Tuesday 23 June 2015

2015 - Letters from Malvinas


                                         EDUARDO C.GERDING


There was a campaign at the height of the Malvinas Conflict through which students from various schools wrote letters to the soldiers. 

According to the journalist Diego Perez Andrade covering news for the Telam news agency, letters and parcels from the continent continued arriving to the islands until May 26th or 27th 1

It was a two-way flow: First the children wrote 9 and, as far as circumstances permitted, the soldiers replied..

War veteran Henry Brunt preserved during 30 years many of the letters that the children sent to the front.

In some cases the letters written to the children were the last act that these brave soldiers did before offering their lives to their country. 

Such is the case of the 21 years old conscript and teacher Julio Ruben Cao of the Mechanized Infantry Regiment III General Belgrano of La Tablada who wrote to his students shortly before being KIA in june 10th at the Battle of Mount Longdon . His daughter was born on August 26th. 7.10. The same can be said of 19-year conscript José Luis del Hierro, engineering student at the University of La Plata belonging to the 7th Regiment who wrote to his parents in June 7 and died a week later during the withdrawal to Puerto Argentino. 3

Is it important for a soldier who, being in front, get a letter from someone whom he does not know but with the purity of a child telling how much does he appreciate and admire him ? By all means, and even more so when that soldier has no one writing to him neither from his family or friends and suddenly he hears his name being called to deliver a letter. 11 

In the US there´s a institutionalized group called Team Writer Card (Letter Writing Team or LWT) which is a group of people who enjoy writing to the soldiers. 2.8 

The letter of Eric Trinks

Eric Rodolfo Trinks was six years old in 1982 and was attending the first grade of Gabriela Mistral school (school No. 5) in the neighborhood of Villa Pueyrredón. His teacher was Mrs. Alicia Curti. At that time his brother Paul Walter was 8 years old attending 3rd grade at the same school and his brother Gabriel Germán was 3 years old.

Eric made a drawing of soldiers with the Argentine flag and wrote to someone he didn´t know words like Viva la Patria, Hold on and others. All concepts which sprang with purity and admiration for someone who was defending the islands in the south of the country. 

Gabriela Mistral School (School Nº 5) of Villa Pueyrredón 
(Kindly submitted by Deputy Director Mrs. Adriana Marchionne)

1980-Eric Rodolfo Trinks (Kindly submitted by Eric Trinks)

    1981-From Leith to right: Pablo, Eric Rodolfo and Gabriel Trinks
(Kindly submitted by Eric Trinks)

Eric's letter arrived in the month of April at the hands of 20 years Nurse Able Seaman 1st class Roberto Borello of the Argentine Navy. Borello was at sent from the Naval Hospital Cirujano Mayor Dr. Pedro Mallo to a Coast Guard Patrol Boat. He was far from imagining that would be involved in the first naval air battle of the Malvinas conflict.

1st Grade- Gabriela Mistral School –Eric close to his teacher.

(Kindly submitted by Eric Trinks)

On 1 May 1982 to 15.30hs, days after receiving the letter from Eric, Borello aboard the Patrol Boat Islas Malvinas (GC 82) situated at Berkeley Sound (Combat of Celebroña island) was attacked by the British Lynx helicopter HAS.2 Registration ZX736 commanded by Lieutenant Commander RG Burrows from the Type 1 Amazon class frigate HMS Alacrity .

The Patrol Boat answered the British fire with two 12.7 mm machine guns but after the first shots they jammed. One of the crewmen (Able Seaman 1st class Antonio Grigolato) was seriously injured and the boat suffered damages on her port side and the exhausts of the main engines. The Patrol Boat left for Puerto Argentino.

Our strategy was to maneuver the 12.7 mm gun, which had a stern, but the commander of the helicopter also knew, so we were looking forward. We shot with everything we had, even with the 9 mm and the Falcon. In this English attack, was wounded Corporal Antonio Grigolatto second, who worked as a machinist, who at the time was assigned as a combat outpost high bridge on the port side. Grigolatto was a brave crew acted under attack, despite the pain of his wounds, and he had been hit by MAG in the abdominal area. 6

Nurse Able Seaman 1st Class Roberto Borello could hear the screams for help coming from the bridge. He passed his Fusil Automatique Léger (FAL) to another Seaman and ran to the place where the attack was taking place. 6

The Engine Seaman Antonio Ramón Grigolatto was hit in the abdomen. Borello cut the overall with his bayonet and found an inlet in the right upper quadrant with an outlet in the ipsilateral lumbar region. While Grigolatto was being transported they suffered another barrage which sent Borello and his patient rolling downstairs. 6

While being at the aid station (the Commander´s cabin), Borello found Grigolatto was suffering a hipovolemic shock so he quickly put two IV lines and started volume expanding fluids. Petty Officer Second Class Marcelino Blatter noticed that the anchor was jammed so he quickly cut its rope with a handsaw thus allowing the immediate transport of the wounded.

