Saigon Kids Emporium
August 2017
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Submitted by Elvera Roussel (ACS)

I am documenting the experiences and emotional repercussions of American children living in Saigon at the onset of Vietnam war.

CLICK HERE if you’d like to support the funding for this film by DONATING to the project through the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA).

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Submitted by Carol Cini (ACS)

I’ve published the book I wrote.

The Spy and His CIA Brat is available on Amazon both in print and kindle

I look forward to seeing some of you at the reunion in September.

Carol (aka Carl)

“The Spy and His CIA Brat” is a tale of mystery, bonding, and survival in cataclysmic times. Reviewing historical notes, CIA documents, and letters from his parents, the author seeks to decode the secret life of his father, the mysterious Walter Cini. Walter Cini, a grocer’s son not interested in joining the family business opted instead for the arts and world travel. The turning point in Walter’s life was the attack on Pearl Harbor after which Cini, a man with a knack for languages and who preferred intellectual rigor over physical exertion, nonetheless enlisted in the Army where the ride of his life began. Starting in World War II as an integral part of MIS-Y, the OSS and finally a key agent with the Strategic Services Unit (forerunner of the CIA) the author reveals a world of mystery as he and his family accompany their father as he plies his clandestine activities. The reader is given unusual insight into secret mission which include “Operation Paperclip” recruiting scientists from Nazi Germany for employment at the U.S. War Department, “Operation Sunrise” the long range counter-offensive against the Viet Cong and “Operation Switchback’ the highly classified program recruiting South Vietnamese soldiers for covert operations in North Vietnam. From Paris to Italy to Holland to Vietnam to Honduras and back to Italy, the author recites a tale of family love and bonding all while the covert affairs of the CIA were run parallel to those of domestic life. “The Spy and His CIA Brat” is the tale of a human balancing act. On one side the loving, caring family man and on the other a man risking it all for the dangerous life of a spy.

About the Author

Carol Francois Cini was born in Paris, France in the year 1948 when he officially became a CIA Brat. His mother Stephane was French and his father was an American spy. As a CIA brat, he travelled the world experiencing the food and cultures of many countries. He witnessed two wars and had unique adventures including several dangerous episodes which nearly cost him his life. He retired eight years ago, from a three letter government agency after 32 years of service. He enjoys his life travelling, playing tennis, and investigating scam and fraud cases as a volunteer at a local law enforcement agency.


Submitted by Ken Yeager (ACS)

I haven’t posted anything of importance/interest in a long time, if ever, but thought I would share my days with those of you who are interested, if any.

We are still living in Grosshansdorf, Germany which is still a small community of about 9000+ individuals according to Wikipedia. It is pretty much a community of retired folks (hence the Yeager’s) and a bedroom community for those who work in Hamburg which is the 2nd largest city in Germany. Three U-Bahn (subway) stations serve the village, one of which is a 10 minute walk from our abode. In addition to Hamburg, we generally do our shopping in the towns of Volksdorf (actually a suburb of Hamburg) and Ahrensburg. Fortunately, German towns and cities are still make up of lots of little “mom and pop” stores and yes, we have the big box stores too but Gisela and I prefer to shop locally and keep the small businesses going. Services are better and a great example is that I recently had a problem with my coffee machine, one of those “multi-type coffee makers” and so having had it for 12 years, thought to replace it. Went to one of our local shops and bought a machine for, well, more than €500, and as we were leaving the shop, the sales man suggested to do something to my old machine. I did just that after getting home and it worked and my old machine is now working perfectly and I have a new machine, so we called and asked to return the new machine and the shop said, no problem. Ok, so other places would have also accepted the return, but this is not the first time I’ve returned something but I think it shows that small privately owned businesses are more amenable to accommodate customers than the big box stores (which are often too big with too few knowledgeable employees).

Hamburg is hosting the G20 meeting this year (July) but we will be off on vacation during that period so we get to avoid the chaos that will be everywhere within 50 miles of Hamburg. The USA representative, whose name I will not mention, is being put up at the InterContinental in Berlin, not in Hamburg. Exactly why, I don’t know but that should help eliminate some of the chaos that accompanies him. It will still be a mess but hey, what do I care…I’ll be on the beach.
Did a one week trip away recently and spend three days in Alsace, France and some sightseeing in Strasburg and a town called Colmar. Interesting. Struggled trying to recall our French but we managed, especially since many people in the Alsace region speak German. What pretty much astonished me was the driving. I’ve been very critical of the French with their driving habits but the driving in France was so calm compared to Germany. The highway speed is maximum 130 KMs (ca. 81 MPH) while in Germany, much of the Auto Bahn is without a speed limit and with three lanes of traffic, each driver can decide for himself how fast to drive with a minimum of 80 KMS. I can be driving 100 MPH and be passed by a Porsche pushing 120 or 130 MPH or faster. Fortunately, one can only pass on the left so that is a real plus for Germany and slower traffic is SUPPOSED to drive to the right, but ha, that doesn’t always work. But getting from point A to point B is pretty easy in Germany giving the high speeds and I have to say, accidents do occur but highway deaths are pretty low, call things considered. But to end this paragraph, hats off to the French because I understand their traffic fines are pretty high and there is no 10%+ leeway in speeds.

