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[Image 1: Photo
courtsy of MajGen
John E. Murray,
USA (Ret) The
occasion for
this gathering
of Marine Corps
officers was
a 1974 liaison
visit by LtGen
Wallace H. Robinson,
Commanding General,
Defense Logistics
Agency, to the
Defense Attache
Office, Saigon
to discuss logistical
support to the
South Vietnamese
Armed Forces.]

Page 37(The Bitter End)



the number of civilian contractors would be reduced to 500 soon thereafter. In June of 1974, in addition to the 50 military personnel, there were approximately 860 civilians in the DAO and 2,500 DOD-sponsored contractor personnel still in South Vietnam. Two interrelated events shelved the implementation of the final planned reduction: ceasefire violations and deficiencies in the technical training program. NVA and VC noncompliancc with the Paris Accords presented a problem that could only be offset by enhanced South Vietnamese readiness. The training of South Vietnamese personnel to achieve the necessary skills progressed at a much slower rate than originally anticipated and resulted in them not being prepared to replace the civilian contractors who performed vital support functions. As the tempo of combat operations increased, this situation worsened with the contractors spending more and more time maintaining equipment and less time training their South Vietnamese counterparts.31 During the course of the "Vietnamization" program, the United States implemented Project Seven Hundred Million under which an additional $700 million worth of sophisticated military equipment was to be provided to the South Vietnamese during the 30 days immediately following the ceasefire. Unfortunately, in planning this project, too little emphasis apparently was given to providing the training needed to make the South Vietnamese self-sufficient in technical fields such as electronics, major aircraft inspection and overhaul, and supply facility and port management. Existing plans called for the reduction of contractor personnel to about 1,100 in the second quarter of Fiscal Year 1975, but it became clear to both the United States and South Vietnam that this support could not be reduced any further and probably needed to be increased. Meeting the original goal of elimination of all contract personnel by 1976 quickly fell into the category of "too hard." Both sides realized by the end of 1974 that American technical support might be needed for an indefinite period.32 The Marines in Vietnam


Upon establishment of the Defense Attache Office, Saigon, the Marine Corps received three military billets. The first of these bore a strong resemblance to the former military position of Chief of the Marine Advisory Unit. The new position carried the title Chief, VNMC Logistics Support Branch, Navy Division DAO, and Lieutenant Colonel Walter D. Fillmore








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