The Commander Lieutenant Jorge Carlos Cárrega being informed took course towards Port Stanley where an ambulance would be waiting. Grigolatto underwent surgery and saved his life. Borello assisted the rest of the crew.

Years later Borello remembered how he broke his FAL on deck and threw it to the bay. He left the patrol boat carrying the image of the Stella Maris Virgin wrapped in a flag and concealed in his clothes thus avoiding any requisition. Borello embarked in the merchant ship Yehuin which took him to the icebreaker ARA Almirante Irizar. He later delivered in the Ezeiza airport the Stella Maris image to the rest of the crew.6

Patrol Boat Islas Malvinas GC -82

A Royal Navy HAS2 helicopter like the one which attacked the Argentine

Patrol Boat Islas Malvinas. 


Roberto Borello answers the letter

According to Eric, this was one of the few letters that were answered of the thousand that were sent.

We must keep in mind that by that time the situation could not be more algid as the cruiser ARA General Belgrano had already been sunk and the HMS Sheffield too. Forty-eight hours later the Royal Marines and paratroopers from the British Task Force would disembark in San Carlos Bay. On the 23rd the Type 21 Frigate HMS Antelope was sunk by Argentine A-4B Skyhawks Group 5 and on the 25th the Patrol Boat Río Iguazú (CG 83) displayed an outstanding action.

Borello answered his letter to Eric on May 19th and when it arrived to the Gabriela Mistral school there was an uproaring. All the school authorities were present in his grade. Eric's mother, Marta Aida Paganini, teacher was then 31 and received a xerox copy of such letter.

Mrs. Marta and her husband felt they were part of history and decided they would look for Borello and those who signed the letter.

That same day May 19th The New York Times published a sharp letter by Cornelius F. Murphy Jr. Professor of the Faculty of Law at Duquesne University and Member of the United Nations Association in Pittsburgh disputing the British military actions. 12

Why was this letter important for the Trinks family? Eric explained to me that both his mother and father Ricardo Santiago Trinks always taught him respect for elders, for authority, for other fellows , the values of effort, loyalty, truth and other virtues strengths which were key to become good citizens. The letter crystallized the experience of someone who had the mission nothing less than to keep alive the crew in case of attack.

The letter of Nurse Able Seaman 1st class Roberto Borello

Malvinas Islands May 19, 1982

Dear Buddy:

First I'll tell you roughly that the one who writes you is motivated as a result of who we are and where we find ourselves. With all the respect that a healthy and humble creature like yourself deserves I advice you to read this letter with your schoolteacher. I wonder where is my schoolteacher now. I´d like to show her the man she educated and tell her how it feels to be away from home claiming all this issue well known to every Argentine

Well, I'm a Nurse Able Seaman 1st class Borello Roberto Daniel of the Argentine Navy sent to our Malvinas Islands. My mission as any soldier is to fight the aggressor, but above all to assist the wounded who may fell in combat.

Your letter has been the one that moved us most among the many others. It has reminded us so many beautiful things of childhood. Always remember that you are an Argentine and never let anyone speak bad about your country. Many of us will remain o 
in these islands so you´ll be able to visit them and remember.

Keep studying and improving in life assimilating the advices of your schoolteacher. I´m sure you´ll always remember her with all your strength. It was a great encouragement for me .Keep on that way so tomorrow you´ll be a good man and who knows maybe you'll be one of many others who´ll live in these islands. 

The following men who sign are willing to fight. Here we are those who fought and those who encouraged me to write.

Affectionately a grateful soldier.

We are all with the Coast Guard crew . The first to fight against the aggressor.


Hugo Cruceño   Juan Teixeira    Raúl Hormazabal    A.Dominguez

Adrián Fernández      Roberto Borello      Carlos Agüero (Army)

Ayte Marcelino Blatter      Ayte Roberto Moiana        CSNA Córdoba

PS: If God allows us to return to our homes soon I will invite your principals and teachers to navigate in the Coast Guard Patrol Boat 82 along the beautiful waters of the River Plate. If any teacher happens to know Miss Amalia Soriano send her my most respectful greetings.

The search of Borello

It was Eric's mother who started the search for Borello. She wanted to know if he lived, to meet and thank him for all he had done for our country. She was aware of a campaign of desmalvinización. Mrs. Marta went to the Army and even searched in the subway where some veterans were begging. She searched in the Navy´s Edificio Libertador, in the Air Force Edificio Condor and in the Army´s regiment in Palermo.. She explained to them that the reason for the search was to take Robert Borello home to meet him and show him their admiration. But mistrust reigned. Although he showed them the letter she was asked: Why do you want to know ?.

The hard two years search stopped when Eric's father became ill because she had to take care of him. Marta later resumed his teaching in Districts 16 and 15 worked and spent , the past two years in School Nº 2 (Juana Manuela Gorriti) District 15

Marta always read this letter to her students..

When Eric was 17 his father died. Ricardo Santiago was a dentist and suffered from a heart disease. He had taught their children that it was better to live fully a month than a year bedridden. Eric began working at age 17 advertising two programs in Radio Rivadavia. A work he could do at home. 

