El Paso Herald Post (Newspaper) - July 31, 1972, El Paso, Texas
-EL PASO HERALD-POST, Monday, July 31,1972
Section B—Page Three-
Massive Military Construction Ends
By ALAN HORTON
Scripps-Howord Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — The Viet-namization of the Vietnam War, brought an end this month :to the most massive military, construction effort in decays*
The United States’ contract with a combine of four U.S. contactors who were paid $2 billion* for their efforts in the last IQtyears now has expired.
THE COMBINE — known as RMK-BRJ — turned jungles into ^tracks, airfields» hospitals and everything else needed by^JJ.S. forces. As troops wer^'fcfought home, the construction effort would down. Facilities and equipment were turned over to the Saigon Government. The turnover is still goin&an.
The j£2 billion represents 10 timest as much as the General Serviqes Administration plans to spend on new federal buildings the United States this yearfc.J^ot included in the $2 billion is another $1 billion-plus spent, «on U.S. military construction elsewhere in Southeast Asia and hundreds of millions, ,of dollars spent by the services themselves on military construction.
Tlie, f; contractors moved enough earth to fill a 10-mile deep lible die shape of a football fijejd; made enough rock products to ballast a railroad halfway, round the world; used enough asphalt to build a road* (from Saigon to Paris, enough concrete to build a two by ifive-foot wall around South «Vietnam and enough concrete .blocks to build 13,500 two bedroom1^ “homes. The sludge dredged from Vietnamese rivers and harbors would fill the SuezGanal.
ALjUoTHE equipment and mate^gjs used in the unprecedented- ; effort were shipped there. Offsetting the shipping costs, though, were the labor
Wa$e, fates set by the Saigon (government in bargaining with .the uX* Embassy ranged from 11.5 C§nts an hour to 65 cents an hour, for blue collar works «and cents to $2.10 for
white-collar supervisors. The higher rates were not paid until recent years. Some
200,000 Vietnamese worked for the contractors at some point in the 10-years.
The whole thing started in 1962 with $35 million in contracts, mostly to improve three airfields.
There were no barracks for troops, no airfields with more than limited capabilities, not enough electric power and only one deep-draft seaport.
THE COMBINE started with relatively small tasks to help the South Vietnamese and ended up building most of what 550,000 U.S. troops would need—15 jet and 100 other airfields, seven deep-draft seaports, storage for three billion barrels of fuel and lubricants, quarters for 350,000 troops, hospitals with 8,000 beds, 56 million square feet of covered storage areas, hundreds of miles of roads, five miles of bridges.
The American contractors— Raymond International and Brown and Root of Houston, Morrison-Knudsen of Boise and J.A. Jones of Charlotte, N.C.—Built everything from the U.S. Embassy in Saigon to a South Vietnamese television station.
But it wasn’t all roses.
Equipment was stolen and otherwise channeled into the black market. Rear Admiral John G. Dillon (the naval facilities engineering command supervised the contract) told Congress this year that estimates of stolen equipment range up to several million dollars.
THE GENERAL accounting office (Federal watchdog) said RMK-BRJis unable to account properly for $120 mil-ion worth of construction materials. The contractors didn’t even try to account for what happened to $18 million worth.
The reasons for the problems were many. The contrac-tros were deployed at up to 70 sites at once. As U.S. troops were pulled out, fewer were left to guard materiel. As the the end of a contract drew near, Vietnamese workers no longer feared being fired for stealing. The 1,000-man secur-
ity force had to depend on Vietnamese troops to guard at night.
Many of the facilities built for U.S. forces have now been turned over too the Vietnamese. But that presents problems too.
EDWARD J. SHIRIDAN,
deputy assistant secretary of defense for installations and housing, told Congress in April that the South Vietnamese have been unable to operate and maintain facilities and equipment to U.S. standards.
“About a year ago,” he said, “I looked at a base on the Cambodian border that had been turned over to the Vietnamese, and all the generators had been worn out—no maintenance or anything.
“There is a training program that started four years ago to train Vietnamese in maintaining U.S.-type of equipment. I think they have made great progress, but I would not say they are up anywhere near our standards . . . they graduated 1,200 Vietnamese in management and trade skills in the last year.**
STUDIES SHOWED that many of the U.S.-built facilities are unusable. Many of the barracks were built too far from population centers to be of much use to the Vietnamese.
