Chapter VI:
Facilities Construction
The vast construction effort designed to provide Vietnam with ports and airfields capable of accepting freight carriers did not encompass all that was necessary to provide for adequate handling of matériel once it did arrive. Mass movement of supplies and shortage of storage areas and of construction capability caused large quantities of supplies in early shipments to be stored in the open. This in turn caused rapid deterioration and losses. A more balanced effort of depot and port construction would have prevented some of the supply problems experienced later. However, the construction resources available had to be used where they were most urgently needed at the time. The tactical decision to bring in combat troops ahead of support units was necessitated by the enemy situation and political decisions which greatly complicated the problem of logistic and construction support.
The limited local facilities available for the buildup were not constructed to serve as warehouses, and their use precluded a well organized supply effort. In August 1967, 25 percent of the required covered storage space was available, and another 43 percent was under construction. The lack of covered storage space was a prime contributing factor to deterioration of stocks. Space limitations and multiple storage locations were a major cause of lost stocks, poor inventory counts, and inefficient warehouse operations. In a climate like Vietnam's, high priority should have been given to early construction of covered storage space.
In April 1966, when the Qui Nhon Support Command was elevated to a depot command coequal with Cam Ranh, requirements were increased for storage facilities. Raymond, Morrison-Knudsen was then called upon to construct them; simultaneously, much of the work on depot facilities at Pleiku was turned over to RMK. The depot facilities requirements for Cam Ranh Bay were still not sufficient.
Perishable items in Vietnam were phased into the menu faster than storage and handling could be provided. Means of remedying this situation included leasing commercial facilities, using banks of hastily erected 1,600 cubic foot refrigerator boxes, and using

offshore floating refrigerated storage. In September 1966 two cold storage warehouses were completed in Da Nang. In 1967 cold storage warehouses were completed in Cam Ranh Bay and Qui Nhon. In July 1969 the first section of the Long Binh cold storage warehouse was placed in operation with the rest becoming operational in October 1969. The construction of cold storage warehouses was definitely more economical than leasing facilities or using floating storage for extended periods of time, but cold storage facilities had to wait their turn among other priorities.
Since local ice production was limited, sixteen ice plants were brought into Vietnam in January 1966 and an additional twenty-four ice plants in July 1966. Because construction effort was lacking, erection of some of these plants was delayed, but many were erected by the facilities contractor, Pacific Architects and Engineers. Each ice plant was capable of a daily production of fifteen tons; yet, because local operating personnel were untrained, production was consistently below the plant's rated capacity.
To provide the wide range of dairy products in the quantity required in A rations, recombining milk plants were built in Vietnam. A Foremost Dairy plant began, production in Saigon in December. 1965. Under a contractual agreement with the Army, Meadow gold Dairies constructed a plant in Cam Ranh Bay, which began production on 15 November 1967, and a plant in Qui Nhon, which began production on 4 February 1968. After the cost was amortized, ownership was to be transferred to the U.S. government. By assuming the risk of operations, the Army obtained the Meadow gold product at a lower cost (including amortization costs) than the Foremost product. But in either case, the attempt at improving living conditions was appreciated.
In early 1966 considerable construction effort was directed into the upgrading of living facilities from field to intermediate standards. By pouring concrete tent slabs and constructing tropicalized buildings for mess halls, dispensaries, showers, and latrines, the transition was begun. In many cases, engineer troops prefabricated and erected buildings; in other cases, facilities were built by contract with Raymond, Morrison-Knudsen and Pacific Architects and Engineers, or by self-help with the technical assistance of engineer units.
By February 1966 cantonment construction was well under way. At Qui Nhon a 900-man cantonment for the logistical command and a 50-man cantonment for a signal relay site were in process. A division cantonment was under construction at An Khe. Cam Ranh's construction included a 6,400-man logistics camp and a 2,500-man engineer cantonment. At Phan Rang a 4,500-man can-

