Thursday, August 4, 2011

Diary Entry 112: Saigon, Monday Night, 3 January 1966

                                                                                Monday Night, 3 January 1966

As the Vietnamese would say, today was No. 1 day; yesterday No. 10 day. Today I got lots of work done and feel like what I did was worthwhile. Yesterday was mostly spent in very inconclusive conferences, meetings, and discussions. I hate conferences because you wind up usually with a committee decision: neither good nor bad and mostly neutral. As a consequence, little if anything gets off dead center and you just maintain the same old status quo.

Today I mostly worked by myself and got some things off the ground. Whether they will later get shot down by the less bold remains to be seen.  No new word from Niederman on the trip back to the States. Perhaps I will hear something this week. I’ll be glad to come [home]. I need a rest. A year is just about all a man can take of the tremendous pressures generated on people over here. I’ll probably have a hard time adjusting to a slower pace when I leave here.

Oh yes, one thing coming up is that [I] must give a briefing on Thursday to General Westmoreland on passenger airline service with high speed aircraft for the troops. Reckon tomorrow I’ll start getting ready for it. Just like teaching another class at Leavenworth. Must be glib and convincing.

No news on my future assignment as yet. Ought to get some sort of orders next month or in March. I wrote a personal letter to [Major] Gonzalez [a staff officer in the Officer Personnel Office, Transportation Corps Branch, Department of the Army] to see what he could do to get me put fairly close to Montgomery if not there itself. About the only suggestion he had was Strike Command at Tampa, Fla. Well, so far as location goes, it sure beats Washington.

The Chinese are celebrating some kind of holiday today, and although it is strictly forbidden, they are setting off  firecrackers every now and then. I’ll bet this makes the MPs and Vietnamese police a little nervous. It is hard to distinguish a firecracker explosion from a gun shot.

Noticed by the paper this morning that the 173d Airborne is on an operation down in the Plain of Reeds in the Delta region and they have made pretty heavy contact with the VC. Sure hope Lee Surut doesn’t get tagged in his last few months over here. He will rotate in May and the 173d has been on almost continuous operations since I arrived.

This will probably continue, so he runs a high risk. But expect he’s got sense enough to take care of himself.

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