Sighs of relieve were heard around the country when the Netherlands avoided a right-wing extremist in their elections a few months ago and the same for France. Poland and Hungary are watched carefully as their governments are moving to the right more and more every year. The Czech Republic is another to watch. While the Germany government (CDU) is center right, it is really more center and includes representatives of the SPD which is more center left. The party to watch here is the ADF which is a real collection of hard right folks. Questions abound about the departure of the UK from the European Union and I, for one, as a dual national (US/UK) am living in Germany on my UK/EU passport so what arrangements come out of the Briexit are important to me or I should say US as Gisela is an American citizen. I suspect that after 13 years here, we will be allowed to say should the UK/EU breakup affect Brits here and Germans in the UK. But time will tell.

OK, enough boring stuff so I will stop and besides, its after 1700 and a drink is in order. Have a nice weekend and stay safe.


Submitted by Les Arbuckle (ACS)

As some of you may know, for the last fourteen years I have been working on a memoir about the eighteen months I spent in Saigon (1963-64) In 2010 I acquired a literary agent and we set about pursuing a publishing deal. After many years and dozens of rejections, we have finally found and signed with a reputable publisher and have begun the process of bringing my manuscript to market.

If all goes as planned, the book will be available in retail stores and online in August of 2017.

My story, in many ways, is your story, too. You may remember things differently, but memory is a fickle thing. I can recall many of the most mundane, ordinary events of this time as clearly as if they happened yesterday, while some of the more dramatic life-changing ones are hazy and undefined in my mind.

I hope my book brings back as many fond memories for you as writing it did for me. The Saigon we knew was a wonderful, sometimes terrifying city, and the Saigon Kids were special people, with a unique and (so far) unacknowledged place in history.

Pre-order Price Reduced 35%

The early Vietnam war years through the eyes of a U.S. military brat: In May of 1962, Naval Chief Petty Officer Bryant Arbuckle flew to Saigon to establish a new Armed Forces Radio Station(AFRS). Next to follow were his wife and three boys, Leslie among them. Saigon Kids is the candid, recondite slice of fourteen-year-old military brat Les Arbuckle’s experience at the American Community School (ACS) during the critical months of the Vietnam War when events would, quite literally, ignite in downtown Saigon. In 1963, Saigon was beautiful, violent, and dirty – and the most exciting place a fourteen-year-old American boy could live. Saigon offered a rich array of activities, and much to the consternation of their parents and teachers, Les and his fellow military brats explored the dangers with reckless abandon running from machine gun fire, watching a Buddhist monk burn to death, visiting brothels late at night or, trading currency on the black market.

Coming of age in the streets of Vietnam War torn Saigon: When Les first arrives in Vietnam, he is a stranger in a strange land, expecting boredom in a country he doesn’t know. But the American social scene is more vibrant than he expected. The American Community School is a blend of kids from all over the globe who arrived in Saigon as the fuse on Saigon was about to ignite. As the ACS students continue their American lifestyle behind barbed wire, Saigon unravels in chaos and destruction. In spite of this ugliness – an ever-present feature of everyday life — Les tells his story of teenage angst with humor and precocity.

Coming of age tale with a twist:The events leading up to the Vietnam War provide an unusual backdrop for this coming-of-age tale with a twist. Saigon Kids will also make a perfect companion to the documentary film (sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts) currently in production. The film chronicles the lives of “military brats” living in Saigon in the volatile years from 1958 to 1964.

About the Author

In the years between his birth in 1949 and his nineteenth birthday, Les lived in Texas, North Carolina, Florida, New Mexico, California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Hawaii and Vietnam as a dependent of the US Navy. His father, Bryant Joseph Arbuckle, was a Chief Journalist who managed the Armed Forces Radio Station in Saigon, Vietnam, from June, 1962 until June, 1964. After a stint with the 50th Army Band at Fort Monroe, Virginia Les attended the Berklee College of Music (BA) and New England Conservatory (MM). He is a professional saxophonist living near Boston, Massachusetts with his wife, Joyce Lucia. He has performed with a variety of musical acts including The Brian Setzer Orchestra, Lou Rawls, Bernadette Peters, The San Diego Symphony Summer Pops Orchestra and The Artie Shaw Orchestra. His recordings for the Audioquest label and he is featured on the recordings of well-known jazz musicians Kenny Barron, Mike Stern, Cecil McBee, John Abercrombie and Victor Lewis.


