Sunday, August 7, 2011

Diary Entry 115: Saigon, Monday Night, 10 January 1966

                                                                      Monday Night, 10 January 1966

General Frank Schaeffer Besson, Jr., Commanding General, U.S. Army Material Command.  (Photo courtesy U.S. Army)
 Home late again tonight so things are back to normal again. Result of General Besson’s briefing yesterday: My part went so well that right after it was over General Crowley decided that I should replace the regularly scheduled J-4 briefer for General Westmoreland tomorrow, Tuesday 11 Jan. Although it was made clear that I already was in preparation for a special briefing for him on Monday (today), General Crowley said never mind, he would get the dates changed. He was as good as his word and today’s scheduled briefing for passenger airline service was slipped to next Thursday and now I have to talk to COMUSMACV tomorrow about general logistics. As one might imagine, the regularly scheduled briefer has got his nose all out of joint and isn’t very cooperative.

Anyway, his briefing is not in my words and I’d change it anyway, so that isn’t important. Last night and all day today I’ve been working on an outline which is all I have. But that does not bother me. If can think fast on my feet, I’ll be okay. And Leavenworth gave me plenty of practice at that.

Say! General Besson paid me 2 compliments on my briefing. First, when it was over I asked if he had any questions and he said no. This seemed to amaze everyone as he has a reputation for asking some pretty hard questions. Secondly, today he asked for a script of my briefing and many people were surprised to learn that it was given from an outline only, was tailored especially for him, and that no verbatim record of a speech was in existence. Well, I spent a good part of the day trying to remember what I said yesterday so as to provide a verbatim record of what I said to him. Finally prepared a 12-page script but am not sure it is at all accurate. Simply don’t remember what I said to him except the headings on the outline.

Incidentally, just before I got my latest job [Special Assistant to the J-4] with the Boss (General Crowley) we got a new officer assigned to Movements Branch of Transportation and he still thinks I’m his boss. His wife and daughter live at 1257A Federal Drive [in Montgomery, Alabama] and his name is Major John Nightingale. An Air Force officer. He works hard and I like him.

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