Saturday, August 6, 2011

Diary Entry 114: Saigon, Saturday Night, 8 January 1966

                                                                    Saturday Night, 8 January 1966

Joe Btflsk.  (Image courtesy Al Capp)

Do you remember that character in the "L’il Abner" cartoon by the name of "Joe Btflsk?" He was the little guy who always had the black cloud over his head. I must be that guy in real life. Tonight Grady and I were going to go out on the town and have a big dinner at the Majestic Hotel and then go to see a couple of night clubs. Just about the time we were getting ready to go the VC set off a bomb about 2 blocks away from here across the street from the hotel, so we decided not to go out after all. Grady says he’s been over here too long and is so close to rotation that he doesn’t take any kind of
chances. Although I’m tired of peanut butter and crackers, just don’t have very much interest in going out now. Need to think about my briefing for General Besson which is scheduled for tomorrow.

Grady hasn’t heard anything more about Jo Ann and John so he is a bit upset. Thought a night out might help him get away from worry for while. We came back upstairs and talked for a bit, but the talking didn’t seem to do him any good, so I came on downstairs to my room. I sure hope he gets to leave early and go back to see about his family. He is very upset about them.

This morning called the Alaska Barge Company in Seattle to find out what the status of the movement to Vietnam was. In the process, I asked Mr. Lou Johnson, who is the legal counsel of the company, what it looked like for negotiations on cost and service.

Lou said that he had talked to Niederman the day before and Paul was pretty busy on some other projects at the present time and that negotiations were "several weeks away." From what Lou said, it is my guess that negotiations will be held in late February or early March, but I could be wrong. The only ray of sunshine Lou gave was that Niederman had expressly stated that he required me as a consultant on Vietnam
operations. And the president of the company, Mr. Bullock, also insisted that I come for the talks. Imagine that! Both sides trust me!

With the input of US forces, US contractor assistance in construction, and the increased US economic assistance, the good days of life are rapidly coming to an end in Vietnam. According to the State Dept., the military is destroying the Vietnamese economy. Am convinced that changes are on the way. We (military) have already been informed to expect at least one roommate, perhaps two, so as to tighten up on the
housing. Very soon expect to see the combat pay for those of us in Saigon to go by the wayside. Then next will come field ration messes so the government can stop the cost of living allowance and also take away the ration money. The diplomats are on a campaign to severely restrict the military here. Sure glad I’ve got less than 5 months to go.

Well, it is just about assignment time. Reckon I’ll be getting some orders this month or next. Wonder what they will have for me and what to anticipate. What are the alternatives:

Possible selection for the Army War College, National War College, or Industrial College of the Armed Forces. These are remote.

Possible selection for attendance at the Armed Forces Staff College. If selected, I might turn it down, might not.

[Department of the Army staff duty in] Washington, D.C. Highly probable, but will try to get it changed if I can.

Strike Command at McDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Fla. Barely possible. Much depends on how much influence Gonzalez will be able to exert.

Well, I’ll just cross the assignment bridge when I get to it. Believe I can get General Crowley, General Reichel, and others to intercede for me.

A number of people are interested in my [CGSC] Pearl Harbor study, particularly General DePuy, the J-3 of MACV. Well, I’d better get with the program and review my briefings
for General Besson and General Westmoreland.

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