Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Diary Entry 116: Saigon, Friday Night, 14 January 1966

                                                                  Friday Night, 14 January 1966

Thank goodness it's Friday and Sunday isn't very far away.  Glad it's Friday so I can cross one more week off my calendar; pleased that Sunday is near because General Crowley will be leaving that day for a conference in Honolulu so perhaps will get two weeks to rest up before he comes back.  And maybe by the time he gets back Mr. Niederman will have sent for me and I'll be able to goof off 15 or 20 days in the States.

Very busy here last couple of weeks. Did I write that General Besson was over here and that I briefed him? Believe I did, so won’t write about that. Yesterday briefed General Westmoreland on a concept for passenger airline operation which he approved in general but not exactly as I hoped. He kind of equivocated in his decision, so I didn’t much care for it. On Monday I brief Lieutenant General [Joseph]Moore (USAF), commander of the 2nd Air Division, same subject.  He probably won't buy off on it completely, either, as the concept is a little controversial.  We'll see how it turns out.

United States Embassy,  39 Ham Nghi Boulevard, Saigon, South Vietnam, 1966.  (Photo courtesy Richard P. Clark, Jr. collection)
This morning I visited with Mr. Henry Cabot Lodge [U.S. Ambassador to South Vietnam] to discuss a mutual Embassy-MACV problem in the ports.  He was quite gracious but I didn't come away with what MACV needed and wanted.  Well, maybe I'll get fired tomorrow for failure to be persuasive enough with him!

Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., 1966.  (Photo courtesy White House)
This afternoon was spent with the U.S. Operations Mission which tried to get me to agree with their thesis that MACV was unresponsive to the State Department in logistic support.  Of course, I would not agree.  Would not concur in their message until they say the truth.  Where the military has not supported them, I'm very willing to see it stated.  But so far they can't come up with a single instance where the military had fallen down.  Felt real proud that General Crowley gave me the authority to concur or non-concur based on my own judgment.  Conducted myself with diplomacy and tact.  We meet again tomorrow to try to resolve the differences.

Heard nothing from Gonzalez in response to the letter I wrote him.  Have lined up an impressive list of generals to help me out on my assignment just in case the [Officer Personnel Office, Transportation Corps] Branch insists on Washington.  Have a number of alternatives also to submit to the Branch in case the forthcoming assignment does not please me.  Having completed 17 years of service and with a possible retirement just a short 2 1/2 years away, I'm willing to use all the influence and power that I can get to support what I want.

Strike Command headquarters is located at MacDill Air Force Base at Tampa, Florida.  It is commanded by a full general (Army) and has 150 colonels, 150 Lt. Cols., and 150 M/Sgts. from all services assigned.  That is all.  No privates, lieutenants, or captains.  It is a planning headquarters for worldwide operations.  So far as I know, there are no quarters on the post for lieutenant colonels, but that is all right with me.

Know for a fact that there are 2 vacancies for lieutenant colonels of Transportation Corps in the Plans Division of J-4 of STRICOM, so maybe I can get one of them.  Of course, if I get back to the States on the contract negotiation, I intend to have the orders read Washington, D.C. also so I can inquire personally in what the Branch has planned or decided. 


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