Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Diary Entry 111: Saigon, Saturday Night, 1 January 1966

                                                                     Saturday Night, 1 January 1966

Today was the day that I was going to sleep late and then get caught up on my writing. Well, it just didn’t quite work out the way I planned. But that is par for the course in Vietnam.

By my usual waking hours, did manage to sleep a little late until 7:30 a.m. The air conditioner [in his quarters] is shut off every morning at 6:15 so by 7:30 I was forced to get up as a result of the heat. Went down to the Hong Kong BOQ for breakfast and took along my camera with the idea that it would be good to get some more pictures.

After breakfast I went by the office to read over the message traffic which had arrived during the night to see if there was anything hot that General Crowley would be interested in. It’s a mistake to be a conscientious worker. There’s always work for the guy who is interested in things. Had 2 real hot wires marked "personal from Mc" [Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara] and "personal from Sharp." [Commander-in-Chief Pacific, Admiral Ulysses S. Grant Sharp]  So from about 10 a.m. until 8 p.m., I was busy working as usual. The only difference was that I was wearing civilian clothes instead of the usual uniform.

Clark at Movements Branch, 1 January 1966.  (Photo courtesy Richard Paris Clark, Jr. collection)

After we finished all the conferences and discussion, I went to the Hong Kong again and had supper before coming back here to my roost. Tomorrow I have to go to work early and finish up in polished form what we drafted today. Seems like I write so much during the day that it’s a wonder that [I have] the wrist strength to pick up a fountain pen at night!

[Lieutenant Colonel] Lee Surut [commander of the 3rd Battalion, 319th Artillery, 173d Airborne Brigade] came down from Bien Hoa to visit me on Thursday. We had lunch together. He looks very good---very tanned and tough looking. We had a pleasant couple of hours talking. He has orders to Washington and he said that he hoped I would go there too. Told him I wasn’t the least bit interested; wanted something down south close to Montgomery.

[Major] Harry Brockman sent me a Xmas card and a letter. I have to write to him soon. [Major] Carl [Smith] and [his wife] Charlotte also sent a card and Carl wrote a letter. He is expecting orders to Vietnam when he finishes his tour at Leavenworth. Sorry Bout That! By that time it should be a real big thing over here.

Just went upstairs to see if [Lieutenant Colonel] Grady [Cole, a staff officer in Counterintelligence Branch, MACV J-2] was home but he wasn’t. Wanted to wish him a Happy New Year and see what poop he had from Leavenworth or about the VC. Maybe I’ll try later.

When I first came over here, I thought it would be nice to keep a lot of notes so someday if I wanted to write about my experiences there would be sufficient reference material. Well, that’s okay for platoon leaders but when you are privy to high level operations, you just can’t do it. It was a good idea which was not realistic.

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