SUBJECT: Civic Action Program Status
1. The Wing Civic Action Program presently consists of 20 continuing or one-time projects, with immediate benefits to more than 23,000 Vietnamese. Most of these benefits are of a lasting or self-perpetuating nature. There are also several projects where it is not presently possible to estimate the number of Vietnamese benefited. These are included in the list, but with no input to the total benefit estimate. Two projects are directed to the same group of Vietnamese, so this number is added only once. Details of specific projects are included as Attachment 1, Project List.
2. All assigned units are taking an active part in the program, either through this office or through their respective Base Civic Action Offices. There are 16 officers assigned to additional duty in Civic Action: 1 Wing Civic Action Coordinator, 7 Squadron Civic Action Coordinators, and 8 Assistant Civic Action Coordinators.
3. Although already outstanding for an organization of wing strength, the overall program is still operating somewhat below capacity. There is a large potential for expansion in the widespread interest and enthusiasm of assigned personnel, and of their friends, families and civic organizations in the United States. Present work and flying schedules are a significant but by no means prohibitive limitation. The major limitation has been in the identification of worthwhile projects within individual or unit capabilities. This problem is now being reduced: 11 of the 20 projects have been initiated in the past 2 months.
4. The fact that all project locations in the Phan Rang area are officially designated as "Off Limits" is not proving detrimental to the program. Because Civic Action trips are one of the few ways assigned personnel may become acquainted with the Vietnamese people and situation, they are eagerly sought after by a large number of our men. The coordination and controls established by the recent Commander's Policy Statement concerning such trips have acted to ensure the men that they will not have difficulties with local authorities, and the required security precautions have reduced their apprehensions concerning terrorist attack.
5. Specific problem areas at this time include:
a. The limited construction capability of a flying organization. Although many requests for Civic Action projects fall into this category, local Vietnamese, CORDS and other officials have been made aware of our limitation. At their suggestion, the program has been slightly reoriented to concentrate in the areas of social welfare, refugee assistance, and education, where we have a far more significant capability.
b. Transportation for local projects and necessary coordination for visits continues to be a major problem. Present needs are being met on a last-minute basis through use of squadron vehicles; however, as the program continues to develop, it may soon become necessary to request assistance from the Wing.
c. Transportation of donated materials from the United States
is a serious difficulty, as any request for military airlift is prohibited
by 7th Air Force. Solutions now being investigated include working through
the Catholic Relief Service, and asking donors to also pay for Parcel Air
Lift (PAL) transportation. However, this coordination is not complete,
and the transportation of materials now being donated is in no way guaranteed.
There does not appear to be any way in which the Wing or its assigned units
can assist in resolving this problem.
BEN H. SWETT, Major, USAF
Civic Action Coordinator
1 Atch: Project List
1. LUONG CANG HAMLET (309th Tac Alft Sq) 150 people
Located approximately 2 miles south of Phan Rang AB, this is a Montagnard resettlement of about 50 families in rather dire straits. On moving from their former home to escape VC terrorism, they were given land northwest of the base. However, the land was not very fertile. Little water was available. It is a considerable distance from the hamlet. The farmers occasionally come under harassment fire from the base perimeter. As a result, the people do not work their land, but rather work for the Vietnamese who also live in the hamlet. Specific needs include light agricultural equipment such as hoes, rakes, shovels, etc. Squadron personnel also plan to assist them in establishing a small herd of goats, and have obtained permission from the Vietnamese in the hamlet for the Montagnards to graze their goats on the Vietnamese farmers' land. This is a new project.
2. HOAI TRUNG HAMLET (310th Tac Alft Sq) 960 people
This Montagnard resettlement is located approximately 10 road miles southwest of Phan Rang AB. From near starvation a year ago, the hamlet has progressed almost to the point of self-sufficiency with the squadron's assistance. After showing the people how to repair two presently inoperative irrigation pumps, the 310th will be ready to shift its efforts to a more needy hamlet.
