The 1st Infantry Division's Support Command left the United States on September 30, 1965, aboard the USNS Barrett. The Barrett arrived in Vietnam on October 19.
The task of the Support Command was, as its name implied, to support the men of the "Fighting First": to repair or replace their equipment and to supply and resupply them with ammunition, weapons, clothing, food and equipment.
And this was what the men of Support Command did in each operation in which the Division was involved.
Operation Abilene (March 30 - April 15, 1966), all the staff sections of the headquarters moved forward to the Tay Ninh logistical base in order to provide faster response to the requirements of the men of the Division/
In Operation El Paso 11 - iii (June 2 - September 3, 1966), resupply was accomplished both by air and by scheduled convoys using Highway 13 from Di An. The logistical base was set up at Lai Khe and operated solely by the 1st Infantry Division. (The 1st Logistical Command support was confined to a forward Ammunition Supply Point at Lai Khe.)
Because the Division was competing with other units in Vietnam for air transportation, resupply by land convoy was increased during Operation Tulsa-Shenandoah (October 1 - November 1, 1966). Stocks of goods were "prepositioned" during Tulsa; this operation also saw the first resupply convoy from Di An to Quan Loi and the opening of the road north of Lai Khe.
The largest and fastest moving logistical support effort since the Division arrived in Vietnam came during Operation Attleboro (November 5 - 25, 1966). The effort began on the night of November 4 when the Division joined other units engaged with large vc forces in War Zone C, 65 miles northwest of Saigon. In a gigantic airlift lasting three days, more than 1 - million pounds of cargo including vehicles, rations, POL (Petroleum, Oil, Lubricants), general supplies and personnel, were transported to Dau Tieng. Forward supply bases were established at Dau Tieng, Tay Ninh and Suoi Da.
Also, during Attleboro, the 1st Infantry Division Band was called upon to play for award ceremonies in Dau Tieng and Tay Ninh; the bandsmen played with vigor and distinction.
No less imposing a challenge or impressive a performance was displayed during subsequent operations, including Cedar Falls (January 8 - 26, 1967) and Junction City (February 22 - April 15, 1967). On the first day of Junction City, the 1st Supply and Transportation Battalion provided over 100,000 gallons of fuel. Tons of other supplies ranging from plastic knives and forks to clothing were delivered to men in the field. The problem of maintenance and repair was tackled by the men of the 701st Maintenance Battalion. The 1st Medical Battalion set up aid stations. The 1st Administration Company produced citations for bravery and paid the troops.
Beyonddirect support for the men in the field, Support Command was also responsible for the security and development of the Di An base Camp. In addition to guarding the perimeter, units of Support Command reconnaissance and ambush patrols and roadrunner operations. When the 2d Brigade moved to their new base camp in the Di An area in October, 1966, the Support Command's Tactical Area of Operational Responsibility (TAOR) was reduced. This permitted a higher concentration of patrols in the smaller TAOR. Construction of the base camp area proceeded at a pace such that when a soldier returned to Di An to rotate back to the States, he could hardly recognize the area.
The men of Support Command also conducted non-combat operations. Fresh milk was provided to some 5,700 children from schools and orphanages in the Lai Thieu, Thu Duc and Di An Districts in Operation "Milk." On hundred and fifty cases of oranges were delivered to the same orphanages in Operation "Fruit and Refreshments." In the Civic Action program "American Friendship," Support Command provided the orphanages with desks, tables, cabinets, rice, rolled wheat, cooking oil, milk, corn meal, cocoa, canned food, clothing and miscellaneous items. The MEDCAP (Medical/Civic Action Program) teams from the various units of Support Command were supplied with food, toothpaste, tooth brushes and soap to assist them on their visits to the local schools and orphanages.
Support Command commanders
Jul 1965 - Present
LTC Charles Kolankiewicz
.....Jul 1965 - Apr 1966
COL Freddie W. Gramling
.....Apr 1966 - Feb 1967
COL George E. Newman
.....Feb 1967 - Present