This report was sent by Jack Horvath and pertains to the maintenance problems on trucks in 1967
                                                     DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY


                                                    APO SAN FRANCISCO   96238


AVCA QN-86-CO                                                                                            27 June 1967


SUBJECT:       Analysis of 8th Transportation Group Activities




TO:                   Commanding General

                         US Army Support Command, Qui Nhon

                         ATTN:  AVCA QN-GM

                         APO 96238



              1.        On  18 June I rode the 5 ton convoys to An Khe and Pleiku and

On 19 June visited the 64th Transportation Company at Pleiku.  A narrative report is attached at Inclosure 1.  On 21, 22 June  I visited the other companies of the 8th Transportation Group.  A narrative report is attached at Inclosure 2.  The respective Battalion Commanders accompanied me during the visits to their companies.  Since the visits I have discussed  the majority of my finding, conclusions, and recommendations with Executive Officer of the 8th Transportation  Group.


              2.         Numerous factors contribute to the maintenance problems in the 8th Group as indicated in Inclosures 1 and 2,  Basically, the problem appears to be one of “mission versus maintenance” which can only approach a satisfactory maintenance solution by a combination of the following:


                           a.   Reduce the mission , or increase truck capability.


                           b.   Accomplish major repair of the roads involved.


                           c.   Provide tighter convoy control.


                           d.   Secure loads better.


                           e.    Improve 1st and 2nd echelon maintenance.


                           f.     Provide additional support from field maintenance such as electric welding and fender reinforcing.




VCA QN-86-CO                                                                                              27 June 1967

SUBJECT:    Analysis of 8th Transportation Group Activities


                      g.       Consolidate certain maintenance functions.


                      h.       Obtain additional 2½ ton trucks to reduce shortages.


                      i.        Increase 8 hour time to prepare a tractor for field maintenance to 24 hours.


                      j.        Provide more float vehicles and recondition exchanged vehicles.


                      k.       Exercise stringent control over S & P load limits (not necessary if roads are repaired).


                      l.        Maintain transportation maintenance sections at full or overstrength.


           3.        Some combination of the above listed actions should stop the rapid rate of deterioration of the 5-ton  fleet and permit a gradual improvement.  At all levels of maintenance we are “patching” more than we are preventing by following good procedures and practices.





TEL:   Bagi   123                                                 OSCAR C DECKER JR

                                                                              LTC                    ORD C

2 Incl                                                                     Commanding







                                                     AN KHE, PLEIKU TRIP REPORT    


      1.    On 18 June I rode 5 ton convoys to An Khe and Pleiku.  The convoy trips were followed on the 19th by a visit to the 64th Transportation Company motor pool at Pleiku.  Following are general observations and comments concerning the trip and the unit visit.


      2.    Convoy Vehicle Maintenance:


             a.        The majority of the vehicles appeared to be approaching rebuild or wash-out condition.


             b.        The quality of pre-operation maintenance is not known since the convoy was joined at its initial point; however, no maintenance was observed at that point.  At least one vehicles with a known serious deficiency (radiator leak) had been sent on the road.  The driver of the tractor that I rode informed me of this problem with his tractor shortly after I joined him.  By the time we were half way through the An Khe Pass, his tractor was overheated and operating at 235 degrees indicated temperature.


             c.        There were no apparent halts for maintenance during the convoy.  This is not necessarily a poor practice since the trips take between 2 and 3 hours.


             d.        No maintenance at the An Khe TTP except for equipment which drivers took to the shop because of malfunctions.  One of the TTP personnel stated that no routine maintenance is performed prior to sending the vehicles on the return trip.


      3.    Convoy Operation:


              a.       The Qui Nhon to An Khe “convoy” was a convoy in name only.  Other than at the An Khe Pass, we seldom saw another truck unless it was passing us.  The An Khe to Pleiku convoy had the appearance of being a convoy for short periods.


              b.       With the exception of the 30 minutes to clear the An Khe Pass and 20 minutes to clear the Pas enroute to Pleiku, our speed ranged from 20 to 45 miles per hours.   These speeds caused severe shocks to the vehicles and loads when rough surface road was encountered and when bumps ere avoided by running in the ditch.


      4.     Vehicle loading:  Vehicle loads are sometimes inadequately secured.  For example, there were three completely missing pallets on two other trailers in the TTP yard at An Khe and on the road.