tonment was going up. Quonsets on pads for II Field Force head quarters were being constructed at Long Binh. Near Di An a 2,950-man cantonment for 1st Division units was in process. By mid-April 1966, construction had been expanded to include a 1,600-man cantonment at Dong Ba Thin, a brigade cantonment at Long Thanh, a 4,500-man cantonment at Lai Khe, and a drainage and roadnet at Cu Chi. By June 1966 in Qui Nhon, materials for cantonment construction were also supplied to a newly arrived Korean unit. Additional troop and contract construction at his time included a camp for a Korean headquarters unit at Nha TraZ and a 4,500-man Australian cantonment at Vung Tau.
The decision to station U.S. ground troops in the delta south of Saigon led to the construction of a base camp at Dong Tam-a major undertaking because the site had to be elevated several feet. The dredging operation alone required several months. Construction began in mid-1966, and the first occupants moved in early in 1967. The first units arrived on LST's and other, river craft in a carefully planned operation. Concurrent with the over-the-beach arrival of combat units, engineer units arrived by road and replaced an Eiffel bridge on the highway between Dong Tam and My Tho with a Bailey bridge. This opened up the road to Dong Tam, which was at this time the base camp for one brigade of the 9th Infantry Division. Another brigade was quartered on reconditioned barges provided by the U.S. Navy. These two brigades comprised the riverine assault group, which carried American forces into the delta.
By early 1967 approximately one quarter of the troops in Vietnam were in billets constructed by the Army Engineer Command, Vietnam. By about the same time 2,500 structures were built using self-help. Engineers provided equipment and supervision and constructed any facilities requiring special skills. The work began with the fabrication of major structural sections at engineer prefabrication sites. The engineer unit erected the first building while the self-help unit observed. After this demonstration, the using unit would designate work crews and begin construction. A construction engineer inspector was assigned to all projects to ensure proper workmanship and construction methods, while engineers installed drainage facilities, did excavation and grading, and poured more concrete pads. The self-help program evolved from an insatiable demand for engineer and construction resources. Self-help provided units with facilities sooner than would otherwise have been possible.
A study made by the U.S. Army, Vietnam, in 1966 recognized that cantonment construction involved more than clearing an area. Roads, billets, mess halls, latrines, showers, dispensaries, helicopter pads, water towers, chapels, and post offices would also have to be

PICTURE - QUARTERs rise on concrete slabs at Long Binh.
QUARTERs rise on concrete slabs at Long Binh.
built sooner or later. This study defined a cantonment and determined the costs per man for each cantonment category. It also provided initial cost estimates for a typical infantry division cantonment constructed by troops at the following costs per man:
Field     Intermediate     Temporary
$240.00     $560.00    $940.00
Subsequently, on 20 October 1966, MACV Directive 415-1 establishing revised construction standards for cantonments in Vietnam was issued.
In 1967 General Westmoreland on a visit to Phan Rang expressed concern about the extent of new construction under way for units assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. He pointed out that much of the work was unnecessary because the 101st was almost constantly in the field and did not make full use of the buildings already erected. After his visit, General Westmoreland ordered all construction stopped at Phan Rang. Lieutenant General Bruce Palmer, Jr., then Deputy Commanding General, USARV, established a base development study group in August 1,967 to study further the problem throughout the Army area. He asked the group to evaluate all base camp construction in light of current strengths and austere requirements. As a result of this review, numerous

reprograming actions were made to assure that only essential base construction continued.
In late September 1967 General Palmer approved the "hotel" concept recommended by the study group. The essence of this concept was that in any given base camp the Army would not try to accommodate every man stationed there, since a significant part of every maneuver unit would, always be in the field. Capacity would be governed by the size of the population inhabiting a particular camp on a continuous basis. The hotel concept did present some problems in storage and maintenance facilities, however, since they were not initially constructed to accommodate all of the equipment and property left behind by units gone to the field.
The hospital program in the meantime consisted of a 1,000-bed convalescent hospital, which later expanded to 2,000 beds at Cam Ranh Bay, two 500-bed hospitals at Qui Nhon, one 500-bed hospital at Vung Tau, and a mobile surgical hospital at An Khe. In addition, various smaller facilities and field hospitals were being built throughout the country. Many of these hospitals were constructed by joint troop and contractor efforts. It was planned that most of the major troop cantonments or base complexes would have either a 60-bed surgical hospital or a 400-bed evacuation hospital. Field hospitals and convalescent centers were also constructed. (See Map 9.)
When the 45th Surgical Hospital arrived at Tay Ninh in October 1966, it was the first medical unit, self-contained, trans-
PICTURE - SPIDER-LIKE DUCTS provide air to MUST hospital complex from centralized air-conditioning units.
SPIDER-LIKE DUCTS provide air to MUST hospital complex from centralized air-conditioning units.

