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mission-one because of a front PCV clutch and two for master clutches.
10 May . . . MCB-10 has provided MAG-12 (Adv.) with all the necessities. They even provided one jeep which broke down this afternoon .... Because of the continued shortage of tractors, TD-24s, I intend to ask C.O. 3/12 tomorrow if he can provide some to help.
11 May . . . Earth moving on the runway is going slowly. Three of the 6 C.B. TD-24's are deadlined. Two are for main clutches, none of which are available.19

Eventually, the 3d Engineer Battalion at Da Nang contributed nearly all of its equipment to the Chu Lai construction, leaving the Marine engineers with only one bulldozer for their own use.

As the equipment situation gradually improved, the major problem for the contruction crews was that of soil stabilization. Initially, it was planned to mix sand and asphalt in order to form a firm base on which to lay the aluminum matting. On 14 May, Lieutenant Colonel Goode wrote: 'My biggest concern is the stabilization process. Will the rollers be capable of moving across the asphalt-treated surface? What will be the curing time?' On the 14th, Goode scheduled a test on the asphalt sand mixture in an area adjacent to the MABS command post so that the test site could be used as a helicopter pad after the test. On 15 May, Goode reported:

USMC Photo A184311

Brigadier General Keith B. McCutcheon, Commanding General, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, greets Colonel John D. Noble, Commanding Officer, MAG-12. Colonel Noble had just landed the first aircraft at the newly constructed Chu Lai SA TS field.

'The test of the asphalt failed completely. Asphalt was shot from a distributor onto the dry sand. There was practically no penetration. Twenty-four hours after the asphalt . . . was put down, it is still not cured.' After consulting with Colonel Graham, Lieutenant Colonel Goode decided that the solution for the problem was to stabilize the sand with a six-inch layer of laterite, a red ferrous soil obtained from pits north of the field.20

On 16 May, the first piece of runway matting was laid on the north end of the strip. Hauling the red soil was time consuming and it was soon obvious that the runway would not be completed on the scheduled date. The Seabees and Marines were still confident that they could build a usable field by the target date by emplacing the arresting gear for landing and using jet-assisted takeoff (JATO) for the takeoffs. Soon it was evident that even this limited objective was in doubt. On 25 May, Lieutenant Colonel Goode wrote:

As of 1000 this date, there was in place 2,650 feet of matting leaving 650 feet of matting to be placed. One hundred fifty feet of taxiway is in place. A total of 1,200 feet of matting must be placed to meet the goal. Since matting started nine days ago, the average rate was 275 feet per day. The remainder would require that a rate of 400 feet per day be placed in the next three days ... It is questionable whether the goal can be met.21

The arrival of the first aircraft had to be postponed.

The delay was a short one. By 31 May, the Seabees had completed nearly 4,000 feet of runway and about 1,000 feet of taxiway and the SATS field was prepared to accept its first aircraft. Colonel John D. Noble, Commanding Officer, MAG-12, who had established his CP at Chu Lai on 16 May, recalled that he ' 'caught a logistics flight from Da Nang to Cubi Point ... so I could bring the first flight of tactical aircraft to Chu Lai.'22 June 1st dawned bright and clear, and at 0810, Colonel Noble led his four-plane division of Douglas A-4 Skyhawks from VMA-225 into Chu Lai. The other three pilots were Lieutenant Colonel Robert W. Baker, commanding officer of VMA-225, and Majors Donald E. Gillum and David A. Teichmann. General McCutcheon, who was at Chu Lai for the landings, recalled, 'the NCOIC of the arresting gear cut off the tail of

Page 41(1965: The Landing and the Buildup)