Friday, February 4, 2011

Diary Entry 20: Saigon, Sunday, 4 July 1965

                                                                                      Sunday, 4 July 1965

Am at the office working today and while we have a few minutes lull in all the stormy activity, thought I could very profitably use the time to write.  Colonel Plate has gone up to the front office so I’ll write as much as I can before he brings back the next flap.

Grady took me on his security inspection last night to a restaurant and nightclub called the Moulin Rouge.  It’s a real fancy place and was loaded with US personnel, some of whom Grady says are generals.  I saw only one that I recognized.  I can see why US people get zapped.  There isn’t much security.  A few police out front and Grady says secret police in civilian clothes, but it would be real easy to blow it up.  Even I can see that.  It is a prime target as only US and rich Vietnamese go there.  After Grady checked with the uniformed police and some of his secret police, we sat down and looked over the crowd and he made some notes on who was there.  I guess they keep tabs on who frequents what place and who they talk to.

Grady also told me that the Rex BOQ is pretty high on the VC list to get zapped.  This is the BOQ where nearly all the full colonels and a number of lieutenant colonels live and nearly everybody eats there as the dining room is excellent and they offer a meal plan. However, Grady showed me some diagrams on how it could be bombed very easily.  Some Saturday night, I would not be a bit surprised to hear about it.  I eat breakfast and lunch there every day, but have taken to going to the Hong Kong BOQ for supper, as that dining room does not have too much traffic.  It’s a little inconvenient to make a pretty long trip from the BOQ to the Hong Kong, but I may keep my skin longer that way.  The way that US people keep pouring into the Saigon area, the Rex gets more and more saturated, and it’s just as well to avoid crowds no matter where they gather.

This morning have been working on some plans and a few memorand[a].  Every now and then the phone rings and we have some silly something to do.  But considering all, it’s less frenetic than usual.  This afternoon I hope to get over to the PX (which is on the other side of town) and buy some soap, toothpaste, etc.  Supplies were running low.  If nothing comes up, I may be able to make it this time.  Every other time last week that I planned to go, it seemed like someone else planned for me not to go.  And I didn’t.

Since this is a US National Holiday (4th of July), I wouldn’t be surprised if the VC didn’t try to do something that would get in the headlines.  I understand most responsible US types are working or staying close to BOQs, but there will be a lot of GIs in town probably from the 173rd Airborne Brigade at Bien Hoa that could get hurt.  They stick in packs of 40-50, and like most paratroopers head for the bar districts.  On the 20th of July, I expect plenty of activity as this is the VC National Holiday in observation of the date when the Geneva Accords were signed in 1954 dividing North and South Vietnam and granting diplomatic recognition to Communist North Vietnam.  I plan to work that day or stay in my room.  A number of incidents are likely.

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