Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Diary Entry 35: Saigon, Sunday Night, 25 July 1965

                                                                                                       Sunday Night, 25 July 1965

Lots of difference between Korea in 1950 and Vietnam 1965.  In 1950 I could march 25 miles a day with a full pack and stay up most of the night listening for trouble.  In 1965 as a lieutenant colonel, get to feeling washed out by 10 p.m. and haven’t even done any fighting!  I believe that I feel better and look better in the field because I’m out in the field walking and looking and being a soldier.  There are few pressures on you out in the boondocks other than staying alert.  

Clark as a second lieutenant in Korea, 1950.  (Photo courtesy Richard P. Clark, Jr. collection)

 The efficiency expert who is here [Colonel Arthur Hurow, U.S. Army Transportation Corps] is on my side.  He agrees with me that it is kinda ridiculous to try to run airplanes and boats from a joint staff headquarters.  He agrees that the Air Force is expert on airplanes and should run that operation; that the Navy is expert in boats so they should run that operation.  So he is going to propose that we get out of operations.  Suits me fine.  I understand how we got into this business because of the advisory effort, but we have now gone much beyond that point and it is time we changed things.  If this comes to pass, I don’t know what my job would be.  Maybe I will have reorganized myself out of work; but expect I could get another job.  General Crowley wouldn’t let me go, and [Colonel] Lew Ashley has been after me to go to work for him [in J-1], and General DePuy (the J-3) has got several places for me if I ever want one of them.  So I don’t really worry about getting a job if this one goes KAPUT.  What I really would like to see is a small section of about 4 officers and 4 EM in Movements Branch running some review and analysis studies on operations.  Am convinced (but can’t prove now) we are flying cargo to Da Nang from Saigon, then hauling it back to Saigon by boat.  Would like to study and analyze shipments.  One of the things we need to do is travel more, but I’m having no luck in convincing people of this. In my opinion I should go back to Honolulu (CINCPAC) once a month if for nothing more than to let the people there know what conditions are at ports, beaches, and airfields.  Ought to go to Oakland Army Depot once a quarter to keep them informed, and once every 6 months to DCSLOG [Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, US Army] in Washington. Virtually no luck at all selling these ideas, mainly because everything is a crash project over here.  I have most of the facts and figures, so no one wants to let me get out of telephone reach.  Nice to feel important, but we really aren’t getting the important things done.

General Crowley’s cocktail and dinner party was kinda flat.  I excused myself right after dinner and came to the BOQ.  Parties and dinners aren’t much fun over here.  Am too apprehensive.

Major Angelo L. "Al" Grills, U.S. Army.  (Photo courtesy U.S. Army)

[Major] Al Grills came with Major [Gerald] Pershetz who is General Crowley’s special assistant, and I talked with [Al] at some length.  He is a sector advisor at Soc Trang, down in the Delta.  He almost finished a tour here and will be going home in August.  Has an assignment in Washington with DCSOPS [Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, US Army].  His family stayed at Leavenworth for a while, then moved to Georgia.  Didn’t ask him where.  Al does not look good.  Looks quite drawn and sickly.  Sure hope I don’t turn out that way.  I don’t think a person recognizes how this place really affects them.

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