Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Diary Entry 68: Saigon, Monday Noon, 27 September 1965

                                                                                                    Monday Noon, 27 September 1965

This morning I woke up earlier than I wanted to (about 5 a.m.), but couldn’t go back to sleep.  Finally decided to get dressed and go on down to eat breakfast where I took a lot of time.  Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Detherow, who was in the Department of Command at Leavenworth, just arrived in Saigon and has been assigned as a sector advisor at Qui Nhon.  He had breakfast with me and we chatted about people we knew or people we had seen.  Ralph just came here from attending class at the Armed Forces Staff College.

 After breakfast I caught a ride over to MACV I headquarters and attended the morning J-3 briefing.  Then I came over to our place at MACV II headquarters across town and got some projects started before going back across the town to MACV I again to attend a movements briefing.

When I arrived back here, BINGO!  It’s lunchtime already.  So here I am writing.  My day so far has not been very interesting, but it has been kinda busy.  This afternoon I have a meeting scheduled in my office with the Deputy G-4 US Army Vietnam and the Transportation Officer of 1st Logistical Command.  I hope we get some problems solved.  The biggest problem is one of personal communication, as I see it.  Over the past three months I have been trying to do some effective management of transport resources which are quite limited.  And I’ve been trying to force the component commands to do some intelligent planning instead of working all transport on a crash emergency basis.  Well, when people don’t plan ahead well, they get into trouble and need bailing out.  For the first month here, I was sympathetic until it occurred to me that we were just having more emergencies than we had transport capability and then you can’t handle true emergencies which come up.  At first, I tried talking to the operators, but it didn’t do much good.  Then I tried talking to their bosses and while it did some good, it did not solve the problem.  Lately, with the tremendous requirements generated by all that has been reported in the papers (everything that moves does so on my resources), I just had to get hard and have General Crowley bring gross mismanagement practices to the attention of the Commanding Generals. Naturally, the mismanagers got in trouble and I’m not the most popular guy in Vietnam.  While I like to be liked, it was a question of whether the transport systems collapsed or people started working properly.  So today my objective is to reestablish personal communication with the people I have to deal with so that we all work together to accomplish the theater objective.  Hope it works out. 

Right now it is raining cats and dogs.  Sure will be glad when the monsoon season is over and we get into the dry weather.

I expect much of my responsibilities as an operator to be transferred real soon to Colonel Tooley and his newly established Traffic Management Agency.  He is getting his people and his office and gradually is taking things over.  Just as about as fast as he can take them, I’m ready to let them go.  I’m probably one of the first guys here to reorganize myself out of business.  Usually people try to build empires, but I’d rather not build empires.

Someone just brought me a newspaper with an article in it about singer Phil Crosby.  The gist of the article is this:  Crosby came into Saigon this week for the purpose (according to the article) of entertaining troops but complains he can’t find any ways to get out to entertain the fighting guys.

So this is my business.  While I suspect this is a press agent’s way of getting publicity by complaining he can’t find the troops, I will get in touch with the J-1 people and offer transportation to him to some damn fine places where troops are:  like places where he will have to sleep on the ground and can’t get into except by armed choppers working in pairs.  Will see if he takes up the offer.

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