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Oral history interview with Jerome Franklin 2003.

Author: Jerome Franklin; James F Kurtz; Wisconsin Veterans Museum.
Edition/Format:   Archival material : Cassette recording : English
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Franklin, born in Newark (New Jersey), discusses his service as a traffic engineer with the Michigan State University U.S.A.I.D. (Agency for International Development) program in Vietnam from 1957 to 1959. He explains he graduated from the New Jersey School of Engineering and Yale University and that prior to 1956 he was employed as the Grand Rapids Traffic Engineer in Michigan. Franklin recalls that he, his wife,  Read more...
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Details

Named Person: Jerome Franklin
Document Type: Archival Material
All Authors / Contributors: Jerome Franklin; James F Kurtz; Wisconsin Veterans Museum.
OCLC Number: 232299525
Event notes: Interviewed by Jim Kurtz on December 16, 2003 in Madison, Wisconsin.
Description: Sound recording ; 1 audiocassette (approximately 50 min.) : analog, 1 7/8 ips. Transcript : 21 pages Master sound recording ; 1 audiocassette (approximately 50 min.) : analog, 1 7/8 ips.

Abstract:

Franklin, born in Newark (New Jersey), discusses his service as a traffic engineer with the Michigan State University U.S.A.I.D. (Agency for International Development) program in Vietnam from 1957 to 1959. He explains he graduated from the New Jersey School of Engineering and Yale University and that prior to 1956 he was employed as the Grand Rapids Traffic Engineer in Michigan. Franklin recalls that he, his wife, and three children flew into Saigon in 1957 just before the Tet Holiday. He tells a story of being greeted by representatives of the local YMCA who stated they were from "Yimka," meaning YMCA. Franklin relates that the streets in Saigon had very heavy traffic with thousands of motor-scooters and many pedi-cabs, but not many automobiles. He explains the intersections were controlled by officers and his job was to initiate signing, striping, install traffic signs and lights, and reroute traffic for times when President Diem left his palace. Franklin expresses disdain that so much money was being spent on sending equipment to Vietnam while the cities and states in the U.S. were having budget problems. He reports that he worked closely with the Chief of Police, Mr. Thieu and sometimes ran into problems with translators who had their own agenda and explains that English, rather than French, became the dominant second language. Franklin tells that there was a military presence of about 800 troops, he met soldiers on transportation missions in the Mekong Delta area, and remembers a couple incidents in Saigon where buses were blown up. He touches on the presence of the French Gendarmeire. The housing Franklin was provided was near the Presidential Palace and the U.S. Ambassador's residence. He recalls that his family was able to utilize military facilities such as the commissary, the Bachelor Officer's Quarters, the Bachelor's Enlisted Quarters, and join the French club (Circle Sportiv) because of his affiliation with U.S.A.I.D. He relates a story of Americans enjoying the local food and one incident of being told the food they were enjoying was dog meat. Franklin talks about his travels through Vietnam and Cambodia including a visit to the temple of the Cao Dai in Tay Ninh, and Angkor Wat in Sam Riyet. He discusses the terrain, the various indigenous people he saw, and the fact that the Vietnamese welcomed Americans. Franklin refers to Canadian and Polish friends he made through the International Joint Commission and visiting with them once he returned to the States. He relates that, while in Vietnam, his wife gave birth to their daughter at a missionary hospital in Zhadim, a suburb of Saigon, and believes this was the first American birth in Indochina. Franklin tells of having amoebic dysentery before leaving Vietnam and his family having to take paragoric. He left in 1959 before there was a large American military presence.

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Linked Data


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