Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Diary Entry 36: Saigon, Wednesday Night, 28 July 1965


                                                                                                   Wednesday Night, 28 July 1965

This has been a pretty pleasant day for Vietnam.  And on reflection tonight, it is kinda hard to say whether the pleasant aspects are due to:  1) General Crowley’s being away in Hawaii; 2) The VC being quiet; or, 3) my very outstanding managerial talent.  On careful consideration of all aspects, I’m inclined to believe that it is due to me.  Maybe I have a few things under control now.

This has been a light work day.  This morning was spent on paperwork such as preparing a staff study, writing some messages to the JCS and Commander in Chief Pacific, and going to various unimportant meetings.

This afternoon had 3 appointments to meet.  Right after lunch went out to High Command to talk with General Nhon [South Vietnamese Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics] about the rice lift. Seems like General Ky [South Vietnamese Prime Minister] needs a little publicity up in the highlands, so the Vietnamese government wants us to fly some loads of rice to Ban Me Thout which is south of Pleiku.  General Ky will be on hand to make a speech to show how he performs magic by making the Americans fly rice to the Vietnamese.  Rather sarcastically, I might add that the only magician is LBJ.  We can cut off Ky’s “horn of plenty” anytime we want to.  Don’t care much for him myself and neither do most of the Vietnamese.  Quite a dictator type.  In 10-11 years, Ky might be old enough to be a general in the USAF!  Kinda wet behind the ears [At the time, Ky was thirty-eight years old, one year older than Clark and the same age William Westmoreland was when the U.S. Army promoted him to brigadier general.].

In mid-afternoon went over to MACV I headquarters to argue with the J-3 people about an operation they have planned [Operation HIGHLAND].  They did not consult with us (J-4) on it, and in my opinion the paratroopers who drew it up have a size 44 chest and a size 4 brain.  Waiting to see whether my argument wins or loses.

Late this evening went over to the Vietnamese Ministry of Economics where a joint military-civilian group discussed operations at the port of Da Nang.  All they wanted me present for was to figure out a way to get 7 100-ton barges from Saigon to Da Nang by US means. Somehow will figure out a solution.  Most of the time I’ve got more problems than I have solutions!

Came to the BOQ and had a supper of cheese spread, crackers, potted meat, and pineapple juice on the roof patio and watched the flares go up down at Nha Be port.  This is certainly a strange kind of war when you can have a snack and watch the war going on.

The President is going to speak here at midnight tonight, so will stay up to hear him.  Bet he’ll say that the situation in South Vietnam causes him “concern,” that more US troops will be committed, and that some Reserves and National Guard will be called up.  So will take a shower and turn the radio on.

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