Submitted by Frank Stoddard (ACS)

Frank got back to me with the Reunion information. The most urgent information is that *Group Discounted Room Rate* will END on April 30th. After that you’ll have to pay the resorts normal rack rates. So MAKE YOUR RESERVATION NOW BEFORE THE GROUP DISCOUNT EXPIRES!!!!


Admin Note: I received an email from Frank asking me to post this message from him on the blog. This is the first I’ve heard about a reunion, so I’ve requested he provide complete information and details. Once he does I’ll update the post.


I realize that everyone has an issue or two. As we get older the issues could be money, looks, desire, or we just do not give a darn. To many of us, Saigon was a very special place. Richard has spent many hours in to preparing for this special reunion. I, myself, am 73. I hope I have many more years, but who knows. My Saigon years were by far my favorite years of my youth. My time in I Corps were my worst. Such irony that Vietnam had so many flavors, both the best and the bad. lol Saigon and my friends there will always stand out. I just do not want to sit around and write or talk about them. I want to see them in Maine in September 2017.



Click the various links in these postings for complete information about the resort the reunion is being held at; and, how to make reservations.


Hello, My Friends,

This note is directed only to our current group of actual and prospective attendees. I have attached a separate note detailing where we stand with members attending, and money. There have been several unfortunate instances of health issues over the past few months that have unavoidably brought our attendance down a bit. Some who attended previous reunions have not responded to this one, and to my knowledge several who have not attended previous reunions will be attending this one. We have a great group of people together who have given of their time and money to come to this not-so-convenient-to-get-to location, which I deeply appreciate. As I have been told when commenting to locals about some expenses incidental to being in this beautiful area, “It is the price of admission.”

The next four months will pass very quickly. I am very such looking forward to seeing all of you in September, and to a fun and rewarding time with you.

If any of you need information or suggestions about travel or anything else related to arriving at your ultimate destination at the Spruce Point Inn, or if you have any questions at all, please feel free to call on me. I will offer what I can. Bear in mind that check-in time at the Inn is 3:00 pm. I am going to try to schedule the Meet and Greet the first evening for 5:00 p.m. or so in an effort to accommodate late afternoon arrivals.

Take care, all.

As of now (April 15), out of a total of 41 people (spouses and friends, and me and Sharon, included)
originally and along the way indicating intention to attend the reunion, two will not be able to attend after all and one is unfortunately now deceased. Of the remaining 38, 2 have neither reserved a room nor paid the Activity Fee, and have not given me an answer as to whether they are really going to attend or not. 6 others have reserved a room but have not paid the fees, and 2 of those are attending for one night only.

For the latter two persons I have suggested a reduced activity fee of $80 each which will cover
participation with us Wednesday evening (boat trip and dinner) and use of the Activity Room. One or two
people not included in the 41 are rumored to have said they are attending, but I have not heard back from them.

Regardless of the size of our group that we end up with, we have a $4000 minimum food and beverage
obligation and a one-time $500 set-up fee for the Meet and Greet and Lobster Bake. As of now, I have
$6800.00 on account from the 29 who have paid the activity fees (including one of the part-timers).
When the remaining 5 full-timers and 1 part-timer pay their fees, we will have an additional $1280.00, for a total of $8080 to fund this reunion.

The Meet and Greet and Lobster Bake combined are expected to be around $120.00 per person. If we
have 33 people attending both those events, the total incurred (assuming my cost estimate is accurate)
will be $3960.00 When individual beverage purchases are considered, I believe we will be over our
minimum obligation, leaving about $3580.00 on account after deducting the set-up fee.

Other costs that form the basis for the Activity Fees are the $20 pp Discretionary Fund (food and
beverages in the activity room plus other incidentals); boat trip at $39 pp; and group dinner at $32 pp.

Based on 33 full-timers and two part-timers, we need a minimum of $3163.00 for these activities, and
$7663.00 for everything. So, we appear to be ahead of budget by about $11.00 pp., assuming all fees
have been paid. Bear in mind that the Inn’s 2017 food prices have not yet been published (the Inn is
technically closed until sometime in May). Those new prices could alter our expectations slightly.
If all or any of the 3 people who have not responded do pay the fees and attend, we will be under budget a little further because shared costs like the boat trip and the set-up fee would be proportionately reduced per person. If we lose any more people to get below the 33 full-timers I am assuming here, we will be very close to the line, or below it. I certainly do not want to raise the fees or cut into any of our events.

