Thursday, March 3, 2011

Diary Entry 37: Saigon, Thursday Night, 29 July 1965

                                                                                                           Thursday Night, 29 July 1965

Today has been what I call “plans and problems day.”  What time wasn’t spent on planning was spent with problems.  And plans took the biggest part.  Morning was spent planning on 3 operations.   [The first operation was the arrival and throughput of the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, which arrived at Cam Ranh Bay today---29 July.   The second operation was Operation HIGHLAND, in which the 1st Brigade was to secure a base at An Khe for the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), which was en route from Fort Benning, Georgia.  Three areas required the paratroopers' attention in order for the 1st Air Cav to safely debark, deploy to An Khe, and establish a combat base camp:  First was Qui Nhon, where the 1st Cav was scheduled to land; second was securing Highway 19, which linked Qui Nhon with An Khe and would provide a land line of supply and communication for the division; and third, securing An Khe, the location of the 1st Cav's base camp.  The third operation was the imminent arrival and throughput of the 1st Air Cav Division at Qui Nhon.]

The 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division arrives at Cam Ranh Bay aboard the USNS LeRoy Eltinge, 29 July 1965.  (Photo courtesy U.S. Army)

Didn’t resolve anything at the meetings so am sending one of my officers off on a traveling and fact-finding tour beginning tomorrow---Major Metheny is going up-country to try to find solutions to some of the problems I’m wrestling with.  Maybe a fresh mind will be better than mine.

Next week am going to start some traffic analysis on the airline before it breaks down.  In June, we transported 94,000 passengers to various points.  This is about twice as many Americans as we [had] here [at that time], so some people are traveling a heck of a lot.  Want to find out why and for what purposes, so will send my Navy man, Lieutenant Commander Schaefer, out to ride all scheduled routes for a week to collect answers.  He shouldn’t mind it, as he is a Navy pilot.  Kinda envy him as I like to get out of the office once in a while, but have been told that the boss can’t be gone too much except by certain routes and certain types of aircraft. They tell me I have too much knowledge of plans and programs in my head and it would not do for me to get into the wrong hands.

Still got my fingers crossed to get out of operations so I won’t know anything anymore.  Be like the rest of the MACV staff officers:  FAT, DUMB, AND NOT RESPONSIBLE.

Went down to the Hong Kong BOQ mess near where I work and made arrangements for a promotion party today to be held Friday, 13 August.  On entering the dining room, guests must cross in front of a black cat chained to the doorway, walk under a ladder to get in, and will have some 1 cent mirrors for the braver ones to smash with a hammer.  Made arrangements for hors-d’oeuvres and cocktails only.  Limited guests to 25 officers in J-4 and Transportation Division to include General Crowley.  Vietnamese guests will be General and Mrs. Nhon (expect them to decline), Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics; Colonel and Mrs. Xoi, Chief of Transportation; Colonel and Mrs. Tho, J-4 of the High Command; and Major and Mrs. Chie, aide to the Prime Minister.  Hired a photographer to take pictures.

Am beginning to look around for another place to stay in spite of the fact that the Ham Nghi is nice and I like it.  Major Carter still wanders around at all hours of the night and the open doors and odd hours don’t help my sleeping habits.  Tonight when I came in from work he was a good bit under the weather from drinking and barely able to navigate.  He left about 9 o’clock for who knows where and he probably won’t be in till after midnight at which time he’ll forget to lock the door and I’ll have to stay up to see to it.  Plan to check with the billeting officer to see if I can’t get a single room somewhere.  Taking care of myself is a big enough job.

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