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evacuee program. To fund this task, Congress had enacted the Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act which authorized the expenditure of $45 5 million, to which President Ford had added $98 million more. Beneath this State Department and Congressional umbrella existed the dual chain of command.
General Graham served as the military coordinator while retaining his title of installation commander, and Nicholas G. Thorne (a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve) served as the civil coordinator. All matters of controversy had to be resolved by joint agreement. Fortunately, due to the personalities involved, this convoluted arrangement never became a problem. It could have very easily become a major stumbling block save for Graham's and Thorne's efforts to work together.
An example of the potential for command conflict occurred the day after the first load of refugees arrived. Although relatively insignificant, it pointed up the need to maintain liaison and unity of command. Pendleton officials said in their description of the event that the first aircraft arrived in the middle of the night (0200) with no prior notice and that no processing occurred until the next morning, while El Toro officers reported that the "First aircraft arrived Marine Corps Air Station El Toro approximately 1000 (local), processing smooth, no significant problems"60 Why the two commands disagreed over this minor point cannot be explained, but it does illustrate the ease with which confusion and disagreements can occur. Add to that mixture the ingredient of multiple commanders, and the results could be confounding. In this particular operation, one more commander joined the chain of command when headquarters directed the commanding general of the 3d Marine Aircraft Wing to provide air support. In response, Major General William R. Quinn ordered Marine Aircraft Group 16 to ". . . provide helicopter support for Operation New Arrival to consist of one VIP configured CH-46 and one UH-lE on strip alert at MCAF Camp Pendleton from 0800-1700 daily, Monday through Friday, under the operational control of Marine Aircraft Group 16 Detachment." Ibrtunately, the addition of another commander did not alter the command structure or the spirit of cooperation.81
Despite the fairly complex chain of command and multiple commands involved, the Marines quickly and handily constructed seven camps in the Crisrianitos-Camp Talega area and one camp in the San Onofre area. This exceeded the requirements contained in the original order which stated, "Construct five tent camps in the Camp Talega-Cristianitos Areas with the capability of billeting and feeding approximately 18,000 refugees; billet and feed approximately 4,000 more refugees in quonset huts in Camp Talega and San Onofre."62 Ultimately, General Graham's Marines would erect more than 1,000 tents and process more than 50,000 refugees. The most difficult period would be the first week when the refugee population increased from 800 to 18,000 in five days. He explained some of the challenges: "A lot of people don't understand when you say you put up 1,100 tents. It has no impact on them. It's only when you tell them that a tent weighs 360 pounds and that it takes about ten men to unpackage it and to get all of the poles and all of the guide wires, and manhandle this thing and erect it; and it takes thirty, thirty-five minutes for a good crew to erect one tent."63
The sizeable cost involved in erecting and overseeing a city within a city also indicated the effort expended. The total operational cost of $15.5 million included necessities: refuse collection and disposal, $84,456;
water, $28,497; sewage disposal, $58,761; and electricity, $62,146. In and of themselves, these statistics do not reveal the most significant factor, that the entire west coast Marine Corps organization participated in this operation. The carpenter shop alone, "used 216,000 board feet of lumber, 4,500 sheets of plywood and 2,850 pounds of nails."64
On 29 April, General Cushman stated that the Marine Corps' involvement and purpose in this operation was twofold: to establish a port of entry at MCAS El Toro and to create a refugee center at Camp Pendleton. The Marine Corps accomplished both goals within the first week of the operation. General Graham was instrumental in achieving the second goal by overseeing and coordinating the building and sustaining of the camps. Still, all refugee matters had to be coordinated with the Senior Civil Coordinator, Mr. Thorne, whose responsibilities included processing the evacuees and managing all of the participating civilian agencies. Both men set up their own internal organization which for General Graham eventually consisted of 77 officers and 1,205 Marines. Graham placed Colonel John F. Roche III in charge of this organization, entitled New Arrivals Military Coordination Center.
Within this structure, General Graham created an operations section which oversaw the movement of the refugee from El Toro to his new, albeit, temporary home. Additionally, it contained a security section
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