Because we could not include all the letters we received from soldiers’ families in the pages of the magazine, the text of some additional letters appears below. We have not corrected spelling or grammar; instead, the letters appear exactly as they were written.

As of the publication of “Letters Home,” 75 Texans had died in Iraq.


First Lieutenant Doyle Hufstedler III, 25, Abilene

To his wife, Leslie, who was expecting their first child. Hufstedler was killed on March 31, 2004, when an improvised explosive device hit his armored personnel carrier in Habbaniyah. Leslie gave birth to their daughter, Grace, in May.

27 Nov 2003

Love Bug,

… I received a few letters last night and was so thriled to here it went well. Hopefully I will be able to call on 1 Dec and find out how that appoptment went. Keep sending the tapes! They do make me sad but I still want to listen to them. I think its realy cool you are going to be able to viedo tape the next ultrasound! So, do we find out the sex on the 1st or after that? I just cant wait to find out I’ve been thinking alot about name and I realy do like my name for a boy but I understand you don’t I did however like you suggestion of Matthew David But I kind of worry about what Matt would think! This just poped in to my head this morning but thought for a gril, Chesson Ashely, Im not sure I like it though. It just kinda poped in to my head like I said… .

… Hay while I am thinking about it there are some things I would like you to send me if its not to much trouble. Some of it my be difficult to do and if it is don’t even bother. I need a coffe cup, thermos, pack of cigarette lighters, and 4 package of 1st Leutnet Pin on Rank (black). Ill need the rank for when I get promoted in a few months. That will be nice it a realy big raise on top of the raise we will get in January. Hopefully we will still be able to save some money after the little one comes.

You will have to let me know how the Aggie TV game goes even though I think I already know the outcome. Is it in College Staion or Austin? I guess its not realy that important. I just kinda want to know. Well I am going to drop this in the mail and see if any showed up for me today! I dout it though most everyone has the day off for the holiday. I love you so much and miss you teribilly. I can’t wait I get home! I love you baby!



29 Nov 2003

Love Bug,

I so much enjoyed geting to talk to you on Thanksgiving espicialy for so long. I hope I said I love you enough! I didn’t think we would actully be able to talk for forty mineuts as most of our phone conversations are so matter of fact. I guess with more time to talk we didn’t have to worry about matter of fact things. I miss you so much and can’t wait till I get home and can hold you in my arms. I love you baby.

I’ll tell you what I am supper excited waiting to get my packages you sent, espicialy the one with the Christmas tree. I am going to put it up as soon as I get it just like you always want to put it up the day after Thanks Giving. Just think next Christmass we will have a little one to buy presents for. How nice will that be! I tell you what I just cant wait to see what you got me, espicial since Harrold went with you to get it. I absolutely can’t think of what it might be. Guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

Our mission went well yesterday and we even found some more weapons! We found 3 RPG-7 launchers, 8 RPG rounds, and 181 mm mourtor round. Today we are back out at the ASP which has become extremly boreing most of the time. Its kinda nice however because every one leaves you alone for the most part.

I think tomorrow I will give myself a hair cut and take a hot shower if they have water. Hopefully we will have mail tomorrow. Also as we have not received any in about 3 days on account of the holiday. As always baby I love you and miss you, and I’ll meet you in my dreams!



… I am just so excited about Grace coming and can’t wait to hold here and you in my arms and take walks in the evening, except know with a stroller. I can’t wait to take you for ice cream and just go for drives. Just think I’ll be home soon and we will be doing all of those things. I love you so much baby and will call and write very soon.

!I love you!



9 Dec 2003

Love Bug,

… Carrying on I got several letters from you yester day from the 13th and 19th of November. In one of them you talked about stayin in Charrlotte to have the baby! I thing that is a good idea, espicialy since you like the doctor so much, and besides that means our baby won’t be a geographical yank… .

… I am so excited about being a father, its going to be so much fun! And yes we can try to eat lunch every day when I get home. That would be awesom.




Master Sergeant Kelly Hornbeck, 36, Fort Worth

To his parents, Jeff and Camille. Hornbeck served in the Army’s Special Forces. He died on January 18, 2004, of wounds that were sustained two days earlier, when an improvised explosive

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