3. NGOC NINH ORPHANAGE (310th Tac Alft Sq) 100 people
Squadron personnel have continued to assist the orphanage with food, clothing, educational materials, toys, etc., since its major expansion in 1969. It is located in Phan Rang City.
4. LUONG TRI HAMLET (311th Tac Alft Sq) 605 people
A Cham hamlet located just outside the southern perimeter of Phan Rang AB, its people need several types of help, and because they occasionally come under fire from the base defenses, a great deal can be done in the way of community relations. This sector of the perimeter has been probed by sapper teams on several occasions, and while the people of Luong Tri have never given any assistance to the VC, better relations may encourage them to provide advance warning of any strangers moving in the area. Current efforts by the squadron include fulfilling a commitment made earlier by the Base Civic Action Office and Ninh Thuan Province Chief to recondition some 600 yards of access road, as well as repair of the school and assistance with education, sanitation and animal husbandry. This is a new project.
5. HIGH SCHOOL MAPS (311 Tac Alft Sq) 11,500 people
Squadron personnel discovered that the 10 high schools in the Phan Rang area have no adequate instructional maps. All that were available were circa 1930 French charts, outdated and outworn. One individual in the squadron contacted his family and obtained the promise from a Rotary Club to donate all 10 sets of new pull-down roller maps. Efforts are now in progress to obtain transportation for the donation.
6. ENCYCLOPEDIAS FOR HIGH SCHOOLS (311 Tac Alft Sq) same people as above
This is a very similar project to the one mentioned above, and will benefit the same 10 high schools. An individual in the squadron contacted his father, who is a representative of the World Publishing Company. Ten sets of slightly used encyclopedias will be donated shortly, and distributed by squadron personnel in conjunction with the Province Education Service. Obtaining transportation from the United States may also present a problem in this project.
7. STRAWBERRY DEMONSTRATION (311 Tac Alft Sq) unknown number
Another one-time, individual project, the need for which came to attention through observation that people in the Phan Rang area are hungry for sweets. A member of the squadron has contacted professors at the college where he obtained his degree in agriculture, for recommended species of strawberries. Plants will be obtained and grown on base. When they are ready, starter sets will be provided to the local RD Youth Club, equivalent to the 4-H clubs, for further distribution throughout the province. Numerical benefits of this project are unknown at this point.
8. WELL-DRIVING DEMONSTRATION (311 Tac Alft Sq) unknown number
An estimated 65 hamlets in the Phan Rang area needed improved sources of water. Presently, wells are being dug by hand since no large drilling rigs are available. This is both time-consuming and expensive, as each well requires several thousand bricks and a good deal of cement. While the squadron is not capable of providing a powered well drilling rig, one individual is building up a hard-point well driver. This will be effective for many of the hamlet locations. When completed, the rig will be demonstrated and then turned over to the Province Irrigation Service for further employment. It is also simple enough for the people to duplicate from locally available materials.
9. THAP BAO TU SCHOOL (315th Consld Acft Maint Sq) 100 people
This school for war orphans and dependents of ARVN soldiers was originally set up in desert ground just south of Phan Rang AB, by two Buddhist monks. Late in 1969, members of 315th CAMS obtained assistance from the RMK Construction Company in grading the land and putting in irrigation ditches which have enabled the monks to turn the area into a highly productive garden. The squadron then dismantled an unused building and erected it at the school site. Since that time, the squadron has continued to assist the school with recreation equipment, sanitary facilities, educational materials, clothes, toys, etc.
10. PHUOC LOC THO ORPHANAGE (12th Sp Ops Sq) 300 people
The squadron has assisted this orphanage in the Bien Hoa area with clothing, food, education materials, toys, etc., for some time. In 1968, 12th SOS personnel completed installing a water system and are now teaching English classes three times per week to about 50 of the children.
11. TUNG NHIA HOSPITAL (12th Sp Ops Sq) unknown number
Squadron personnel are assisting other Bien Hoa units in the construction of additional facilities.
12. MINH TAN HIGH SCHOOL (12 Sp Ops Sq) 1000 people
In 1969 the squadron assisted in the construction of 4 new buildings, including 14 new classrooms and an office. At present, 14 squadron members are teaching English classes to a total of about 1000 students.