portable (MUST) hospital in Vietnam. This hospital was installed in a 500x1,000-foot area which contained all hospital facilities, billets for medical personnel, mess halls, and helipads. The hospital, developed by Garrett Air Research Company for the Army Medical Corps, was erected on a 200x300-foot laterite hardstand. The unit consisted of three separate packages, each weighing about 4,000

pounds, and was transportable by 2i/2-ton trucks. Enemy mortar fire showed that these facilities required additional protection; they were reinforced to withstand direct hits by 82-mm. mortar rounds.
Beginning in 1965 the, administrative elements used existing facilities primarily in and around Saigon. However, as the buildup continued and forces spread throughout the country, more administrative facilities became a necessity-especially near logistical and major command centers. This construction was normally accomplished by the contractor or a contractor-troop combination. Administrative centers were built in Saigon, Tan Son Nhut, Long Binh, Cam Ranh, Qui Nhon, and Nha Trang.
Early in 1967 General Westmoreland began a campaign to reduce materially U.S. troop presence in major cities-especially Saigon. Under the direction of the MACV J-4, a program with the code name MOOSE (move out of Saigon expeditiously) was established. The program, however, was extremely difficult to implement. The first problem was to locate additional space outside of the city in an area where the same mission could be performed. Commanders were reluctant to leave the Saigon area and be very far away from the center of activity, that is, Military Assistance Command and Joint General Staff headquarters. Whenever a unit moved from leased quarters, there was always a tendency for other units, which were crowded, to expand into the vacated space.
Nevertheless by mid-1967, approximately half of the Army personnel was moved out of Saigon and relocated at the Long Binh complex. Personnel who remained were located primarily at Tan Son Nhut or were involved in activities which required close proximity to the air base or MACV headquarters. On 15 July 1967, USARV headquarters officially announced its move to Long Binh while construction crews still hurried to finish the facilities. Engineer troops graded and sodded the headquarters area to control erosion; established temporary water supply points; built three officers' mess halls, a VIP heliport, latrines and showers for enlisted personnel, and three trailer courts for general officers, VIP's, and senior colonels; erected flag poles; graded parking lots; and finished the access roads to the new USARV headquarters. Meanwhile, the contractor was completing the last headquarters building and working on the waterborne sewage system.
As headquarters and base camps grew, the entire Pacific Command communications system was expanded and upgraded. The environment and nature of operations gave rise to an extensive communications network within Vietnam. High-quality communications were required not only in Southeast Asia and by deployed combat forces in the western Pacific, but by other support elements

scattered throughout the Pacific Command. An integrated communications system in support of operations in Vietnam was established, which extended from Hawaii to Korea in the north, Vietnam and Thailand in the south, and along the island chain from the Philippines to Japan.
In order to implement these systems, the construction of new semi-fixed facilities at various locations throughout Vietnam was necessary. This was accomplished both by troops and by the contractors. Installation of tools, test equipment, and work areas was performed by contract with Page Communications Engineers, Inc., whose services facilitated installation of fixed communications equipment during the buildup's initial stages and provided continuity of operations and technical expertise while the military were engaged elsewhere.
Without contractor support in the construction and installation of the fixed communications systems in Vietnam, effectiveness would have been considerably lessened. The military services, unfortunately, have relied on contractor support in the United States in recent years to such an extent that the services have failed to train personnel and equip sufficient units to perform these tasks for themselves. Other benefits were provided by the contractor effort in the construction, installation, operation, and maintenance of fixed communications. Contractor personnel remained in the country longer than the one-year tour served by military personnel, thus lending more experience and continuity to the job. The contractor also generally had access to other than military supply channels, and this facilitated his obtaining urgently needed repair parts and other supplies from any source directly.
For each major base constructed, and to a lesser extent for each of the smaller bases, the Army had to provide electrical power to run the unending variety of electrical machinery employed by a field army. There was a severe general shortage of commercial power throughout Vietnam. As units arrived in the country, they often had to get along with their own tactical generators. As cantonments were built and refrigeration plants, computer systems, communications sites, and similar facilities were added, standard Army generators simply could not meet the demand. So in 1966, 600 nontactical generators arrived from Japan, and another 722 were shipped from the United States. These generators ranged in size from 100 to 1,500 kilowatts: In March of the same year, a contract was awarded to the Vinnell Corporation to withdraw eleven T-2 tankers from the Maritime Reserve Fleet and convert them to floating electric power generating barges. Five of the converted ships were capable of generating 3,100 kilowatts, and six 4,300 kilowatts.

