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[Image 1: Department
of Defense Photo
(USMC) A801616.
The UH-1 helicopter,
shown here, could
carry a flight
crew and 12 soldiers. The South Vietnamese operated 861 UH-1s;
helicopters totaled more
than 40
percent of RVN aircraft.]

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back to conserve fuel. The expenditure rate of munitions also dropped. Interdiction fire was all but halted. The decreased financial support forced the South Vietnamese to consider cutting costs in all areas of defense including the abandonment of outposts and fire bases in outlying regions.


The overall impact of the budget reduction on the allocation of military monies was readily apparent. In FY 1975 at the $700 million level all of the funded appropriations were spent on consumables. There was nothing left over for procurement of equipment to replace combat and operational losses on the one-for-one basis permitted by the Paris Accords. Handcuffed by a lack of funds, the South Vietnamese could derive little comfort from an agreement which authorized both sides to resupply selectively as losses occurred.33


In an effort to increase South Vietnam's purchasing power while complying with restrictions imposed by the Accords, the U.S. reduced the number of civilian contract maintenance personnel in South Vietnam. These U.S. civilians provided highly technical assistance to the South Vietnamese in the areas of management, maintenance, and supply. The reduction in the availability of their critical skills had an immediate and debilitating effect on the overall readiness of the Vietnamese Armed Forces. Technical expertise and training, an important element in successful combat service support, became a critical factor in the highly complicated task of maintaining reliable aircraft. The Vietnamese tried to shoulder more of the burden in this area, but as expected, they suffered severely from lack of experience. It required several years to develop the skills necessary to manage a field as complex as aviation maintenance, and that time did not exist.34


In an oversight hearing to develop the FY 1975 budget, the Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives discussed the merits of Fiscal Year 1975 military assistance to Vietnam. A comparison of raw statistics relating to ar-


 


 









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