      5.     Other General Convoy Observations.


               a.       Road conditions are such that the vehicles should be classified as operating in heavy dust conditions which requires additional maintenance.


               b.       Drivers are placed on any available tractor.  This practice nullifies the gain which is sometimes obtained from pride o “ownership”.






 c.       Drivers appear to be in as poor condition as their vehicles.  A few minor services at the TTPs, such as a water trailer at which drivers could wash, and readily available ice water, tea, or other cold drinks, should improve the attitudes and interest of the drivers immensely.  Insuring a hot noon meal might also be a morale booster.  A driver’s day is long beginning at 0330 when he is gotten up until, in many cases 2000 to 2100 when he finishes his run.  The first echelon maintenance which is supposed to be performed following the drivers’ two trips can be expected to be poor.


        6.   Visit to the 64th Transportation Company Motor Pool:  The 64th has major problems which can be expected to contribute to a continued deterioration of mission capability.  Some of these are as follows:


               a.      Shortage of maintenance personnel.  The unit is authorized 23, and has 17 personnel assigned of which 5 are not available to the motor office because they work at the TTP on trailers which require maintenance.   In addition, the unit has almost an additional 50% of its authorized trucks on hand.


               b.      On a run and repair basis, trucks which have extensive deficiencies are placed into service.  These deficiencies cause others.


               c.       No scheduled maintenance services were being performed.  A three station after-operation check is required to be made at the end of a day- fuel, oil. And water, tighten bolts, and clean air cleaner.  Since this check must be made after the driver completes his two daily runs, it may fall short of the desired standards.


      7.      Conclusions and Recommendations:

                a.      Road conditions require improvement in order to reduce vehicle abuse.


                b.      Maintenance personnel are in extremely short supply in the 64th Transportation Company.  Personnel must be assigned to fill and exceed the TOE authorizations immediately.  If additional maintenance personnel are not assigned, the supporting maintenance company may have to assume some of the scheduled maintenance workload.


                c.      Drivers  are physically worn and are falling short in their required operator maintenance.  Because of the time and energy that these men expend during their daily trips, consideration must be given to relieving them of after operation maintenance and giving this responsibility to a service-station operation.


                d.       A large float of 5-ton tractors is necessary to assist in preventing complete wear out of vehicles.








      1.   The following summary comments concerning my visit to the 8th Transportation Group un on 21 and 22 June are divided into areas which I consider to be either primarily within the control of the 8th Group or outside their control.


      2.   Within 8th Transportation Group Control:


            a.   Convoy Control.     Tighter control over speed and convoy discipline is necessary to reduce vehicle damage.  On 20 June the 8th Group reduced the maximum lead speed of convoys to 20 mph with an “overtake” speed of 25 mph.  20 mph for any vehicle places unnecessary strain on the vehicle frame, fenders, steering, and the driver when rough sections of the road are negotiated.  A 20 mph maximum speed with instructions to the convoy commander to reduce the speed when road conditions dictate would reduce overall speed and equipment strain; however trip time would be increased.  Convoys appear too large for tight control.  Discussion with battalion commanders indicates that they are going to attempt to operate smaller march units with more unit integrity so that controlling officers and NCOs know their men.


           b.   Load Distribution and Security.   Load distribution is generally adequate, but failure to secure the load in some cases (particularly cement and lumber) allows the load to shift causing strain to the equipment or loss of a portion of the load.


           c.    At Halt Maintenance.   No preventive maintenance was observed at the one intermediate point (An Khe) on my trip.   Adequate time, tools, and supervision should be provided at An Khe and Pleiku so that minimum essential maintenance is performed (i.e. check oil, water, battery box security, wheel lug nuts, engine mounting bolts, air breather connections, air connections, cargo body mounting bolts on 5-ton cargo vehicles, and load security.  The certain manner of accomplishing this, given proper facilities, by the service station technique; however, it is not the only method.


          d.     Convoy Lookout Points.    As stated earlier, convoy control is loose.  If small march units and unit integrity cannon be attained, several lookout points or Military Police road patrols should be established.


       e.      Maintenance Scheduling.    Most units have a target of two vehicles per day in scheduled maintenance; however, operational requirements take priority over scheduled maintenance and three units had no vehicles in scheduled maintenance during my visits.  Most units state that their vehicles operate an average of at least 3,000 miles per month, a minimum of two per day must receive scheduled maintenance based on 60 vehicles per unit and required 3,000 miles for an “S” service.  Vehicle conditions indicate that generally, inadequate time is spent when a “S” service is performed.  A motor officer who recently arrived from Cam Ranh Bay indicated that the primary reason that his unit had a markedly better maintenance record at Cam Ranh Bay than here is that he performed an “S” service on six vehicles each day and that most services required two shifts to complete.  Consideration should be given to directing units to perform scheduled maintenance on a minimum of two vehicles each day although it will initially have an adverse impact on operational availability.







