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facility, nevertheless, remained open until the northeast monsoon would make operations there too dangerous.* From 6 March until its closing at the end of the summer, more than 100,000 short tons moved across Wunder Beach. K-


At the end of March, General Creighton W. Abrams, Westmoreland's deputy, extolled the logistic efforts of all of the Services, with perhaps a left-handed compliment for the Navy:


The Marines and the Army are working together realistically without any vestige of Service pride interfering with service to the common effort. The Navy shows positive signs of moving out as the others clearly have. I am encouraged and gratified at what has been done, with clearly more to come from these men who have thrown off the fetters of conventionality and gotten with the job.


He concluded: "The logisticians have thus far accomplished the impossible by supporting the reinforcements dumped into the northern area so precipitously."17 Naval Logistic Support


Despite Abram's rather lukewarm praise for the naval efforts, it was the Navy logistic system that provided the fundamental support for III MAF including the Army forces in I Corps. The Marine Corps traditionally had relied upon the Navy for medical support, for extensive and heavy construction efforts, and for the administrative and logistic tasks involved with an advanced naval base. Vietnam was not to be any different. In July 1965, the Navy had established the Naval Support Activity (NSA), Da Nang, which by January 1968 under Rear Admiral Paul L. Lacy, had become "the Navy's largest overseas logistic command," consisting of 10,000 officers and men.18


The Navy command structure made for some wrinkles in the U.S. I Corps organizational charts. Originally, NSA, Da Nang was under the commanding general, III MAF, who at the time was also the MACV Naval Component commander, but this changed in 1966 with the establishment of U.S. Naval Forces, Vietnam, directly under General Westmoreland. In its command history, the NSA, Da Nang reported that it came under the operational control of U.S. Naval Forces, Vietnam, under the command of Commander, Service Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, "less operational control," and finally under the "military control" of III MAF. For all practical purposes, however, the NSA in I Corps remained a component part of III MAF.1''


From his headquarters building in downtown Da Nang, nicknamed the "White Elephant" after its white decor and decorative elephant friezes. Admiral Lacy controlled the beach and port logistic activities for U.S. forces throughout I Corps. By January 1968, he had a small fleet of over 100 lighterage craft including LCM 8s (landing craft, mechanized), LCM 6s, and LCU (landing craft, utility) to move cargo from sea-going vessels in the crowded harbors into the ports and onto the beaches. Ashore, Lacy s command warehoused supplies, established supply points, assembled amphibious fuel pipe lines, and provided fuel storage bladders in support of both the Marines and Army in I Corps.20


While Da Nang was the hub of port activity in I Corps, the NSA, Da Nang established smaller detachments to assist the offloading and to provide for immediate shore storage facilities elsewhere in I Corps. By 1968, NSA Da Nang had three main port detachments deployed outside of Da Nang: one at Chu Lai, south of Da Nang, the site of a Marine air base and headquarters of the U.S. Army Americal Division; the second at Tan My near the Cos Co causeway at the mouth of the Perfume River; and the third at the Cua Viet Port Facility, which supported allied forces in the DMZ sector. Later in the year, NSA, Da Nang relieved the Army for port logistic support of the 11th Light Infantry Brigade of the Americal Division at Sa Huyen, which then became the southernmost supply point in I Corps. Each of these port detachments became a microcosm of the larger NSA, Da Nang, and each commander had the authority to establish direct liaison with the commands he supported in his sector. At the height of the U.S. buildup in northern I Corps in mid-1968, NSA, Da Nang with its subordinate detachments were controlling on a monthly average more than 350,000 tons of cargo for approximately 200,000 troops in the corps area.21


The 1968 Tet offensive brought home the reliance that the allied forces placed upon their water-borne lines of communication. With most of the main roads cut, the only means of resupply was by air or by water. Given the relatively small amount of material and equipment that could be airlifted, the Army and Marine forces in northern I Corps were entirely depen-




*At a III MAF logistics conference in May 1968 chaired by Army Major General Richard G. Stilwell, then the Deputy CG III MAF, Army, the conferees estimated the continuing support that would be required in northern I Corps. At the meeting there was a general consensus that "Wunder Beach should be abandoned, since both the road and the area . . . [would] be impassable" during the upcoming monsoon season. III MAF, Memo for the Record, Subj: III MAF Logistics Conference, dtd 15May68, End Dillow Comments.







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