The farmers have found, however that the many roads are at least good for drying rice.
Hundreds of construction facilities are being turned over to the Viaetnamese although the United States continues to maintain them for several months after turnover.
Some 1,200 major pieces of construction equipment (of 7,500 in the combine’s inventory) also are being turned over to the Saigon Government. Some of the heavy equipment will gp to Vietanmese contractors who, even today, have the capacity to handle only about $100 million worth of contracts.
WITH THE combine out of business, Vietnamse contractors have a big job.
The United States will sup-
Patrolmen Arrest Burglar Robbing Tractor-Trailer
HAPPY FACES—The faces of these children show the happy aftermath of a blueberry pie eating contest held at a local playground in Philadelphia. (UPI Photo)
Wallace Definitely Ends 1972 Candidacy
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (UPI)— Gov. George C. Wallace has made it clear that his 1972 bid for the presidency is over.
“I am not a candidate for the American Party presidential nomination and ... I cannot accept a draft,” the governor said in a statement Saturday.
IN SPITE OF that, the chairman of the party, Herbert Horton of Odessa, Tex., said a draft Wallace move likely would develop at the party convention at Louisville, Ky., this week. He said, however, if Wallace could not accept, the delegates would “bow to his wishes.”
ply some $50 million in materials to Saigon over the next several years to build shelters for South Vietnamese troops’ families.
Saigon has found the desertion rate can be cut by providing housing for s o I d i e r s’ dependents.
The shelters are small, dirt-floored buildings with bucket-flush latrines. Some 200,000 will be built over the next few years for about $600 each.
Wallace endorsed none of the other candidates for president in his written statement, nor did he rule himself out of future political races even though he is paralyzed from the waist down as the result of a May 15 assassination attempt.
"I have conferred with my doctors,'* Wallace said, “and their best advice is that I not involve myself in any extensive campaign activity in the immediate future.
“I will continue to ask for evaluations of my condition during the political year,” he continued, “And I feel I will always get the best advice the physicians attending me can give pertaining to any campaigning.”
Police Officers Manuel Rios and Alfredo Sotelo saw a man standing beside a parked trac-tor-trailer truck with a radio in his hands early today near the Santa Fe street bridge. When he spotted the officers, the man immediately returned the radio to the vehicle’s cab.
It turned cut to have been stolen* along with several other personal articles of the driver, after a window was broken.
Antonio Chacon, 20, 405 South El Paso street, was charged with burglary in a warrant issued by Peace Justice Ben Mejia.
A MAN RETURNED to his
car, parked in a lot at the foot of the Stanton street bridge, to find four young Latin men had broken a window and were in the process of removing a stereo tape player.
There was a fight in which the car owner was clubbed and knocked down, but the men left without the player.
Police and sheriff’s deputies were investigating 31 other burglaries and attempts reported during the weekend period ending early today.
THEY INCLUDED Glen Arbor United Methodist Church, 4925 Fairbanks avenue; the Texaco service station at Hercules avenue and Diana drive; Crown Distributing Co., 913 South Stanton street; coin machines at the National Pride Car Wash, 410® Van Buren avenue, and the Enco service station at 5611 Alabama street; Grace Lutheran Church, 9301 Diana; the Minute Market, 1811 Hunter road; and the office of Dr. Hope Baguaro, Fabens.
Residences were at 3905 Sun^ rise avenue; 5044 Knox courlt-3940 North Stanton street; 5032 Alps drive; 8148 Starr boulevard; 8809 Teodoro street; 8200
Turk court; 470 Chapel avenue; 358 South Glenwood street; 704 Loretto avenue; 405 East River avenue; 109 Alley D; 9205 Alameda avenue; 8742 North Loop drive; 3301 Taylor avenue; and 5706 Middlesboro drive.
Vehicles were at 200 First Avenue; the Falstaff Brewing Co. yards, 300 North Concepcion street; 210 West Overland avenue; 6004 Fiesta drive; 809 North Piedras street; 100
North Copia street; and 9300 Vicount drive.
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