Department of the Army Historical Summary: FY 1974



In fiscal year 1974 no U.S. Army combat units were engaged in military operations in Southeast Asia for the first time in ten years. Although the Army's combat role in that war-ravaged area was over, the listing of casualties was not yet complete. The names of 31 more U.S. Army soldiers were added to the roll of battle casualties in Southeast Asia during the fiscal year-30 by board action following a presumptive finding of death and 1 from enemy fire during a joint Casualty Resolution Center operation. The number of men wounded in battle also increased by five. The total number of Army personnel killed in action in the Southeast Asia conflict from 1 January 1961 to 30 June 1974 was 30,650, and another 205,056 were wounded. As of 20 June 1974, 279 men were still listed as missing, 206 of whom were missing in action, and the remainder were missing and unaccounted for. Another twelve were listed as captured.

Fiscal year 1974 was also the first time since 1948 that the Army was required to man its ranks on an entirely volunteer basis. Building upon personnel procurement and retention programs started in fiscal year 1973, and benefiting from a successful revitalization of the U.S. Army Recruiting Command, which was largely completed by November 1973, the Army succeeded in meeting its manpower requirements without relying upon the draft. On 30 June 1974 Army strength was 782,897 (which excludes 433 reimbursable active duty military personnel paid from Civil Functions, Reserve, and National Guard appropriations), some 17,000 less than at the close of the previous fiscal year, but 1,297 more than the year-end strength of 781,600 authorized by Congress. The all-volunteer Army was a success.

Because the drain on men and materiel to support Army forces in the battle zone had ended, substantial gains were made during the past year in rebuilding the readiness of units in the Regular Army's thirteen-division force structure. Increased materiel support was also provided to the Army's Reserve Components to enhance their state of readiness. Progress being made in materiel readiness was hampered, however, by the unprogrammed use of reserve stocks to support the needs of Israel during the war in the Middle East in October 1973. Readiness was also affected by the energy crisis, for restrictions placed on fuel consumption made a curtailment in operations and training necessary.


Significant progress was made in reducing headquarters staffing to the minimum and concentrating available resources in developing the Army's combat forces. During fiscal year 1973 stress had been placed on reshaping the headquarters structure in continental United States, and this year emphasis was on reorganizing Headquarters, Department of the Army, and overseas commands.

The Army introduced a number of programs during the year to conserve energy, and it actively participated in the preparation of the Department of Defense submission to the President's five-year energy research and development program. The Army contributed to the production of energy through sixty hydroelectric power plants operated by the Corps of Engineers. These plants provided 17 billion kilowatt-hours toward meeting the nation's energy needs for fiscal year 1974. To produce this amount of energy from nonrenewable natural resources would have required the burning of 30 million tons of coal or 700 billion cubic feet of natural gas or 5 billion gallons of oil.

Lessons learned from the October 1973 war in the Middle East, which pitted Soviet and U.S. weapons systems and equipment against each other, revealed that the Army needed to further its research and development program especially on tanks, infantry movement, and electronic warfare and night-fighting devices.

Additional details of the highlights described above, as well as other important events and problems experienced during the past year in the continuing quest to develop a thoroughly professional Army, are described in the chapters that follow.



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Last updated 27 August 2004