Thursday, June 9, 2011

Diary Entry 105: Saigon, Thursday Night, 23 December 1965

                                                                       Thursday Night, 23 December 1965

We’ve been going through all sorts of gyrations again with high-level visitors: General [Harold K.] Johnson [U.S. Army Chief of Staff] and General [Earle G.] Wheeler [Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff]. As usual, they put us through a wringer by asking for a good bit of information which was not readily available and we had to get cracking. They have now gone up-country to visit units so we will have a breather---until they come back to Saigon and ask some more questions. Everybody is so interested in this place that we are getting visited to death. Of course, it is all well-meaning and they all want to help by coming over for a first-hand look, all of which consumes the time of the staff. Oh well, this too shall pass!

We are still swamped with all the Christmas gifts from the USA. It is a wonderful expression from the folks back home, but it covered Tan Son Nhut airbase up so much that is has interfered with regular mail delivery.

Well, I know it is Christmas time mostly because I can read the calendar. But we here don’t feel very Christmas-y. We are still under intensified guard and rigid curfew which makes us feel a little bit apprehensive. It is quite hot here so this in itself makes Christmas seem some distance off. And finally, the Vietnamese don’t celebrate Xmas since most are Buddhists and their big celebration is TET which is equivalent of our New Year. This comes in February. So all in all, no one over here has much of the spirit that is prevalent back in the States. This just isn’t the time and place to have a Christmas. So next year, I am going to enjoy Christmas time as much as I usually would in order to make up for missing this one.

Had dinner with General Crowley tonight. We are involved in a hassle with the construction contractor [RMK-BMJ,  a consortium of contracting companies known collectively as: Raymond International, Morrison-Knudsen, Brown & Root, and J.A. Jones] who is trying to get his own barge contract in spite of the one which we just consummated. It looks like we will go back-channel to Washington to knock this in the head before it gets started. We had onion soup, salad, cheese, cold cuts, tea, and coffee for the meal. Most of the meal we figured ways and means of cutting down the contractor and ended up the evening by deciding to do some research to undercut the basis for the contractor’s request for separate barge capability. Guess who gets to do the research tomorrow morning to have on the boss’ desk at 8:30? So I’ll set the alarm real early.

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