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to stack and temporarily store [it] at dock side in the city. One VC could have erased a huge hunk of Da Nang had he gotten in!22
In I Corps, all shipping was offloaded at Da Nang and then some cargo had to be reloaded on LSTs to support the base at Chu Lai. This created fluctuations in the volume of supplies reaching committed units. The heavy wear and tear on equipment caused by the heat, humidity, and monsoons created additional frustrations.
Solutions had to found. In August, a logistics assistance team from FMFPac arrived at Da Nang to study the situation there. By the 24th, the team had completed its report and made its recommendations.23 General Krulak's headquarters instituted two new programs based on the team's findings, the RED BALL and the CRITIPAC systems.
The first of these, the RED BALL Program, which went into effect on 22 September, sought to identify and solve critical supply shortages throughout the Western Pacific. When an important item of supply or equipment was found to be in short supply it was given a RED BALL designation. This meant that as soon as an item was designated RED BALL, all FMFPac supply echelons were alerted and the status of these items was closely monitored by individual action officers at each intermediary headquarters. It was their responsibility to see that the RED BALL item was shipped to Vietnam in the most expeditious manner possible, including spedally arranged air shipment.24 For an item to be placed on RED BALL, it had to be combat essential and meet specifications determined by FMFPac, which were refined periodically in the light of experience. For example, the 3d Marine Division reported in December:
During the month ... the number of RED BALL items increased to such a number that it became necessary to refine the criteria for placing an item on RED BALL. It must be a repair part for equipment, the loss of which would put the unit in ... Combat Readiness Category 3 or 4. At this time, the number of line items on RED BALL is 80.25*
The second supply innovation, the CRITIPAC Program, was established by FMFPac in November. Under this concept, the Marine Corps Supply Center at Barstow, California automatically furnished, without request, each major Marine unit in Vietnam, usually battalion or Squadron size, one shipment of critical supplies which were normally required on a routine basis. As a result of the first shipment which arrived in November, the 3d Marine Division indicated that 51 combat essential items were removed from deadline. General Walt recommended that some modifications be made in future shipments to include some items which were essential and to delete others which were not.26 Both new additions to the Marine Corps Supply system, the RED BALL and the CRITIPAC, helped to alleviate the III MAF logistic situation.**
The Force Logistic Support Group
The Force Logistic Support Group under Colonel Padalino had grown from 700 personnel who deployed with the 9th MEB to nearly 3,000 officers and men by the end of the year.*** Under the overall control of the FLSG at Da Nang, two force logistic support units (FLSU) had been established at Chu Lai and Phu Bai. Built on the nucleus of the 3d Service Battalion, the FLSG was reinforced by personnel from the 3d Force Service Regiment on Okinawa and from the 1st Force Service Regiment at Camp Pendleton, California. The FLSG at Da Nang centrally controlled all furnished material, assisted by two data processing platoons. Supplies were provided either from one of the three stock points in I Corps, or the requisition was transmitted electronically to the 3d Force Service Regiment on Okinawa. The FLSG was also responsible for first to third echelon
* Category 3 indicated that a unit was marginally capable for combat while Category 4 shows that a unit is unprepared for combat.
** The extent of this relief is a matter of some conjecture. According to FMFPac, the RED BALL and CRITIPAC Programs resulted in a decrease in percentage of deadlined equipment from 15 percent in the fall to 12.5 percent by the end of 1965. FMFPac, Marine Forces in Vietnam, Mar65-Sep67, v.I, p. 8-14. MACV on the other hand reported: "Year end deadline rate for III MAF was: overall, 14 percent; electronic, 11 percent; engineer, 32 percent; motor transport 11 percent; and ordnance, 5 percent." MACV, Comd Hist, 1965, p. 116. In any event there was no doubt that the supply situation was better than in October 1965, when III MAF reported: "Shortage of spare parts affected readiness to the extent that the operation readiness of several units decreased to the marginally combat ready category." III MAF ComdC, Oct65, p. 7.
*** Colonel Robert J. Oddy commanded the Force Logistic Support Group from 6-29 May 1965. Colonel Oddy also continued to command the 3d Service Battalion which left a rear echelon behind on Okinawa. Col Robert J. Oddy, Comments on draft MS, dtd 250ct76 (Vietnam Comment File).
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