Friday, April 8, 2011

Diary Entry 59: Saigon, Thursday Night, 16 September 1965

                                                                                           Thursday Night, 16 September 1965

Feeling a little bit down in the dumps and kinda mad with the Army this evening.  Got an answer to my request [regarding his next tour of duty assignment] when I return next summer and they seem bound and determined to get me in Washington again [as a staff officer for the U.S. Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics (DCSLOG)]. Have not yet given up hope in getting the assignment changed, and I may have to try to get compassionate consideration if can’t force them to change their minds otherwise.  I don’t want to be a general or even a colonel. Would just like to come home and stay there the rest of my life.  At this point, career development and military requirements are secondary considerations so far as I’m concerned.

Most of yesterday was just a plain old work day with paper, except for a message we received from the Chief Western Transportation Officer, Pacific Command; this caused a minor flap.  He requested a statement of my availability for assignment to establish and head up a branch office of his office in Vietnam.  Asked for me by name.  His inquiry caused a good bit of consternation around here for a while, but finally General Crowley sent a message saying that his request was not favorably considered.  

Today we’ve been meeting with the J-3 people all day on operations and planning some more activities.  I’ve just about run out of ideas now.  When I first arrived, we had only airplanes and ships.  Since that time, working with the J-3 people, we have been able to open certain roads, have reduced reliance on planes and ships, and next week hope to run a lot of cargo by the railroad.  Feel pretty good about this as people have been real reluctant to try to put stuff over the highway or railroad and it now looks like both are about to become rather large realities.

Expect to go out of business as an operator in about 30-60 days.  The movement control group [the U.S. Army 507th Movement Control Group, later to become the MACV Traffic Management Agency (MACV-TMA)] (322 officers and EM commanded by a colonel) will replace most of my functions pretty soon, so maybe I’ll start getting some rest and will quit worrying.  The headquarters has already been activated and the commander, Colonel Jack Tooley, is here now and I’m working with him on a schedule to turn over activities as the rest of his people arrive.  I am real happy to see this come about, as there have been times when I did not think it was possible to hold the transportation resources together before it all exploded in my face.  Today for example, I have 61 big ships from the US in various ports (a month ago there were only 12 in port) and 49 large air transports working on the air lanes.  I’ll sure be glad to get rid of all we have to do and settle on being a planner for a while.  The responsibility has been pretty hard to bear.

Tomorrow I am having a coordinating conference on movements for the next 30 days, and I hope these are the last ones that I have to execute as an operator.  Probably won’t make any friends with this conference as somebody must lay down some laws and since most of my superiors are running popularity contests, reckon I’m elected to do the hell-raising.  Oh well, never wanted to make full colonel anyway!

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