13. KY QUANG ORPHANAGE (19th Tac Alft Sq) 100 people
From its rather desperate condition at the time the 19th began support 18 months ago, this orphanage near Saigon has been assisted to a point where the children and facilities are in excellent shape. Much of this improvement may be credited to the Arnold Air Society and Angel Flight at the University of Wyoming, which have contributed substantial sums of money through the squadron. In addition to the more usual types of orphanage assistance, squadron members have been conducting English classes for the teachers.
14. GIA DINH PROVINCE HIGH SCHOOL (19th Tac Alft Sq) 2000 people
This large high school had no playground or recreation facilities. The squadron has donated 100,000 $VN ($846.00 US) for leveling a playground and covering it with laterite. Continued support will involve construction and assistance in obtaining needed recreation equipment. This is a new project.
15. CHINA BEACH ORPHANAGE (311th Tac Alft SQ OLAA) 201 people
Several years ago members of the 311th assisted in the initial establishment of this orphanage near Da Nang, and moved the first group of refugee children to it. Support has continued since that time. At present the squadron has adopted one orphan and pledged total support for him so long as the squadron maintains this operating location. In addition, efforts are underway to provide materials and assistance for renovating the water system.
16. VNAF DEPENDENT HOUSING (311 Tac Alft Sq OLAA) 150 people
In an effort to establish closer relations with the Vietnamese Air Force, and enlist their assistance in Civic Action, the squadron has elected to first improve 30 dependent housing units by assisting in the installation of water systems. A joint dining-in was held recently with the VNAF aircrews, which was very successful.
17. DOLLARS FOR SCHOLARS (All Phan Rang units) 45 people
This scholarship program for high school students is conducted by United States military units throughout the Republic of Vietnam. Students are selected for high academic ability, and for economic need. Most are the children of ARVN soldiers killed in the war, or civilians killed by VC terrorists, and without the monthly scholarships they would have to leave school to help support their families. Scholarships are $1,000 VN ($8.50 US) per student per month. 315th Tac Alft Wg units at other bases will be involved in this project shortly.
18. SCHOOL SUPPLIES KITS (Phan Rang Units) 6,000 people
There are about 6,000 elementary level students in the Phan Rang area who cannot afford to purchase such basic school supplies as pencils, erasers, composition books, slates, chalk, etc. Members of the Phan Rang units are contacting friends and relatives in the United States with a list of needed supplies. The goal of this project is to furnish all needy students with a kit at the beginning of the next school year, to be distributed in conjunction with Province Education Service personnel. Letters and pictures will be sent back to the United States donors, showing where their kits have been used.
19. PEOPLES SELF-DEFENSE FORCE UNIFORMS (Phan Rang Units) unknown number
This is a base-wide project recently initiated by the Base Civic Action Office, wherein each unit is asked to collect used uniforms, especially from members who are rotating back to the United States. These will be taken to the BCAO, who will forward them to the sewing center of the Revolutionary Development Cadre. The women there will alter them to proper sizes. Then unit personnel may accompany BCAO and RD Cadre teams in presenting the uniforms to the PSDF in many hamlets. The PSDF are like the "Minutemen" of old in the USA, farmers who are being trained and armed to defend their homes against VC terrorists. In this province, they are increasingly effective, but most have little clothing and hardly any have even a semblance of a uniform. Our discarded uniforms will be most welcome and will help bolster their esprit de corps.
20. AIRLIFT PASSENGER INSTRUCTION CARDS (315th Wing Civic Action) unknown number
This project is essentially a humanitarian service, suggested by a member of the 311th Tac Alft Sq. He observed that many Vietnamese passengers experience ear blocks and do not know how to clear them. The loadmasters are able to help many, but some Vietnamese are embarrassed to try the Val Salva technique. The Wing Civic Action Coordinator is now preparing instructional cards which will be translated into Vietnamese, bound in acetate, and placed in the aircraft to assist loadmasters in getting this message across to the passengers.