Five of the ships were eventually anchored at Cam Ranh Bay (15,500 kilowatts), and two each were located at Qui Nhon, Vung Tau, and Nha Trang (8,600 kilowatts at each location). In April 1966 the Vinnell Corporation began work on land-based electrical generation and distribution systems for Cam Ranh Bay, Qui Nhon, Nha Trang, Vung Tau, and Long Binh. This contract was modified in 1967 to provide service at twelve additional sites.
Despite these projects, demands for electrical energy continued to exceed supply as more and more sophisticated electrical equipment and machinery arrived in Vietnam, standards of living grew higher, and nice to have but largely unnecessary appliances-hot plates, toasters, air conditioners, coffee makers, and the like-appeared in post exchanges.
Air-conditioning equipment was also a critical item. Facilities requiring a controlled environment such as field hospitals and computer centers made large-scale installation of air conditioning necessary. There were widespread efforts to obtain air-conditioning equipment for quarters, open messes, and administrative areas. In an effect to reduce the diversion of air-conditioning equipment from essential purposes and also to reduce the maintenance load placed upon PA&E by widespread installation of air-conditioning equipment, USARV established a control system to ensure that air-conditioning equipment was not issued unless a control number
PICTURE - FLOATING POWER PLANTS. Five tanker-generators ships providing power to Cam Ranh facilities
FLOATING POWER PLANTS. Five tanker-generators ships providing power to Cam Ranh facilities

was assigned indicating that the equipment had been approved for a specific project.
Long-range planning for joint use of power systems had been further complicated by the fluctuation of troop deployments. Assets were constantly being reprogramed as planned unit base camps were changed in either size, location, or priority. In Nha Trang, for example, it proved impractical to service Air Force facilities from the planned T-2 tanker power plant, since the Air Force installation was based on a different primary system. At Cam Ranh the Army complex consisting of a convalescent center, replacement center, rest center, and other facilities was located a long distance from the T-2 electrical plant. It was also separated from the main Army installation to the south by a concrete runway. The Air Force was faced with the problem of serving its facilities on either side of the runway. In order to avoid constructing two Air Force power plants and a separlite Army plant, an agreement was negotiated under which the Air Force would construct one power plant north of the runway and provide 5,000 kilowatts of power to the Army complex, while a like amount of power would be supplied to Air Force units south of the runway from the Army system.
A review of the T-2 power program in early 1967 showed slow progress. At Cam Ranh Bay five converted T-2 tankers were in position. Two were connected to the distribution system with a third to be tied in within three weeks. The primary distribution system was nearly completed. Power was being delivered to areas where the secondary system was installed. The remaining work consisted of completing the secondary distribution system, the 8,800kilowatt land-based power plant, and the switching station. The completion date would be 1 May 1967. Total power was 33,800 kilowatts.
Two T-2 tankers for Qui Nhon were not yet positioned in early 1967. Dredging of the mooring site was in progress. The contractor was in the early phases of constructing pole lines. Completion was set for 1 July 1967. Total power would be 15,000 kilowatts. At Long Binh T-2- power ships had been scratched from the project and relocated. The Vinnell Corporation was mobilized and had started pole-line construction. Generator pads were being poured, and the first increment of power was scheduled for April 1967. Total power delivered would be 30,000 kilowatts with provisions for adding on 15,000 kilowatts. Two T-2 tankers for Nha Trang were in Vietnam but not positioned. Power output was to be 15,000 kilowatts. At this time one of the T-2 tankers was on hand for Vung Tau, and the last of the eleven ships was expected to depart the United States shortly. (Map 10 and Table 3)

MAP 10
Real-estate problems were encountered at the various sites because of poor co-ordination. Vinnell had been doing the design work for distribution systems in the United States and had not made field checks on the positioning of switching gear, transformer stations, power lines, or other factors which would affect the area that the power grid would occupy. The contracting officer's representa-

