[We are compiling material related to the service of Army Transportation Units during the Vietnam War. The major command structure used during that period is presented below with a separate page for each major unit. Any additions, contributions or corrections that you could make would be appreciated . Personal stories and pictures are especially welcome. Transportation units attached to Divisions and MACV are also part of our history. Please email Ralph Grambo if you think you can provide interesting items.]
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TMA Operations in Da Nang and Hue
Railway Operations at Tuy Hoa
The 507th Trans Gp (Movement Control) had the mission of planning non-tactical movements of personnel, materials and supplies (except POL) within the field army area, with exception of those between General/Direct support groups and their supported units. It was also responsible for maintaining liaison with trans elements of other allied and ARVN forces with US forces. The group provided a central organization and field offices required to manage planned movements. It was stationed at Tan Son Nhut and Saigon under control of the US Army Support Command, Saigon. On 9 Mar 66, it was designated the traffic Management Agency, MACV, with the mission of transportation movement control and management of MACV common service-user trans service in Vietnam.
[The following information was dug out of records stored away since 1971 which included a briefing book I used for VIP briefings I conducted when running the computerized system for cargo planning at Newport. This system was critical in efficient use of the berthing facilities at Vietnam ports operated by the Army. I was not a part of the TMA but was in 4TC but there was a common problem for both agencies in managing the flow of cargo through the ports. Every time a group of big shot generals or congressional people came to investigate, they were put in front of me for a briefing. At that time I felt as if I was the only person in the Army who really understood how that system operated . The information may seem technical but it may bring some memories back into focus of those that were there and lived through the logistical nightmare -- Ralph Grambo]
During the summer of 1965, the tremendous increase in the level of Vietnamese and Allied Forces in Vietnam created an immediate need for centralized direction and control of the Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) combined transportation resources. As a result, the Traffic Management Agency (TMA) was established in September 1965.
THE PRIMARY MISSIONS OF TMA
First, TMA serves as MACV's agency for coordinating transportation movements. Our major elements for effecting coordination of routine cargo movements are our traffic regions and their district and field offices and the ATCO's located throughout the Republic of Vietnam. These agencies make the actual physical contact with the various shippers verifying priorities, selecting modes, and arranging for the movement of the cargo. Coordination on a broader scale is effected here at our headquarters where internally we monitor transportation movements within the regions and districts. Externally, we coordinate with other MACV agencies, component commands, and the major out-of country transportation agencies. Through this coordination we are able to develop a movement picture for the entire country, a picture which serves as the basis for our decisions which are aimed at insuring the most effective and efficient utilization of the existing movement capability.
Second, we manage MACV's common user transportation resources. The resources we are speaking of are C- 123 aircraft of the 834th Air Division; the LST's from MSTS and the U. S. Navy; rail assets provided by the VNRS; and vessels, barges, and vehicles provided by commercial contracts. In addition, we receive added capability from deep-draft vessels utilized under contract, and aircraft furnished by the Military Airlift Command (MAC). Although we do not manage the last two, we do serve as the point of contact for their utilization.
Third, we allocate RVN port capabilities to component shipping agencies. Here in RVN all operators furnish TMA with a forecast of their discharge capability. Likewise, CONUS, PACOM and RVN shippers furnish us with a projection of their discharge requirements - TMA weighs the requirements against the capability and then allocates port capability to the shipping agencies. The objective here is to regulate the flow of cargo into the ports in such a manner as to insure full utilization of the port capability and to avoid port backlogs to the fullest extent possible.
Our fourth mission is to effect liaison. We effect this liaison with the civilian transport agencies of the host nation, host nations' military forces, appropriate U. S. Force headquarters, and Department of Defense agencies as required to accomplish our mission. TMA performs its mission under the operational control of COMUSMACV, with staff supervision being exercised by J4, MACV. The 507th Transportation Group, a U. S. Army Movement Control organization, is assigned to USARV for administrative support and furnishes the majority of the personnel who go into making up TMA. Other services supplying personnel through interservice support agreements are U. S. Navy, U. S. Air Force, and U. S. Marine Corps. TMA is authorized a certain number of military personnel from the Army of the Republic of Vietnam and a few local national civilian employees.
