A SUMMARY OF THE MAJOR TASKS PERFORMED DURING 1968 AND 1969
1. During the period 1 January 1968 to 31 December 1969, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Transportation Command (Terminal C) supervised and directed the operation of four major water terminals. located at the Ports of Saigon, Newport, Cat Lai, and Vung Tau, Republic of Vietnam. The units assigned to operate these terminals included two transportation Battalions (Terminal), one Transportation Command (Terminal A) and one provisional battalion. These units were responsible for providing complete terminal services, to include the discharge of all US Government interest cargo shipped by ocean vessels, for all allied forces operating throughout the III and IV Corps Tactical Zones. In addition, a complete inland waterway transportation system was provided for movement of all classes of supplies throughout the III and IV Corps Tactical Zones.
2. Technical advice and assistance were rendered extensively throughout this period by the 4th Transportation Command to all free world forces operating terminals in the 111 and IV Corps Tactical Zones. The Staff of the Headquarters Company assisted the Republic of Vietnam port authorities in developing a complete terminal service capability and provided direct military support to the Director General of Ports, Republic of Vietnam and the Saigon Commercial Port Authority. These operations contributed significantly to the ARVNIZATION program and greatly enhanced the capability of free world forces to operate existing terminals without reliance upon US resources.
3 Operations supported by Headquarters & Headquarters Company, 4th Transportation Command (Terminal C), during the period 1 January 1968 to 31 December 1969 were as follows:
a. The 4th Transportation Command (Terminal C) supervised and directed four distinct terminal operations located at the Ports of Saigon, Newport, Cat Lai and Vung Tau.
(1) The Port in Saigon proper consisted of five berths with an additional ten berths of opportunity. With the close supervision of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Transportation Command, the Saigon Terminal handled an average of 168 thousand short tons of cargo per month. The operation of this port was conducted primarily with contract stevedores under the direct supervision of 4th Transportation Command personnel.
(2) Port operations at Newport, located two and a half miles upstream from Saigon Port, were conducted by the 4th Transportation Command. Although part of the Saigon Port Complex, the port at Newport was a physically and operationally distinct port. The Port consisted of five deep-draft berths and two LST slips with the additional capability of handling seven barges. During this period, the Newport Terminal discharged an average of 117 thousand short tons of cargo per month. In April 1969, a Roll-On Roll-Off facility was added to Newport through the 4th Transportation Command self-help program This facility added a significant capability to Newport terminal operations. In addition, Newport was the only port south of Cam Ranh Bay capable of handling container ships. This efficient, modern and relatively new facility, was largely responsible for the rnassive tonnage records established by the 4th Transportation Command.
(3) The Port at Cat Lai, located on the Song Nha Be, was theammunition discharge facility for the Saigon Port Complex. Ammunition, destined for allied forces in the III and IV Military Region, was discharged at Cat Lai, placed on barges, and then towed through inland waterways to ammunition discharge points located at Binh Hoa and Cogido. This smooth and efficient operation was supervised and directed by the 4th Transportation Command 11th transportation Battalion. During the cited period this Port moved an average of 55 thousand short tons of cargo per month.
(4) The Port at Vung Tau supplied the allied operations within the Mekong Delta. An extensive waterway system was established throughout the Mekong River Delta by the units of the 4th transportation Command which provided the means for supplies to be transported to their final destination. This operation consisted of operating the actual task craft and establishing suitable inland waterway terminals for the discharge of cargo. This Port facility moved in excess of 78 thousand short tone of cargo per month in support of allied operations and provided the principal supply line for all riverine operations conducted in the Mekong Delta region.
b. The magnitude of cargo operations during the cited period is evident and a total of 10,913,830 short tons of military interest cargo wera handled through all Command operated Ports. An important part of this operation was the transshipment of a monthly average in excess of 16 thousand short tons of cargo to front line troops via the waterways of the Mekong Delta. Actual discharge at inland discharge sites from all vessels averaged over 48 thousand tons per month during the cited period. Ship turn-around time in Saigon Port was maintained at 6-10 days, which is an important indicator of efficient port operations.
c The Tet Offensive of 1968 placed a severe strain on the Port Operations of the 4th Transportation Command. During this period, 4th Transportation Command installations sustained rocket, mortar, and ground attacks from the enemy, however, none were successful in halting or disrupting port operations. Although contract stevedores initially quit their jobs, 4th Transportation Command soldier stevedores kept the cargo moving. Through effective community relations, the civilian work force was back on the job within two days after the initial attack. This was a fine tribute to the understanding and good will that the 4th Transportation Command established within the civilian community. Despite every enemy effort, ship turn-around time during this period averaged only 10.3 days.
d. Both March and April 1968 saw new tonnage records established for the Command which reflected a high degree of efficiency and professionalism that have been the Command's hallmarks. During March, 568,000 short tons of cargo were discharged. This impressive record fell in April when 607,100 short tons were handled. Enemy activity increased again in May, but tonnage remained above the 500 thousand ton mark.
e. During June 1968, the Command handled 517 thousand tons of cargo at a cost of $6.70 per ton. Comparative figures for August 1967 show 360 thousand tons moved at a cost of $31.21 per ton. This sizable cost reduction was attributed to continued improvement in Port operations, which increased tonnage processed with essentially the same resources available.
f. In July 1968, individual port performances maintained 4th Transportation Command total tonnage near the one-half million ton level. Newport marked the anniversary of its first year of existence by handling almost 180 thousand tons of military interest cargo. This July tonnage was a record for the rapidly expanding terminal at Newport.
