Sunday, May 22, 2011

Diary Entry 89: Saigon, Sunday Night, 14 November 1965

                                                                     Sunday Night, 14 November 1965

This has just been a lovely day!  Pretty sunshine, big white clouds, and no rain.  Had the morning off and relaxed a while, and that alone made me feel like a new person.

Went to the office for a couple of hours this afternoon to brief General Crowley on a problem, but took off as soon as the briefing was finished and went down to the Rex and sat on the patio to sip beer and watch the world go by in Saigon.  Very refreshing day.

Tonight Lieutenant Commander O'Neil and I had dinner at the International House which is a private club run by the [U.S.] Embassy.  He is a member as are many of the military and he took me as his guest.  A real fine place to eat.  For $2.00 each we got a big saucer of boiled shrimp with cocktail sauce, roast beef that you could cut with a fork, delicious turkey and sweet baked ham, potatoes, beans, cabbage, ice cream, iced tea, and coffee.  An outstanding meal.  Some time ago Grady had recommended that I join because the food was so good there, but I discounted his persuasion because he usually investigates the bar and membership costs $10.00 per month.  But I don't know now.  The food sure was good.  Maybe I can just get someone who is a member to take me as a guest!

International House, 57 Nguyen Hue, Saigon, South Vietnam, 14 November 1965.  (Photo courtesy Richard Paris Clark, Jr. collection)

Pretty soon I'll have to address the problem of settling my next assignment with the personnel people.  It won't be easy, but I'm not willing quite yet to accept the Washington assignment [as a staff officer for the U.S. Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics (DCSLOG)].  Still have a couple of trump cards of my own to play.  The more I think of Washington and the restrictions of:  You can't take a piano, you can't take an organ, you can't have too many kids in the family---the more I am convinced to fight an assignment there to the last ditch.  Washington just does not understand that I don't care whether I make colonel or general.  Many officers do.  But I'd rather not go to the War College and I'd rather get out with my 20 years as a lieutenant colonel and just hang around the house, or write, or work in business.  This does not follow the normal pattern of drives and am sure that my insistence on a quiet assignment anywhere but Washington baffles the personnel people.  Will just wait and see what happens.  The assignment people are at a disadvantage as I can control the final decision and this does not make them feel comfortable.

Harry Brockman wrote me.  He is assigned to Personnel Actions Branch in Artillery, Officer Personnel Division---like my assignment was in Infantry Branch when I was in Washington [in 1957-1958].  He says he had to buy a $35,000 house with 5 bedrooms to find a decent place to stay.  I just can't see that sort of investment to get an assignment to Washington in order to live decently.  So I've decided to fight like a Tiger in that regard.  Should know preliminary results in January [1966], final results by March.       

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