Generators, KW
Icon: Generators in Place
Power Barges, KW
Icon: Power Barges in Place
Distribution, LF
Icon: Distribution in Place
Generators, KW
Icon: Generators under construction
Distribution, LF
Icon: Distribution under construction
Estimated Date of Completion Generators, KW
Icon: Proposed Generators
Total Distribution, LF
Icon: Proposed Distribution
Estimated Date of Completion
500 1500 5000 7500 Primary Secondary 500 1500 Primary Secondary 500 1500 Primary Secondary
Phui Bai                 6   3,000 1,200 1,500 APR 69 3   1,500     (5)
Chu Lai                             6   3,000 55,000 52,000 DEC 69
Cha Rang                       26,000 19,030 AUG 69 5   2,500     SEP 69
Pleiku-Log Depot 4       2,000 42,000 19,000 JAN 69                        
Pleiku-Dragon MT   6     9,000 74,480 68,000 JAN 69                        
An Khe   6     9,000 114,650 74,500 NOV 68                        
Phu Tai Valley "F"   3     4,500 39,045 19,180 JAN 69                        
Phu Tai Valley "R"                 8   4,000 25,000 20,000 JUL 69            
Phu Tai Valley "G"                                   10,000 6,000 (1)
Qui Nhon       2 15,000 122,000 31,700 FEB 68               5/1 9,000     (4)/(5)
Rok Valley   4     6,000 63,200 67,840 JAN 69                        
Tuy Hoa        


                    3 4,500 17,000 40,000 SEP 69
Duc My-Ninh Hoa                 3   1,500 53,000 30,000 JUN 69 69          
Sip Ja Sung-Rok Nha Trang 6       3,000 36,600 28,800 NOV 68                        
Nha Trang       2 15,000 86,200 25,400 FEB 68             12/3   7,500     (4)/(5)
Dong Ba Thin 4       2,000 17,000 11,000 DEC 68                        
Cam Ranh Bay     5   *33,800 294,700 104,400 MAR 68               9 13,500     (4)
Lai Khe 4       2,000 100,000 95,040 NOV 68             4   2,000     (3)
Phu Loi 3       1,500 14,000 3,000 NOV 68             3   1,500 16,000 25,000 JUL 69
Cu Chi                 12   6,000 62,000 100,000 JUN 69            
Bien Hoa   3     4,500 47,470 37,700 DEC 68                        
Long Binh   21     31,500 406,000 171,000 DEC 68       25,000 16,000     6/3 13,500     (4)/(5)
Xuan Loc-Black Horse                 6   3,000 42,000 50,000 SEP 69            
Saigon-3rd fld Hosp. 3       1,500     JUL 67             2   1,000     (5)
Saigon-New Port 3       1,500 50,000 59,000 NOV 67             3   1,500     (5)
Long Thanh   3     4,500 94,000 90,000 DEC 68   3 4,500                  
Dong Tam 12       6,000 37,000 37,000 MAR 69     2,000     APR 69            
Vung Tau       2 15,000 92,000 86,700 DEC 67             12   6,000     (4)
Vinh Long                             3/1   2,000 18,000 18,000 SEP 69/(3)
Can Tho 4       2,000 44,000 22,000 DEC 68             4   2,000 44,000 22,000 JAN 70
Total 43 46 5 6         35 3         57/4 23/4        
(1) Awaiting USARV Decision on Cancellation. (2) Awaiting MACV Decision. (3) Awaiting MACV Approval. (4) Awaiting OSD Approval. (5) Future Requirement
* Including 8 EA. 1,100 KW Land Based Generators.

tive in Vietnam subsequently initiated the appropriate real-estate acquisition procedures and managed to co-ordinate the space available with the size of the power system.
At division base camps, it was extremely difficult to provide enough power with small generators. Practically all of the large bases eventually had high-voltage central power systems operated by one of the contractors. This proved very efficient and satisfactory in the long run; however, the system would be extremely difficult to operate and maintain if untrained military units had to be used.
Since water supply has a very direct effect on the health and the welfare of troops, as various fixed Army installations in Vietnam were being created, expanded, and improved, so was the water supply. When U.S. forces began arriving in Vietnam, it was necessary to rely on water sources that were immediately available; these included lakes, rivers, streams, shallow wells, and occasionally municipal systems. These surface water sources were all subject to contamination and were of a generally poor quality, and the water obtained required extensive treatment. Existing well locations usually required hauling water over congested routes for long distances, and since water supply points were usually located outside cantonment areas the enemy could interdict them and deny their use.
Water was treated with tactical erdlators, which provided coagulation, sedimentation, filtration, and chlorination. Although the annual rainfall is heavy in Vietnam, and there are abundant surface water sources, the amount of water available for troop consumption was limited by treatment capability. To overcome these disadvantages, a massive deep-well drilling program was initiated. It was anticipated that these wells, producing water from deep underground sources, would provide water of better quality so that no treatment other than chlorination would be required.
The deep-well program did improve water quality, and water production was increased. The aim was fifty gallons per man per day. Supply sources were relatively secure, since the new wells were located within .cantonment areas. The relocation of wells and water points and the improved distribution systems released erdlators and purification units for use by tactical units in those areas where surface sources were still in use.
The well-drilling program made use of both military and civilian contractor drilling teams. The first phase of the program in early 1967 envisioned the drilling of 180 wells throughout Vietnam with a cost of approximately $5.4 million. At that time there were seventeen civilian, five Army, and four Navy well-drilling rigs and teams working in the country. In addition to providing water, this project

