During the fall of 1962, the American war correspondent Richard Tregaskis spent three months in South Vietnam. In Vietnam diary, published the following year, Tregaskis offered vivid descriptions of his experiences, which included joining South Vietnamese army troops on combat missions against ‘Viet Cong’ fighters, as well as observing an election inside one of the Saigon government's newly built ‘strategic hamlets’. But the main purpose of Vietnam diary was to detail the author's many encounters with Americans in South Vietnam — specifically the US soldiers, marines, and other military personnel serving as advisers to the South Vietnamese Army. Tregaskis greatly admired these Americans, whom he portrayed as indomitable Cold Warriors. He was particularly impressed with Lieutenant Dave Marr, a Marine intelligence officer he met at a US base in the city of Da Nang. Lt Marr, whom Tregaskis described as a ‘slim blond youth’ from California, spoke excellent Vietnamese, thanks to a year of intensive language training. He also displayed a marked ‘enthusiasm for things Vietnamese’. Tregaskis noted that Marr was rather less optimistic than many of his peers about the prospects for success against the communist enemy. ‘The best you can say is that we're holding our own,’ the marine told the journalist.