Lieutenant General Joseph M. Heiser, Jr.
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
WASHINGTON, D. C., 1991
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 72-600389
First Printed 1974
CMH Pub 90-15
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government
Washington, D.C. 20402
The United States Army has met an unusually complex challenge in Southeast Asia. In conjunction with the other services, the Army has fought in support of a national policy of assisting an emerging nation to develop governmental processes of its own choosing, free of outside coercion. In addition to the usual problems of waging armed conflict, the assignment in Southeast Asia has required superimposing the immensely sophisticated tasks of a modern army upon an underdeveloped environment and adapting them to demands covering a wide spectrum. These involved helping to fulfill the basic needs of an agrarian population, dealing with the frustrations of antiguerrilla operations, and conducting conventional campaigns against well-trained and determined regular units.
Although this assignment has officially ended, the U.S. Army must prepare for other challenges that may lie ahead. While cognizant that history never repeats itself exactly and that no army ever profited from trying to meet a new challenge in terms of the old one, the Army nevertheless stands to benefit immensely from a study of its experience, its shortcomings no less than its achievements.
Aware that some years must elapse before the official histories will provide a detailed and objective analysis of the experience in Southeast Asia, we have sought a forum whereby some of the more salient aspects of that experience can be made available now. At the request of the Chief of Staff, a representative group of senior officers who served in important posts in Vietnam and who still carry a heavy burden of day-to-day responsibilities has prepared a series of monographs. These studies should be of great value in helping the Army develop future operational concepts while at the same time contributing to the historical record and providing the American public with an interim report on the performance of men and officers who have responded, as others have through our history, to exacting and trying demands.
All monographs in the series are based primarily on official records, with additional material from published and unpublished secondary works, from debriefing reports and interviews with key participants, and from the personal experience of the author.
To facilitate security clearance, annotation and detailed bibliography have been omitted from the published version; a fully documented account with bibliography is filed with the Office of the Chief of Military History.
The reader should be reminded that most of the writing was accomplished while the war in Vietnam was at its peak, and the monographs frequently refer to events of the past as if they were taking place in the present.
The author of this monograph, Lieutenant General Joseph M. Heiser, Jr., has been engaged in planning and directing logistical support to the U.S. Army soldier, other U.S. Services, and the Armed Forces of Allied Nations since his commissioning as an officer in the Ordnance Corps in 1943. Having served in the Southern Base Sector Command of the European Theater of Operations from 1943 to 1945, he became a staff officer of the Office of the Chief of Ordnance. He later served as the Executive Officer of the Ordnance School and Division Ordnance Officer, 7th Infantry Division, Korea. He was designated Commanding General, U.S. Communications Zone Europe in 1965. He then became, successively, Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff Logistics (Supply and Maintenance), Headquarters, Department of the Army, Commanding General of the 1st Logistical Command, Vietnam, and Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics of the U.S. Army.
|Washington, D. C.
15 December 1972
|VERNE L. BOWERS
Major General USA
The Adjutant General
During World War II, Admiral Ernest J. King is alleged to have said, "I don't know what the hell this logistics is that Marshall is always talking about, but I want some of it." It's pretty well known that before that war ended, everyone knew in general terms what it was that General Marshall was talking about and that Admiral King had plenty of it.
Knowing in general terms what logistics means is not enough. The purpose of this monograph is to relate in specific terms what logisticians did and how they did it in supporting combat forces in Vietnam. Not only were American soldiers supported, but at the height of hostilities, in addition to U.S. Forces, the U.S. Army in Vietnam also provided support to the military forces of the governments of South Vietnam, Republic of Korea, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, and other allied countries.
Probably the best balanced assessment of logistics support in Southeast Asia is provided in the final report by the Military Operations Subcommittee of the Committee on Government Operations, House of Representatives (Holifield Committee) wherein, after approximately four years of surveillance of supply support in Southeast Asia by Congress and the Government Accounting Office, it was reported that, ". . . supply support in Vietnam has been a truly remarkable achievement, but the question must be asked, did it entail unnecessary, hence avoidable, costs? . . ." The Army, in cooperation with Congress, the Government Accounting Office, Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the other military services, began a program called the Logistics Offensive (so named by General Abrams, the Commander, United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, in early 1969) to immediately reduce the cost of providing logistics support and yet increase combat effectiveness. This program is a continuing one and up through September 1972, has yielded benefits estimated at 9.3 billion dollars. Of this total, 6.9 billion dollars have directly impacted on the preparation of the Army's budget submissions. The difference is considered to be a bonus, taking into account reduced requirements for facilities, personnel, equipment, transportation, and utilities to support a more efficient logistic system. These savings have been accompanied with dramatic increases in logistics readi-
ness for that part of the Army not in Vietnam. Based upon unit reports, equipment on hand increased 44 percent from fiscal year 1968 to fiscal year 1972, while equipment deployability, or operability, increased 41 percent during the same time period. In addition, the fine logistics support of the forces in Vietnam was maintained.
