71. Memorandum From Secretary of Defense Laird to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Installations and Logistics (Shillitoe)1


  • Military Assistance to the RVNAF—Enhance Plus

It has consistently been our intent to assure that the RVNAF are adequately supplied in order to permit them to operate in the future with assurance and flexibility. The Crimp, 981/982 and Enhance programs have had this as their objective. As a result of our efforts over the past week, I would like to activate the Enhance Plus program to encompass our still to be delivered items, plus that which is foreseen as the balance of additional items still required to accomplish the Vietnamization Program.

It is my intent to embark on this program, insuring its accomplishment as early as feasible with appropriate transportation modes. I also want the option of being able to accelerate this program to the maximum extent possible if necessary. The amount of tonnage shipped by normal transportation will ease the pressure on airlift should it become necessary to accelerate deliveries.

The following actions are prescribed as we undertake the balance of the logistics Vietnamization effort:

Additional Delivery of Primary Equipment. The attached list2 of primary equipment is to be enroute or delivered to RVN as quickly as serviceable equipment can be made available, utilizing appropriate normal transportation and consistent with MACV required delivery dates. I would like for as much of this equipment as possible to be in RVN by 20 November 1972. Items, not on the attached list, but required to round out the Enhance or the Crimp list should continue to be delivered as quickly as possible using appropriate transportation.
Guidelines for Accomplishing the Above.
The source of the equipment may be assets in the hands of Reserve Components or Active Forces or diversions from production or in depots.
Diversions from international logistics customers are also authorized.
Marine Corps matériel located in Okinawa will not be used to meet this requirement, unless an accelerated situation requiring more expedited delivery to Vietnam is required.
At least 32 F–5A’s will be available from Iran, using the most appropriate transportation, with the source of an additional 94 to be determined.
The serviceable M–48A3 tanks will be moved from Sagami, Japan as soon as possible to Vietnam. The balance of the M–48A3 tanks will be moved from Sagami as soon as possible after they have been overhauled.
Retrograde from Vietnam for the items on the attached list will be discontinued.
Title transfer of items required to be furnished the RVNAF will be accomplished as quickly as possible. This will result in title to equipment, both within and outside Vietnam, and destined for Vietnam, including that intransit, resting in the RVNAF.
Ammunition. Shipping and unloading of munitions will be expedited. In-country air munition stock levels will be maintained at 120-days supply based on normal consumption and in-country ground munition stock levels will be maintained at a 90-day in-country level. This will include stocks in transit in theatre.
POL. Maintain the full tankage policy for that storage in RVN that can be adequately secured. Sufficient floating stocks are to be maintained in RVN waters to insure resupply in the event of temporary disruption/loss of in-country stocks.
Secondary Items. Expedite the supply of secondary items to provide a balance with the equipment being shipped in-country. Repair parts will be provided for a one-year requisition objective for normal consumption, except intensively managed items.
Contracts. Make necessary arrangements for Vietnamization of the on-going RVNAF support included in existing U.S. contracts. Insure that contract augmentation of the RVNAF is sufficient to continue essential logistics services without U.S. military presence in-country. Contract support will be provided as soon as possible to assure adequate levels of receipt, care, preservation, storage and security.
Closed Loop Maintenance. Will be continued for an indefinite period.
Bases. Turn over all remaining U.S. Bases to SVN.
Sealift and Airlift. In conjunction with the Joint Staff, establish the necessary allocation controls and priorities of movement to assure movement of matériel.

The logistics actions outlined above are consistent with the overall objectives of our Vietnamization Program. If acceleration of the schedule is required to move items in-country, airlift will be used to the [Page 303] maximum unless previously mentioned title transfer arrangements can satisfy the requirement. I would like to be informed and approve items on this schedule that will not be in-country or enroute by 20 November 1972. It is further my desire that should title transfer arrangements not satisfy ownership needs, and should we be required to accelerate this program, all materials on the attached list, except those delivered or at sea enroute, be available for delivery in-country within 15 days after directed to proceed on an accelerated basis. This may involve the delivery of some unserviceable materials.

In addition to those items contained in the attached list, State/Defense negotiations are to proceed to obtain equipment from four ROK Brigades now deployed in SVN. This equipment is not to be considered as assets against the attached list.

This program will have the highest priority immediately behind the support of U.S. and RVNAF forces engaged in combat in SEA.

I would like to have a weekly report on the status of delivery of these major items of equipment and periodic reports covering the balance of the assigned tasks. These reports will terminate upon completion of deliveries under Enhance Plus.

Melvin R. Laird
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 218, Records of the Chairman, Records of Thomas Moorer, Box 29, Vietnam, October 1972. Top Secret; Sensitive. Copies were sent to the Service Secretaries and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  2. Attached but not printed. The list is in two parts: one part shows Army equipment being sent, the other part shows Air Force aircraft.