furnished important hydrological information on subsurface conditions throughout the country. From this information, the second phase of the program was formulated, and additional wells were dug. A production goal of fifty gallons per man per day for intermediate and field cantonments and a hundred gallons per man per day for temporary cantonments was achieved in most locations.
Many problems were encountered in implementing the well drilling program. Contractors had difficulties in obtaining permission for their employees to enter Vietnam and trouble assembling supplies. The Army teams lacked experience and faced a continual shortage of well supplies such as casing and screen. However, through practice and various expedient methods the problems of the Army were finally overcome.
Contract well-drilling was phased out on 15 April 1967. Contractors had completed approximately 160 of the 300 wells programed. The rest of the program was carried on with four Seabee operated drill rigs and seven Army drill rigs. Together they drilled 68 additional wells, bringing the number of wells to 248. This completed about 75 percent of the well-drilling program. These Seabees left for the United States on 30 September 1967, and the remainder of the program was completed by Army detachments.
Central waterborne sewage systems were originally provided at very few locations. The burn-out latrine, locally manufactured from a 55-gallon drum cut in half and partially filled with diesel fuel, was used at sites not located within or near major cities. Burn-out latrines were inexpensive to construct and operate and met field standards of sanitation. But morale was adversely affected by this primitive outdoor plumbing with its inevitable odors and by the dense, foul, black smoke generated during burning. Troops were particularly disgruntled when they had to burn out latrines in areas restricted to Vietnamese workers. Morale also suffered considerably in areas such as Cam Ranh Bay where on one side of the bay the Army had burn-out latrines, and on the other side the Navy and Air Force had a central system.
In July 1967. a sewage lagoon for primary and secondary treatment of sewage for a population of 14,000 was constructed at Long Binh. Sewage lagoons, when properly operated, performed very well. The decomposition of sewage in lagoons eliminated both objectional odors and appearance.
Due to heavy rainfall and the soil encountered in Vietnam, normally used treatment facilities were not adequate. The possible exception to this was the trickling filter. Leaching fields and septic tanks did not always work properly, basically due to the general imperviousness of the soil. Oxidation ponds were not always prac-

PICTURE - LARC V, amphibious cargo carrier.
LARC V, amphibious cargo carrier.
tical because the excessive land required was not always available due to heavy rainfall. These problems were further compounded by the high water table, which in most areas of Vietnam is within twelve to eighteen inches of the surface during the monsoon season.
Sanitary fill areas were established for all areas as land could be made available. Equipment for the operation of the fills was borrowed from somewhere else. Sewage disposal is still provided in most places away from heavily populated areas by burn-out latrines or septic tanks. Local-hire personnel handle latrines, while facilities contractor personnel pump septice tanks and operate the few waterborne sewage distribution systems.
During early stages of the buildup, U.S. military forces experienced other supply distribution problems. Ammunition supply was particularly critical because of the limited adequate storage facilities and great dispersion of forces. In March 1965 the only ammunition supply point in Vietnam was at Tan Son Nhut. By the end of the year eight air supply points had been constructed to receive emergency loads of ammunition in operations areas. Ships were waiting to unload, and there was an urgent requirement for the expansion