In February 1999 Eric received his public accounting degree at the University of Belgrano, He was awarded a scholarship that demanded a minimum of 7 in his qualifications. His first job as an accountant was an internship at Exxon Mobile 1994.

Several years later, Eric´s brother in law Germán Rodríguez bought an Argentine helmet from a British soldier. Inside the helmet he could read an acronym with the name of the Regiment so he went to look for its owner. During the search he became friend with war veterans Esteban Tries and Sergeant Manuel Villegas (Mechanized Infantry Regiment 3 of La Tablada) 4. 13

It was precisely Esteban Tries Trinks who encouraged Eric to resume the search for Robert Borello. In fact, Esteban gave lectures at Mrs. Marta´s school

Eric had also in mind that the meeting with Borello could have a different emotional outcome.

In 2011 Eric read in Internet an article written by the author entitled: The South Atlantic Conflict: Its aftermath. 5 There he read about Borello´s hardship aboard the GC 82 and tried to locate him through Facebook.

Finally on May 6th, 2011 Eric, Mrs Marta and Germán met Borello in a bar in Villa Urquiza´s neighbourhood.

On May 22, 2015 Eric, his mother and his brother Germán attended the ceremony where the Prefect General Luis Alberto Heiler distinguished by the performance of their work as Navy nurses aboard the GC 82 and GC 83, during the Malvinas Conflict to SMEN (RE) Roberto Borello and SIEN (RE) Oscar Guzmán. All this was done as well as a tribute to the actions of the Argentine Coast Guard in the Malvinas conflict and Remembrance of the Naval Combat of the Patrol Boat Río Iguazú GC 83 in 1982.

2010-Eric Rodolfo Trinks and his mother Mrs Marta Aida Paganini

(Kindly submitted by Eric Rodolfo Trinks)

2015-At left .the SMEN (RE) Robert Borello receives distinction from the 

Argentine Coast Guard. At his left SIEN(RE) Oscar Guzman and nurse 

Ms. Doris West of the Formosa. (Photo taken by the author)

2015. The SMEN (RE) Roberto Borello is congratulated by the 
Minister of Security Cecilia Rodriguez during the ceremony for the 
33rd anniversary the Argentine Coast Guard during the Conflict of 
Malvinas. (Kindly submitted by Roberto Borello)


  • Adriana Marchionne-Deputy Director School Gabriela Mistral (School Nº 5) DE 16- José León Cabezón 3446. CABA
  • SMEN(RE) Roberto Borello.
  • Marta Aida Paganini de Trinks.
  • CPN Eric Rodolfo Trinks-Estudio Trinks & Asociados-Nahuel Huapi 5050-P:5-Dpto: D -CABA


  1. Audrito, Denise-Guardó 60 cartas que los chicos mandaron a Malvinas y ahora quiere encontrarlos-La Voz del Interior -24 Mayo 2012. http://www.lavoz.com.ar/ciudadanos/guardo-60-cartas-que-chicos-mandaron-malvinas-ahora-quiere-encontrarlos
  2. Brencher, Hannah-Love Letters to Strangers-The importance of hand-writing letters-June 12, 2013. https://clairenecessary.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/the-importance-of-hand-written-letters/
  3. Calvo, Javier-Carta de un soldado argentino escrita poco antes de morir. Perfil.4 de abril de 2007.
  4. Fernández Díaz, Jorge-Rescatando al Sargento Villegas-La Nación- 11 de julio 2009.
  5. Gerding, Eduardo C. –El Conflicto del Atlántico Sur de 1982: Sus secuelas. http://www.cursosparamedicos.com/newsite/pags/ac_cient/monos/estres.pdf
  6. Gerding, Eduardo C.-GC 82 and GC 83-El Grupo Notingham-Malvinas. http://www.malvinasnottingham.blogspot.com.ar/2013/10/2013-gc-82-y-gc- 83.html#.VV90dFKR3KA
  7. Gerding, Eduardo C-Relatos de Monte Longdon- El Grupo Notingham-Malvinas . http://www.malvinasnottingham.blogspot.com.ar/2014_10_01_archive.html#.VV94HVKR3KA
  8. Letter Writing Team-http://soldiersangels.org/letter-writing-team.html
  9. Malvinas carta de niños a los soldados-Diario Andino-Abril 2 de 2014.
  10. Malvinas, la carta que leeran en las escuelas-La Nación-Abril 2, 2011
  11. Moser, Rod PA, PhD-The importance of letters- http://blogs.webmd.com/all-ears/2012/07/the-importance-of-letters.html
  12. Murphy, Cornelius F. British Military Action violates the UN  charter-The New York Times, May 19th, 1982-
  13. Tries, Esteban-Los soldados de Malvinas no somos víctimas ni  pobrecitos-La Noticia1.com-2 de abril de 2014. http://www.lanoticia1.com/noticia/esteban-tries-los-soldados-de-malvinas-no-somos-victimas-ni-pobrecitos-49739.html