g. The 1099th Transportation Company (Medium Boat), located at Cat Lai, illustrates the versatility of the 4th transportation Command to perform assigned missions during this period. The 1099th served a dual mission as the 11th Battalion logistical support unit and also tactically .supported the 199th Light Infantry Brigade. During the last quarter of 1968, two of the unit's LCM8s were employed as offensive tactical craft. One vessel, with a platform covering the well deck, was utilized as a floating helipad for UH-IB and UH-ID helicopter gunships. The second craft was mounted with 105 MM howitzers and 4.2" mortar on the deck. In addition, other LCMs from the 1099th acted as troop carrier for the 199th Riverine Forces and other tactical units operating throughout the vast river complexes of Saigon Port.
h. In September 1968, the structure of the 4th Transportation Command was altered as the terminal at Vung Tau was attached to the 53rd General Support Group. The Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Transportation Command adapted to this change without impeding the operations of its three remaining ports. During the 21-day period in October and November 1968, the ability of the Command was tested as the 4th Transportation Command moved the majority of the 1st Cavalry Division (Air Mobile) support equipment to the III Corps Tactical Zone. While the 1st Cavalry Division was processing through these terminals, other port operations continued unhampered.
i. New methods and innovations adapted by the 4th Transportation Command have continually enabled the Command to keep abreast or new requirements and techniques. An example of innovation within the 4th Transportation Command is the installation of the automatic Data Processing System at the US Army Terminal located at Newport. This computer system controlled all major documentation necessary for shipping, receiving and loading for the Ports of Saigon, Newport, and Cat Lai. The savings in accuracy and efficiency have been most significant. The system was successfully utilized for the first time at Newport when the Hunter Victory docked to unload hundreds of tons 0£ Christmas gifts for soldiers in III and IV Corps Tactical Zones. The computer documentation processing of the Hunter Victory marked the beginning of a totally automated 4th Transportation Command documentation capability. Command efficiency has increased as a result of updated operating procedures, improved management, and new methods such as Newport's computer.
j. Under the guidance of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, the Transportation Command underwent a complete reorganization during February and March, 1969. This reorganization reduced the Command by more that 750 military spaces, without reducing the Command's mission capability. The 125th Transportation Command was inactivated and replaced by the US Army Terminal Battalion, Saigon (Provisional), which had the effect of standardizing the Command and control elements of all subordinate commands. The terminal at Vung Tau transferred to the Transportation Command on 1 April 1969, and was organized as the 159th Transportation Battalion (Terminal). The 159th Transportation Battalion assumed the mission of operating all the sub-ports in the Delta, and the inland waterway transportation system that has been a distinct feature of the 4th transportation command since its arrival in Vietnam.
k. In August 19693 the 4th Transportation Command established a river port at Ben Keo to ser'irice Tay Ninh. This port was vitally important in supporting the activities of the 25th Infantry Division. The Comanding Officer, 25th Infantry Division Support Command, was extremely enthusicasticc in his praise for the outstanding operations of the 4th Transportation Command.
1. A new responsibility was assumed by the 4th Transportation Command in April 1969, when the formal Vietnamization program was initiated. The 4th Transportation Command immediately established a counterpart relationship with the Saigon Transportation Terminal Command of Vietnam, which encompassed all aspects of terminal operation. Personnel from the 4th Transportation Command gave technical assistance, entered joint operational agreements, and handled all details of equipment transfers and related activities for this command. The personnel of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Transportation Command assisted the local Saigon port authorities in establishing Saigon Port as one of the world's largest port facilities. The officers and men of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Transportation Command were instrumental in training the Vietnamese in modern cargo handling techniques cargo accounting techniques maintenance techniques and many skills needed to operate a modern port. These same officers and men gave generously of their time and effort in supporting various civic action projects and continually upheld the Vietnamization goals established by higher headquarters.
m. Throughout this period, a slow but constant change took place within the 4th Transportation Command's mission responsibilities. At the beginning of the cited period (January 1968), the mission of the Command consisted of discharging ships and very little cargo was loaded. Beginning in the early part of 1968, retrograde cargo began to grow in importance as excess stocks in depot were depleted. With the phased withdrawal of United States forces from this theater beginning, retrograde cargo assumed more and more importance in the Command's mission, thus requiring loading operations. This charge was accomplished smoothly and efficiently by the personnel of Headquarters and Headquarters Company 4th Transportation Command. New facilities were built, new techniques mastered and new problems solved which enabled this additional mission function to become an inherent part of the operational load shouldered the 4th Transportation Command.
n. Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Transportation Command managed large amounts of men and money during this period. The capital investment of the Command was approximately 125 million dollars. This sum represented 50 million dollars worth of equipment and 75 million in facilities. The Command managed over 85 million dollars, of which 50 million dollars were spent for military and civilian labor, 33 million dollars for contractual costs, and the remaining 2 million for logistical support. An average of 8,000 military and civilian employees were assigned to the 4th Transportation Command. A constant effort to improve the management of resources in the Command reduced the cost of performance over 100 thousand dollars monthly.
The cost per short ton of cargo handled which is the standard figure used to evaluate port performance , was reduced from $10.19 in January 1967 1968 to $6.61 in December 1969. Through continued improvement in methods of operation, this command has succeeded in reducing costs, operating one of. the world' a largest military terminals, pioneering new methods, providing superior support to free world forces and allies throughout the III and IV Military Regions