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Went over to JUSPAO to begin my orientation, which is being handled by the office of Field Operations. They had nothing planned for today; they said the day was reserved for the check-in process, which I took care of yesterday, but they don't seem to have any program in mind yet.
The chief of OFO is the Army colonel whose party I crashed Wednesday night. He was an affable host, but you can't tell much by that. He went on leave yesterday so we are dealing with his deputy, a bald headed little USIS fellow. And for anyone who wants to raise a question, I'll state that Frank Eakin is much balder and quite a bit smaller than I am. I met him at Warren's party and we talked awhile; he seems friendly enough but no ball of fire. That makes him typical.
I said "we" are dealing with Eakin; I have a clleague named Garland Godwin (called "Gar") who arrived last night to take the post of Training Advisor to the Vietnamese Information Service. He's a little taller than I am, bald but with a beard that makes him hairier than I. He is FSLR-4, served a previous tour in Saigon, and in the meantime has been in Laos. He's in the same hotel and I suggested we go to dinner together last night. He said he wasn't going out at all, too tired, etc. just as well. I went to a Chinese place recommended by paul Turner and it cost $5.00 U.S. for the worst meal I ever had. Really, I had to leave most of it, even though I was hungry. First time I had chop suey and the only vegetable was garlic. In fact, I don't recall even getting garlic in a Chinese palce before - must be the influence of the damned French.
back to the OFO - something happened this afternoon that i hope is not typical, but probably is. Godwin and I had received memo's stating we were to show up Saturday morning for what is called the "slide show" a one-hour description of JUSPAO by both visitors and new employees. When we told Frank Eakin we intended to go, he became very insistent that we stay away. Our orientation was an OFO matter and we should not mess around with the routine stuff. Okay, fine, we said.
A little later we got a mesage that George Porter, the new personel officer who has never been a personel officer before, was very unhappy with us because we hadn't checked in with him and were skipping the slide show, (We hadn't checked in with him becuase he was out when we went by and the ogre who serves as American Secretary saw us off, saying that any checking in we were supposed to do was certainly not supposed to be done there.) Frank Eakin heard the message as it was delivered to us and clouded up again. "Don't worry about it Frank," said friendly Dan with a big smile, "we'll gladly go to that briefing and then to all of yours, don't worry about it." Wrong thing to say. He wasn't trying to save us from a senseless session, he was protecting bureaucratic prorogatives: no one else messes with people placed under his wing.
So he called up Porter and pulled rank on him,and said Endsley and Godwin would not repeat not attend Saturday slide show. Okay.
Godwin and I dropped back to see old George, who works on the same floor, because we didn't want him to think we had pulled that trick. It was an unnecessary tip because old George didn't give us a chance to get the wrong idea; he started right off by telling us he had decided that the Saturday briefing was not necessary in view of our other briefings and we need not go.
An hour later the Director's Secretary called Eakin and said what's this crap about Endsley and Godwin not attending the slide show tomorrow? Mr.Nickel is handling the briefing personally and he wants them to attend.
- Daniel Endsley's Vietnam Journal