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Photo from the Abel Collection


BGen Henry C. O/son. CG FLC. presents a Utter of appreciation to LCpl Ralph Choate relative tu aunatiwis by the FLC to a children's hospital near Da Nang.


the aborted enemy attack on the I Corps headquarters compound.' While a few rockets landed nearby during the offensive, the FLC complex at Red Beach remained relatively unscathed.


The Marine logistic facilities at Chu Lai did nor fare as well. On 31 January, an enemy rocket struck the FLSG Bravo ammunition dump, causing the destruction of 649 tons of bombs and 26 tons of bulk explosives. Scattered unexploded ordnance proved to be troublesome for many weeks after the attack. According to the FLSG Bravo Supply Company monthly report: ". . . thousands of 500-pound bombs buried in the sand. These bombs have been blown from their pallets and are being excavated, palletized, and issued."2 According to Marine accounting, the cost of the munitions destroyed by the attack amounted to $2,215,358.52.'


The greatest damage of the enemy offensive was to the Marine lines ot communication." Through January and February, die NVA and VC attacked river convoys on the Cua Viet and Perfume Rivers and successfully interdicted Route 1 at several points. In fact during February, the Marines halted all truck convoys north from Hue to the DMZ. Observing that "logistics was the key" to countering the NVA offensive in the north, General Westmoreland, the MACV commander, stressed in a message to Army General Earle G. Wheeler, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and Admiral Sharp, CinCPac, "this means opening Highway 1."'


It would not be until the beginning of March, however, that the roads would be open again in the north. Even then, as an Army historian noted, "interdiction continued-mining, demolition of bridges, road cratering, and ambushes.""' Still on a typical day during this period, 11 LCUs would be either loading cargo or en route from Da Nang to northern I Corps together with truck convoys from Da Nang to Phu Bai and from Phu Bai to Dong Ha. From its outset, the enemy offensive, as the Marine command noted in a mid-year report, was aimed "against our supply lines."6


During this interval, the FLC assumed the additional responsibility for the preponderance of support for the 1st Air Cavalry and 101st Airborne Divisions as they deployed into northern I Corps. With the tactical units arriving ahead of the Army support units, the FLC provided both divisions interim assistance with f(xxJ, fuel, and ammunition. Within K) weeks, both FLSG Alpha at Phu Bai and Bravo at Dong Ha became responsible for 90,000 U.S. personnel of all Services, nearly double the number in early January. On 19 February, Brigadier General Earl E. Anderson, the III MAF Chief of Staff, wrote in some exasperation, "Our logistic problems have become immense . . . Yet, in spite of our pleas to slow down the introduction of troops because of the tenuousness of our land, air, and water LOCs [lines of communication], the four stars in Saigon merely wave their hands and release dispatches directing the units to move.7***


Despite Anderson's misgivings, the FLC's central control of assets and its capability to move critical items to combat units rapidly enabled the Marine logisticians to cope with the situation under the most difficult of circumstances. To help the Marines, on 26 February 1968, the U.S. Army established the U.S. Army Support Command Da Nang (Provisional) to



-Sec Chapter 8.


"See Chapters 7-13. Colonel Rex O. Dillow. the III MAF G-4. recalled that his section created a Transportation Control Center (TCC) chat operated similar to a tactical logistic ^roup in an amphibious operation in order to determine priorities over limited resources. While headed by an officer in the G-4 section, the TCC included representatives trom the 111 MAF G-3 section; the U.S. Seventh Air Force Tactical Air Liaison section; the U.S. Army 1st Logistical Command;


the FLC, and the Naval Support Activity. Dillow Comments and Draft or III MAF report on Loyistic.s for General Officers' Symposium, Jul68, n.d. {Jun681, End, Dillow Comments.


***Accordin^ to Army historian Joel Meyerson, "The decision to shift troops north at a rate (hat exceeded the capability to create a supply base for their support . . . reflected the gravity of the situation." He went on to state: "To develop combat power quickly, the four-stars in Salmon chose manpower over logistics, taking a calculated risk. But time, they believed was of the essence." Joel D. Meyerson, Chief, Operational History Branch, CMH, Comments on draft, dtd 6Decyi (Vietnam Comment File), hereafter Meyerson Comments.







Page 583 (1968: The Defining Year)