In most human endeavors, history shows a mixture of good and bad results. Combat support of Vietnam is certainly no exception. As Congress noted, supply support has been a remarkable achievement. Also among the good are many overlooked facets, including the unpublicized constructive efforts which contrast with the publicized destructive ones. For example, construction efforts by U.S. servicemen on behalf of the Vietnamese in 1968 and 1969 include:
Much of this was accomplished by American soldiers in their non-duty time-showing again the humanistic qualities of the American soldier displayed in other wars.
In addition, because of the vast experience gained, the American Army has a larger group of professional military logisticians than ever in its history-many of them junior officers and enlisted personnel- which bodes well for the future. However, we must insure that lessons learned of what to do are adopted and that lessons learned of what not to do will result in corrective action so that those experiences will not recur. It is with this specific thought in mind that this monograph has been prepared.
Finally, in Vietnam, there was a close and wonderful relationship between the man doing the fighting and the man providing the support. In part, this was due to the fact that both were exposed to the same dangers and, that unlike World War II and Korea, there were no safe rear areas in Vietnam. In August 1968, Sergeant William W. Seay, a truck driver- a logistician- won the medal of honor by breaking up an ambush against his convoy on the road to Tay Ninh. This man gave his life to save the lives of his comrades and supplies for the men fighting in the Tay Ninh border area. Logisticians are proud of Sergeant Seay and are proud too of the collective achievements in providing the quality and quantity of support furnished to the combat forces in Vietnam.
To perpetuate the great support provided the combat soldier and in memory of the heroic tasks performed by logistics soldiers such as Sergeant Seay, the "LOGISTICIAN'S CREED" has been
published and distributed to serve as a lasting reminder of what has been done and as a challenge to what needs to be done by all Army logisticians serving in the defense of their country.
|Washington, D. C. 15 December 1972|| JOSEPH M. HEISER, JR.|
Lieutenant General, U.S. Army
The story of logistic support in Vietnam is one of thousands of logisticians who worked tirelessly to provide that support. This volume relates their accomplishments and attempts to do justice to all the many facets of that complex support operation. Even documenting their story was not a one man job, and so I wish to extend my appreciation to all those who participated in this effort with special thanks to:
The Logistics Monograph Review Team. This "murder board" was composed of General Frank T. Mildren, Lieutenant General Jean E. Engler, USA (Ret.), Lieutenant General Oren E. Hurlbut, USA (Ret.), Lieutenant General John Norton, Lieutenant General William R. Peers, Lieutenant General Carroll H. Dunn, Major General Clarence J. Lang, Major General Henry A. Rasmussen, Major General Richard J. Seitz, Brigadier General Robert W. Duke, USA (Ret.), and Mr. Joseph P. Cribbins. Their collective knowledge and first-hand experience were invaluable in providing background and insight into the logistics story as it unfolded in the early drafts of the Monograph.
Colonel John M. Miller and Colonel William H. Hoffmann who analyzed and assessed the historical significance of the wealth of information contained in the early drafts and provided day-to-day guidance to the Monograph Team.
Lieutenant Colonel Albert F. Boll who developed the initial detailed topical outline for the Monograph to direct the efforts of the staff members of the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics.
The members of the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics team who painstakingly researched and prepared the many papers which formed the basis for the Monograph.
The Monograph Team. This team was composed of Colonel James R. Wilson, USAR, Lieutenant Colonel John B. Crockett, Jr., USAR, Major Willard A. Newman, USAR, Major Felix G. Porter, USAR, and SP5 Felix Ramos, who performed the yeoman task of researching historical information and editing the separate staff papers into a single comprehensive volume.