The First Traffic Region Headquarters is located in Da Nang with district transportation offices at Hue and Chu Lai and field transportation offices at Dong Ha, Duc Pho and Phu Bai. It supports units in the I Corps Tactical Zone to include the III MAF and MAW, Task Force Oregon, the ROK Marines, and the Naval Supply Activity Complex.
The Second Traffic Region Headquarters is located in Nha Trang with district traffic offices in Pleiku, Qui Nhon, and Cam Ranh Bay and field transportation offices at An Khe, Phu Cat, Tuy Hoa, Dalat and Phan Rang.
The Second Region supports the tactical units in the II Corps area and the major depot complexes. The Third Traffic Region is located in Saigon with DTO's located in Long Binh, Vung Tau and Can Tho.
The Third Region supports tactical units in both 3d and 4th Corps areas, and the major depot complexes at Long Binh and Saigon and the ports of Saigon and Vung Tau.
The second of our operating divisions is the Airlift Division. A function of this division is to monitor common user airlift assets of the 834th Air Division. The assets which we monitor consist of specified C- 123 and C- 130 aircraft operating on a scheduled and special mission basis within RVN. The Airlift Control Center of the 834th Air Division assigns scheduled and special missions to its aircraft based on requirements furnished to it by TMA. The 834th Air Division publishes monthly the Southeast Asia Airlift Control Center of the 834th Air Division assigns scheduled and special missions to its aircraft based on requirements furnished to it by TMA. The 834th Air Division publishes monthly the Southeast Asia Airlift Schedule which consists of scheduled passenger and cargo aircraft servicing principal locations in RVN on a regular scheduled basis.
The last of our operating Divisions is the Sealift Division. The functions are as follows:
a. Monitor and direct intertheater and intracoastal shipping.
b. Receive and process sealift requests.
c. Coordinate sealift through MSTSO, Saigon.
d. Arrange for sealift beyond MSTSO capability.
e. Allocate capability.
f. Coordinate vessel routing and diversions.
g. Monitor and direct RVN retrograde shipments.
h. Maintain ships file.
i. Ships priority and destination board.
j. Compile data.
The Deep Draft Section has the responsibility of monitoring and coordinating the movement of over three hundred cargo and troop vessels bringing cargo and troops to RVN and returning to PACOM and CONUS ports. In order to insure that accurate information on all incoming vessels is available for immediate use, information concerning vessel ETA's and cargo is extracted from the original source (MILSTAMP Cargo Traffic Messages, manifests, MSTSO Reports, Cargo Clearance Orders, and other reports), collected, and posted in a card catalog system by the Vessel Status Branch. This catalog is updated as changes occur (often daily) and provides information on the vessel's name, type charter, voyage number, port calls and ETA's, type cargo aboard, routing, diversions if applicable, and tonnage to be discharged. This information is readily available to advise the component commands and as primary source of feeder data provided to Management Directorate to effect weekly vessel tonnage forecasts to CONUS and PACOM. Additionally, the data is used as a means to post other working tools used within the Sealift Division and to produce a semimonthly vessel forecast showing estimated times of arrival (ETA's), tonnages and port workload for the next 30-day period for all vessels arriving RVN ports.
The Deep Draft Section and the Vessel Status Branch play an active part in monitoring and approving or disapproving requests for vessel diversions. All available information (vessel manifests, stowage plans, and cargo traffic messages) is carefully evaluated and coordinated with component commands affected before a vessel's routing is changed.
Discharge capability finally caught up with requirements in December 1966 after several months of serious vessel backlog. In December 1965 a peak backlog of 127 ships awaiting discharge in RVN was reached. One of the first steps taken by TMA to relieve this port congestion was to establish the Ships Priority and Destination Board (SPDB), which has the responsibility of allocating deep-draft berthing space, controlled by MACV for all MSTS, U. S. Navy, U. S. Army and U. S. Government contracted vessels in the MACV area. It further serves to establish destinations and priorities for discharge as determined by the needs of the command. This thrice-weekly meeting has been one of the major tools used to prevent a recurrence of the situation that existed back in December 1965.
ALASKA BARGE AND TRANSPORT - Manned by AB&T personnel these assets generally are the same as LST's or other intracoastal vessels. The assets are composed mainly of barges, oceangoing tugs, materials handling equipment and trucks and trailers for inland movement of cargo. Recently the assets of AB&T were divided to support inland movement of cargo into three major port complexes at Da Nang, Cam Ranh Bay, and Vung Tau Saigon.
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