from Cavalair, April 15, 1967
by SP5 J.P. Morgan
There are no docks or piers at the coastal city of Phan Thiet yet 50 percent of all supplies for the 1,400man task force there arrive by sea.
"This is a unique operation," said Maj. John R. Stapleton, commander of Cam Ranh Bay Support Commands forward support area (FSA) at Phan Thiet. "It was created especially to support the reinforced battalion here."
Cam Ranh Bay Support Command is one of three subordinates of the massive 1st Logistic Command, the 50,000-man force which in one way or another lends support to every American soldier in Vietnam.
The 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry, with attached units, has been at Phan Thiet since last August conducting Operation Byrd. There are no open road routes for truck transport of supplies to these men on the South China Sea coast, 125 miles northeast of Saigon. All supplies must arrive either by sea or air.
Because the bulk of supplies are ocean shipped to this area that has no normal unloading facilities, extensive use is made of LARC (Lighter Amphibious Resupply Cargo) boats. These five-ton capacity, 300 horsepower boats drive into the sea, pick up supplies from cargo ships and return to shore.
Some supplies are shipped in LCU (Landing Craft Utility) boats which operate from Cam Ranh Bay. Because they are capable of beaching, the LCUs operate independently of the LARCs and need no dock.
FSA activities at Phan Thiet are diversified. In addition to supplying all rations, ammunition, and petroleum products, FSA also operates a communications center, laundry and fire department and provides the only showers at Phan Thiet. Ice and bread are flown in daily from Cam Ranh Bay.
Once FSA receives supplies, they are turned over to the Air Cavalrys forward support element for final distribution.