Sunday, March 27, 2011

Diary Entry 53: Saigon, Friday Night, 3 September 1965

                                                                                                  Friday Night, 3 September 1965

Don’t know whether this has been a good or bad day, probably some of both.  It has at least been interesting and sometimes fun.  One thing I can say about my work is that it’s never dull! 

Lee Surut called to say he was on the way back to Okinawa to ship Trudy and the kids back to the States.  They will live in Aspen, Colorado, near her parents.  I invited him to stop by and spend a night with me when he comes back.  I hope he will. 

When I came in from work there was Harry the Horse [Brockman] waiting for me.  He’s back in Saigon getting ready to go home to the Good Old USA in 9 days.  I’d been invited to dinner already by some Seattle businessmen who are here trying to expand operations by contracting for coastal shipping [The businessmen were executives of Alaska Barge & Transport Co.].  So I just took Harry along with me. We paid for our own dinners just to keep everything on the straight and narrow.  We have to be very cautious in dealings with business people because we have to be absolutely impartial to all.  Had dinner at the Majestic Hotel and it was really good.  I had chateaubriand steak. 

The president of the Raymond-Morrison-Knudsen Construction Co. (world’s largest) is visiting here on Sunday and I am one of many who have been invited to dinner.  Had to decline this one as his company does too much business over here with the military.  He must have about 500 million dollars in contracts going here right now.

Now we are back at my place, and he is writing a letter home.  The Hoss is anxious to get on the way.  I’ll sure miss his visits in from the field.  He’s good folks.

Got a call from the billeting officer today to the effect that I can move, so am planning to do so tomorrow.  Will sure be glad to get a room all by myself.  Have been assigned room 406 at the Vinh Loi which is just down the street from where I live now.  Think I’ll like it a whole lot better.

Had a little excitement in our compound this evening.  Some VC threw a grenade on top of the Transportation Office [at MACV II headquarters] from a passing car.  No one got hurt, but it caused a lot of excitement for a while.  I wasn’t there when it went off, so can’t give a first-hand account as I was up in the front office [MACV I headquarters] briefing General Crowley.  Everything was in a state of excitement when I got back and there were all sorts of guards and MPs around the building.  Reckon our office is a pretty convenient target as it sits right next to the street.  A couple of the captains and some of the EM were too excited about it, so I kinda made light of it by saying:  “Well, the only reason they did it was that they knew I wasn’t around to catch them.”

MACV II Headquarters, 606 Tran Hung Dao Street, Cholon, Saigon, South Vietnam, 1965.   [The Transportation Office, and Movements Branch's offices, were in the buildings near the fence at left.]  (Photo courtesy Richard P. Clark, Jr. collection).

Expect the VC are beginning to step up their activities against the US people.  Thursday a grenade was thrown in the 39th Signal Battalion compound at Tan Son Nhut, wounding three GIs.  Early today a grenade was tossed into an Ordnance repair shop right smack in the middle of Saigon near the Rex, wounding one GI.  Then the one tossed on our roof tonight, wounding none but scaring 10.  I expect to see more of this in the future.  Harry says he’s ready to go either back to the field or go home---Saigon bothers him.  He says if the VC don’t get you with grenades, the taxis will get you while you’re crossing a street!

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