|Brigadier General Frederick Karch, U.S. Marine Corps (Photo courtesy U.S. Marine Corps).|
The purpose of the trip was to see General Walt, USMC, who is the Naval Component Commander for MACV. We told him that we came up to see how we could help him out with certain problems, but we came away from Da Nang with his name signed to a piece of paper---which was the real purpose of our visit up there. [Clark and Hurow got Walt to sign a document that committed the Navy and Marine Corps to provide logistic support for all troops in I Corps in northern South Vietnam.] Visited also with General Karch, who commanded the first Marines to land in Vietnam. I was very much impressed by Gen. Karch. He is an outstanding man.
|Major General Lewis B. Walt, U.S. Marine Corps (Photo courtesy U.S. Marine Corps)|
The Marines are very persuasive, and I think every one of them is a born PIO [Public Information Officer]. They will talk you out of your shirt if you are not careful, and they are masters of psychology. They even talked hard old me into going into a partnership with them on a special operation---“Operation Harelip,” [Operation Cleft-Lip] in which I am now a senior partner.
I previously wrote about a little girl who had polio who we flew to Saigon from Da Nang for treatment. Well, it just happened that the [Navy] chaplain and [Navy] doctor who pushed that trip and who talked very desperately over the phone with me looked me up soon after arrival to express thanks for the transportation. Well, as soon as they built my ego up to the point where I had a swelled head, the chaplain and the doctor invited me to take a jeep ride up to a new village recently secured by one of the battalions. With a puffed-up head, I consented to go along and that is just exactly what they set me up for with all the profuse thanks.
|Dickey Chappelle, foreground, the Hearst Newspapers correspondent at Da Nang who considered writing a story on Operation Cleft-lip, July 1965. (Photo courtesy U.S. Marine Corps)|
|Major General Stanley "Swede" Larsen, U.S. Army, sleeping during flight from Nha Trang to Pleiku, November 1965. (Photo courtesy Stars and Stripes)|