of facilities. Due to their strategic locations, heavy traffic moved into the ports of Saigon, Qui Nhon, Da Nang, and Cam Ranh Bay. All deep-draft vessels entering these ports had to be discharged offshore, and the ammunition was brought ashore by lighters.
The situation became critical in December 1965, and steps were taken to relieve a 48,000-ton backlog, which was distributed at the ports of Saigon, Qui Nhon, Da Nang, and Cam Ranh Bay. Construction of a deepwater ammunition pier at Cam Ranh Bay started late in 1965, and improvement and expansion of ammunition offloading points at other ports eased the crisis somewhat, but even as late as 1969 facilities were still not totally adequate. Procurement of unnecessary real estate for dispersed storage of the quantities of ammunition shipped to Vietnam took time. Waivers were necessary to permit the continued on-the-ground storage of ammunition, since it was not possible to meet all safety criteria. Construction of adequate new ammunition storage facilities was subject to military construction procedures, priority allocations, and required lead times. The magnitude of the storage problem can be illustrated by citing stockage objectives established by the services during the peak of U.S. force buildup. These levels required in the country were 295,000 tons for the Army, 59,000 tons for the Air Force, and 56,000 tons for the Marine Corps. The total of 410,000 tons included neither Navy requirements nor provision for the large quantities of suspended and unserviceable ammunition requiring storage pending retrograde. Even then stockage objectives were often exceeded.
PICTURE - BARC, the heaviest of the amphibious lighters.
BARC, the heaviest of the amphibious lighters.

Because of the difficulty in obtaining adequate real estate, a modular concept of storage, which had been developed by the Air Force, was approved by General Westmoreland for use in the combat zone. In application, a module was comprised of 'a maximum of five cells, each separated by barricades. Each cell contained 100 tons of explosives. This allowed the storage of up to 500 tons of explosives in a single contiguous module. Separate revetments were limited to 125 tons each. This resulted in decreased land requirements and reduced the distance requirement between explosive storage areas and other facilities.
Although the modular ammunition storage system provided a savings in space, it concentrated large quantities of ammunition in small areas and made for a greater hazard. The loss of several ammunition supply points due to fire and enemy action justified the need to continue attempts to find suitable methods for improving ammunition storage. The consequences of not taking action were well illustrated in the loss of the ammunition supply point at Da Nang on 27 April 1969 in which approximately 39,170 tons of ammunition valued at $96 million were lost in one attack.
Construction in Vietnam was only partly a process of converting bulk raw materials into facilities. The American construction industry conceived pre-engineering and prefabrication as a means of minimizing design requirements and increasing on-site productivity. Although building codes and labor agreements have slowed the adoption of prefab techniques in the American civilian sector, the services were under no constraints in the theater of operations. From a military viewpoint, a prefabricated package can be deployed at least as rapidly as bulk construction materials; it can be erected faster with fewer men; and its relocatability can reduce additional material requirements in redeployments. The shortage of engineer construction units in a future Vietnam-size contingency indicates that greater use must be made of this type structure.
In early 1966 a requirement for 12,000 pre-engineered buildings was determined for Vietnam. Specifications for some prefab structures were outdated and the buildings could not be provided expeditiously. Efforts were initiated to develop specifications and procure needed standardized pre-engineered buildings. By late 1966 both the Army and the Air Force were using the BUSH (Buy U.S. Here) Program and purchasing buildings for the Far East. The buildings eventually procured were of many different makes and types. These pre-engineered and prefabricated commercial-type facilities were used extensively in Vietnam for shops and warehouses in logistics and air base complexes. They were also used to meet administrative requirements in some of the large complexes,

PICTURE - COMPLETE SELECTION of wood, aluminum, and steel buildings under construction.
COMPLETE SELECTION of wood, aluminum, and steel buildings under construction.
such as the Military Assistance Command headquarters and the Long Binh headquarters of the U.S. Army, Vietnam. In some smaller complexes such as the Da Nang Supply Depot where real estate and time limitations dictated rapid erection of multistory structures, they also found users.
One type of prefabricated building used widely in the Long Binh area was the advanced design aluminum military shelter, an Australian development, popularly known as ADAMS huts, which were of all-aluminum construction and featured louvered sections in walls and windows for maximum ventilation. While ADAMS huts were easily erected on concrete slabs, they required the drilling of many holes on site to fasten the components together.
Use of modular buildings was more advantageous in many respects than construction on site of temporary structures. The main objection was the procurement cost which was substantially higher than a wooden structure built on the same site. However, the savings realized by purchasing relocatable structures and from cost reduction in erection time tended to offset high initial costs.

page created 15 December 2001

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