Lastly, I commend all the logisticians who participated in or supported operations in Vietnam, for they accomplished the deeds that are recorded herein.
| Washington, D. C. |
15 December 1972
| JOSEPH M. HEISER, JR.|
Lieutenant General, U.S. Army
|II. LOGISTICS ENVIRONMENT||8|
|Logistic Concept (1965) and In-Country Planning||9|
|Port Situation in Vietnam||23|
|Warehousing and Storage Facilities||26|
|Continental U.S. Production Base||27|
|Logistic Personnel and Training||30|
|III. SUPPLY SUPPORT IN VIETNAM||37|
|Repair Parts Supply||38|
|Short Supply Items||42|
|Common Supply Support||82|
|IV. AMMUNITION LOGISTICS||106|
|Ammunition Supply Rates||109|
|Ammunition Units and Personnel||121|
|Transportation of Ammunition||124|
|Storage and Handling of Ammunition||127|
|Security of Ammunition Depots||130|
|Maintenance and Disposal||131|
|V. AVIATION LOGISTICS||134|
|Growth of the Aviation Fleet||134|
|Growth of Aviation Logistic Support in South Vietnam||137|
|Aircraft Maintenance Personnel||139|
|Weapons Systems Requisitioning Techniques||141|
|Floating Aircraft Maintenance Facility||146|
|Intensive Management of Critical Assets||146|
|Closed Loop Support for Aviation||148|
|Direct Support Maintenance Concepts||149|
|The Aircraft Readiness, Utilization, and Loss Reporting Systems||150|
|Use of Helicopters in Logistic Support||153|
|VI. SERVICE SUPPORT IN VIETNAM: TRANSPORTATION AND MAINTENANCE||157|
|VII. SERVICE SUPPORT IN VIETNAM: CONSTRUCTION, REAL ESTATE, AND COMMUNICATIONS||188|
|Construction and Real Estate||188|
|VIII. SERVICE SUPPORT IN VIETNAM: SUBSISTENCE AND MISCELLANEOUS||198|
|Other Support Services||200|
|Unique Support Missions||215|
|IX. LOGISTIC SUPPORT OF U.S. ADVISORS AND SPECIAL FORCES, VIETNAM ARMED AND PACIFICATION FORCES, AND FREE WORLD MILITARY ASSISTANCE FORCES||229|
|Logistic Support of U.S. Advisors||229|
|Logistic Support of the U.S. 5th Special Forces Group||231|
|Logistic Support of Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces||232|
|Logistic Support of the South Vietnamese Pacification Program||241|
|Logistic Support of Other Free World Military Assistance Forces||245|
|X. WORLDWIDE IMPACT OF VIETNAM ON LOGISTIC READINESS||251|
|Impact on Active Army||251|
|Impact on Reserve Components||253|
|XI. LESSONS LEARNED||255|
|Personnel Lessons Learned||255|
|Equipment Lessons Learned||256|
|Policies and Procedures Lessons Learned||257|
|APPENDIX COMMANDERS OF 1ST LOGISTICAL COMMAND, VIETNAM, 1965-1970||265|
|1 Authorized Troop Level in South Vietnam||13|
|2 Procurement of Equipment and Missiles for the Army Contract Awards||28|
|3 Closed Loop Support Network||55|
|4 Army Aircraft Inventory and Value||135|
|5 Secondary Item Inventory Required to Support the Aircraft Fleet||135|
|6 Aviation Funding Programs||136|
|7 Percent of Allocated Army Funds Spent on Aircraft||137|
|8 Requisition and Supply Flow, 1965||142|
|9 Requisition and Supply Flow, April 1966 to April 1968||143|
|10 Requisition and Supply Flow, April 1968 to September 1969||145|
|11 Operational Readiness of U.S. Army Vietnam Rotary Wing Aircraft||152|
|12 Organization of U.S. Army Vietnam Maintenance System||178|
|13 The 1st Logistical Command Maintenance Structure||180|
|14 Organizational Structure, Marine Maintenance Activity, Vietnam (August 1969)||185|
|15 U.S. Army Organization for Facilities Maintenance, South Vietnam||193|
|16 Typical Organization for Supply Service, Vietnam, 1968-1970||202|
|17 Logistics Advisory Directorate||234|
|18 South Vietnamese Armed Forces Organization for Logistics||239|
|19 Reserve Component Equipment Inventory Changes||254|
|1 Major Depots, Support Commands, and Main Supply Routes||12|
|2 U.S. Army Pipeline System in South Vietnam||78|
|3 Deployment of the 34th General Support Group in Vietnam||140|
|4 Vietnam Rail System||165|
|5 Ports, Land Lines of Communication, and Major Logistic Commands||168|
|6 Maintenance Support Units||179|
|1 U.S. Army and Total U.S. Military Personnel in South Vietnam||14|
|2 Push Packages Data||41|
|3 Countrywide Petroleum Consumption||73|
|4 Percentage of Fuel Distributed by Commercial and MSTS||76|