f.        Equipment Abuse.   A review of depot shipping records indicates that approximately 20% of the S & Ps are overloaded from 2 to 10 tons.  According to

TM 9-2320-211-10, change 3, dated 28 January 1965, the M52A2 tractor is rated at 15,000 pounds on the kingpin (of which the trailer accounts for 4,000 pounds empty) with a towed load of 37,500 pounds (of which the trailer accounts for 14,400 pounds empty) for cross country operations.  These tractors and trailers are operating under worse than cross country conditions because of the speed at which they hit the holes and bumps in the road.  Maximum load should be published as 12 tons except in a combat emergency.


            g.        1st Echelon Maintenance.  Although all units have supervised motor stables from 1800 to 1900 each day, most vehicles have not returned from the day’s run at that time.  Maintenance performed on a dirty vehicle after dark is a major problem and must be closely supervised.  Perhaps consideration should be give to a service station operation using mechanics and off-duty drivers for vehicles arriving after a certain hour, possibly 2100 hours.  Fuel filters and air breathers are frequently not being changed or cleaned.  Daily maintenance is necessary.


             h.       Consolidation of Maintenance.   As a minimum, trailer maintenance should be consolidated for each battalion to avoid a waste of manpower and to make a specific group responsible, since there is little unit identification with its trailers.  It is also recommended that the 54th Transportation Battalion study the desirability of consolidation its light truck maintenance shops in order to better control its maintenance and to save overhead personnel.  It has three shop facilities which are side by side.  Tire repair should be consolidated at battalion level by the use of a tire braking machine and local nationals.


             i.       Organization for Mission.   Although the 27th Battalion has the preponderance of the medium truck companies (4 of 5) and has the majority of the trailer line haul, the 54th Battalion operates a trailer transfer point (TTP) at both Qui Nhon and An Khe.  Detachments are authorized for each of these TTPs.  The 64TH Transportation Company (27th Bn) operates the TTP at Pleiku from its own resources in addition to shuttling at Pleiku and line hauling to An Khe.  Consideration should be given to assigning the line haul TTPs to the 27th Battalion (particularly An Khe) and dropping the line haul mission from the 64th at Pleiku (thus returning its extra trucks and maintenance load to the parent unit).  Convoys could then move more slowly and arrive in Pleiku by noon.  Drivers could have a hot meal, make the trailer exchange at the TTP (in some cases the line haul trucks must now throughput to the unit), and arrive back in Qui Nhon in sufficient time to perform better maintenance.  It should be pointed out that this would probably cause a lower availability of tractors initially until maintenance improves; however, there is already some loss associated with throughput since it takes enough time that some of these vehicles are locked in at Pleiku when the road closes.









3.     Outside of TC Control:


               a.    Shortage of 2½ ton trucks.  The 444th Transportation Company is short twenty 2 ½ ton trucks.


               b.     Eight hour preparation time for tractors for field maintenance.  This time should be increased to 24 hours and units should be told to use this time to perform an “S” maintenance service.  At present, when units stick to the eight hour limit, they either stop other maintenance to get the vehicle prepared or they expend extra man hours by sending man to field maintenance to correct the deficiencies.


                c.      Maintenance Facilities and Tools.   The 563rd and the 64th Transportation Companies do not have adequate maintenance facilities although plans have been made.  General mechanics hand tools are short  as are such items as spark plug cleaners from the organizational tool sets.  Wash racks are needed in all units.


                d.       Maintenance Personnel.  The 8th Transportation Group is short 10 of  226 authorized maintenance personnel with a 30 day loss forecast of 26 additional personnel.  On the surface this does not appear to be a serious shortage; however, all shops are on a 24 hour operation.  This requires more overhead personnel such as shift foremen, TAERs clerks, wrecker operators, and engineer maintenance men and tool room keepers.  Four overstrength personnel in each maintenance section would provide adequate “wrench pullers”


                e.       Electric Welding Capability.  Each transportation battalion requires an arc welder to expedite fender and body repairs.  Until they can get one by MTOE, additional support will have to be furnished by field maintenance.  This problem is being studied by the maintenance battalions.


              f.        Modification for the Right Fender on the 5-Ton.   Some method must be found to reinforce the right fender of the 5-ton.  When a fix has been designed, materials should be given to field maintenance to fabricate the items.


              g.        Float Vehicles.  A new float of at least sixty 5-ton tractors is required so that an exchange program can be initiated to attain an early upgrading of the fleet readiness.  At the same time, reconditioning should begin on the exchanged tractors.


              h.        Exhaust Stack Modification.  The new vertical exhaust stack also requires a fix.  It is breaking at the flange because of excessive vibration.