The message here is that for budgetary and planning purposes, I need to know where people who have
not totally committed stand. By totally committed, I mean making your reservation and paying the Activity Fee. Even though we appear to be okay based on the 33 I am assuming here (which includes those who have not yet paid the fees), to make this work out optimally we need all of you (and of course, want you!).

Please, those who have not replied to my e-mail requests about whether you are coming or not, do so,
and if you are coming, please make your room reservations and send in your fees ($240 pp). Those of
you who have reserved a room and not paid your Activity Fee, please do so as soon as possible. If there
are special circumstances preventing you from fully committing now, please let me know so I have an
idea of what to expect.

When making reservations, refer to the Saigon Reunion to get our group rate. Note that all rooms in our
bank not taken by the end of this month go back to the Inn. You can probably get a room later, but at the regular higher rate.

Thanks very much, all, and best regards.
Your Concierge, Richard!
Current Mailing Address: 33 Nicholas Court, Portland, Maine 04103

The Maybe Not-So-Last


Of the 38 persons who have signed on so far (including spouses, and/or significant
others, and/or friends or relatives), most have already reserved rooms at the Spruce Point Inn.
Those who have not done so may want to act soon to get the pick of the rooms that remain.
Those who have not signed up, please reconsider by sending me a note saying you will attend,
and by making your room reservation. Every attendee will be an important contributor to the
success of this reunion. I am hoping to have at least 50 in attendance. I have attached the most
current list, with the last estimated fees breakdown included.
Please remember to let me know when you’ve made your reservations, for how many
(with names and relation), and for what room, so I can keep track.

The room reservations deadline is April 30, 2017.
All rooms set aside for us that have not been reserved by that date will go back to the Inn
to be available to the public at large, and will no longer be available at our group rate

I am cautioned by the events manager that food costs could rise slightly from what I
published last year at this time, to the time of the reunion. I believe my earlier tentative guess of
$230.00 per person in total fees may be too conservative, and that $240 per person is more
realistic. I would like to operate accordingly, with any adjustments to be made later.

Though the reunion is still a year off, I urge folks to begin sending in the activity
fees ($240) to avoid a last-minute push to meet our obligations to SPI. Please make your
checks payable to me with the notation “Saigon Kids Maine Reunion”.

Richard C. Henry
33 Nicholas Court, Portland, Maine 04103 (until Nov. 1)
3820 N. River Hills Drive, Tucson, Arizona 85750 (Nov. 1 – April 30)

Please see next page
TRAVEL NOTE (For future reference)
You likely will find that flying in and out of Portland is more expensive than flying in and
out of Boston. The cost difference might be enough to cover a rental car from Boston. There is
excellent hourly bus service non-stop from Boston’s Logan Airport to Portland’s bus terminal via
Concord Coach (roughly $27 per person one way, I believe), but there is no car rental at the
Portland bus terminal. It is a very short cab ride from the terminal to the Portland airport, where
you can rent a car, but there is little or no advantage to renting here rather than in Boston, and
ultimately more costly when bus and cab fares are considered.

Concord does provide bus service to mid-coast Maine, but not to Boothbay. Automobile
is the only convenient way to get to Boothbay Harbor and SPI.

For those traveling by car from Boston, you will need to use your GPS to navigate from
the airport to I-95 North. South of Portland you will want to connect from I-95 to I-295 north and
stay on it until you reach the exit for the Coastal Route, Route 1, north of Freeport, which you
will take to get to Boothbay Harbor and SPI. Two hours by car or bus Boston to Portland, and 1
hour 15 minutes downtown Portland to Boothbay Harbor by car (pretty drive). I-95 north of
Boston is a toll road (about $6.00 to Portland, I believe). I-295 is toll-free.
By car from Portland, access I-295 north to the Coastal Route (Rt. 1) exit.
I do not recommend taking Route 1 from Boston all the way to Portland. It can be a slow
and torturous drive, it is generally not all that interesting or scenic, and most of it is not on the
water. But you may want to take Exit 7 off I-95, near York, ME, to visit the popular Stonewall
Kitchen headquarters store that’s right there at the exit. (You can look it up on line).

Thank you all. I hope everyone has had a great summer, and that you will have a nice
Fall and Winter wherever you are. I look forward to hearing from you.! !!
My best to everyone
Rich Henry