|5 Direct Fuel Comparisons for Operation and Maintenance, Army, During the Build-up Period||86|
|6 Munitions Programs, Fiscal Years 1965-1970||119|
|7 UH-1 Production Schedule||136|
|8 Contract Maintenance Manning Level||139|
|9 Intra-Vietnam Cargo Movement by Air, 1967-1969||154|
|10 Operational Readiness Rates||177|
|11 Real Estate Holdings in South Vietnam||192|
|12 Property Disposal Office Operations||210|
|13 Property Moved from Pacific Command Property Disposal Offices||212|
|14 Evacuation by Army Air Ambulances in Vietnam||214|
|Vietnamese Farmer Operates Rototiller Alongside Plow Pulled by Water Buffalo||92|
|Gun Truck-5-ton M54A2 "Hardened" Vehicle||93|
|Gun Truck-5-ton M54A2 Mounted with Stripped Down Hull of Armored Personnel Carrier||93|
|Field Depot Thu Duc Storage Area 5 Miles North of Saigon||94|
|Field Depot Thu Duc Storage Area After Improvements||94|
|Unloading of 21/2 ton Truck at Saigon Port||95|
|Fish Market Area in Saigon After Improvements||96|
|Aerial View of Newport||97|
|Air Drop of Supplies in Operation JUNCTION CITY||98|
|Armored Personnel Carrier Gives 5,000-gallon Tanker Push Up Muddy Hill to Fire Support Base||99|
|Aerial View of Vung Tau, Showing POL Jetty, Tank Farm, and Air Field||99|
|POL Storage Farm at Tay Ninh Using Bladders for Storage||100|
|Loading of Class I Supplies From Depot at Cholon||100|
|Refrigeration Containers and Storage Area at Cholon||101|
|21/2-ton Truck POL Convoy at Pleiku||101|
|Ammunition Supply Point Under Construction Near a Fire Base in Kontum Province, Central Highlands||102|
|Crane Loading Ammunition on to Transporter for Shipment to Ammunition Depot||102|
|Fork Lift With 175mm Shells to Move to the Stock Pile Area, Vung Ro Bay, Vietnam||103|
|Bermed Open Storage Complex of the 542d Ammunition Field Depot, Bien Thu, Vietnam||103|
|Aerial View of An Ammunition Storage Area, Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam||104|
|Artillery Ammunition Prepared for Sling Loading by Helicopter, Bien Thu, Vietnam||104|
|Fork Lift Unloading Pallets of 105mm Howitzer Rounds From a Sea-Land Van, Pleiku, Vietnam||105|
|Goer 8-ton Cargo Carrier, All-terrain, All-weather Amphibious Cargo Vehicle||218|
|Goer 8-ton Cargo Carrier Proceeding Cross-country Through Swampy Area||218|
|CH-47 Chinook Helicopter Brings in Sling Load of Artillery Ammunition During Operation BOLLING||219|
|Air Delivery by Flying Crane of Ammunition and Artillery Piece||219|
|DeLong Pier Complex at Vung Tau with View of Rock Causeway and Sand Fill to be Used for Hardstand||220|
|Use of Sea-Land Vans for Transportation of Ammunition||220|
|Unloading of Sea-Land Vans by Crane of Cargo Ship at Cam Ranh Bay||221|
|Off-loading of Sea-Land Vans by Use of Gantry Crane at Cam Ranh Bay||222|
|Civilian Contractor Han Jin Trucks Waiting to be Unloaded||222|
|Army Vessel LTC John U D Page Tied Up at South Beach, Cam Ranh Bay||223|
|USS Corpus Christi Utilized as a Floating Aircraft Maintenance Facility Anchored Off Coast at Vung Tau||224|
|Aerial View of Vietnam Railway Service Repair Crews Clearing Right of Way and Installing New Track||224|
|Use of CONEX Container||225|
|Loading Laundry Into Dryer at Cam Ranh Bay||225|
|Maintenance Personnel Removing Engine from 5-ton Truck for Repair||226|
|Use of Maintenance Vans in a Motor Pool Operation||226|
|Operation of Rome Plows in Clearing Trees and Undergrowth From Areas in Vietnam||227|
|Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM) Escorts Barge Loaded with Rock, Fuel, Steel Girders and Other Items on the Vam Co Tay River||227|
|Flying Crane Lifts 175mm Gun at Vung Tau||228|
|Vietnamese Rebuilding Home with Lumber Donated Through TARP Program in Bien Hoa||249|
|Dam Built to Improve Irrigation System in the Village Rice Fields in Thuy Phu, Vietnam||249|
|MALT Team Head Confers with American Advisor and Local S-4 of a Vietnamese Supply Maintenance District I Support Logistical Company||250|
Illustrations are from Department of Defense files The painting on the front cover is "Welcome Relief" by Specialist Kenneth J Scowcroft; on the back cover "Convoy on the Mang Yang Pass" by E C Williams
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