a. Units of the US Seventh Fleet provide NGFS to US, RVNAF, and FWMAF in unilateral and combined operations in the RVN. This support has one objective - to assist the ground commander. To this end, flexibility and responsiveness to his needs are paramount. The basis of this support is the continuous presence of both qualified NGFS ships and spotting teams along the entire coast of the RVN.
b. Cruiser/Destroyer Group, 7th Fleet (CTG 70.8) provides NGFS for the four CTZs, plus the Rung Sat Special Zone. CTU 70.8.9, as the designated NGFS Unit Commander, exercises operational control and allocates ships assigned, as requested by COMUSMACV. Additional NGFS from US Coast Guard ships assigned to Coastal Surveillance Forces (TF 115) is available on request through Corps NGLOs when it does not interfere with their Market Time operations. Typical targets for NGFS are:
2. NGFS ORGANIZATION IN THE RVN.
There are two basic organizations in the RVN designed to provide NGFS to the ground commander. In both organizations, the point of contact for NGFS is the NGLO.
a. USMC Organizations
In the USMC organizations, NGF Teams are organic and are assigned at division, regiment, and battalion level. These teams consist of Naval officers and Marine officers and enlisted men. The Naval officers operate as LOs in the FSCC and the Marine officers as spotters (FOs) with the maneuver units.
b. US Army and Other Units
Since US Army and other friendly units in the RVN do not have this organic NGFS capability, Sub-Unit ONE, First ANGLICO is present in the RVN with the mission of providing the necessary support and liaison to these units. Sub-Unit ONE, First ANGLICO, with headquarters at the MACV Annex, Tan Son Nhut, provides a corps NGLO for each ARVN CTOC and US FFORCEV headquarters TOC and NGLOs to US Army and other friendly units operating in the coastal regions of the RVN and using NGFS, see Figure D-2 below.
Sub-Unit ONE, First ANGLICO spot teams call and adjust all NGFS for these units, as well as provide necessary liaison. Ships reporting to the corps NGLO for NGFS missions will be referred to an FSCC or a specific spot team. Spot teams, consisting of USMC enlisted personnel with a USMC officer, Naval officer, or senior enlisted man in charge, are dispersed with the supported units in the field. All NGFS missions are cleared through appropriate TOCs or FSCCs.
3. NGFS PROCEDURES.
CTG 70.8 provides a minimum of four destroyers on a continuing basis for NGFS. In addition, one cruiser is provided for NGFS when available. Additional destroyers are assigned to augment the minimum NGFS, consistent with their availability and tactical requirements.
b. NGFS Assignment
c. Reporting for NGFS Duty
(1) Unless otherwise directed by competent authority, ships reporting for NGFS duty will arrive at designated locations by 0600H on the day of assignment. When reporting to an NGLO/spotter for the first mission it is essential that he be made aware of the ship's situation regarding capabilities and ammunition. The GURF Report is submitted via the NGLO or spotter net (see Figure D-5 for example of GURF Report). If for any reason, a ship cannot arrive at its designated station on time, CTU 70.8.9, the unit to be supported, and the appropriate NGLO/spotter will be advised of the actual arrival time as soon as possible by an immediate precedence message.
d. Mission Request.
(1) All NGFS missions will be undertaken at the request of COMUSMACV designated representatives, CTOCs, FSCCs or responsible supported unit commanders. A fire mission request for pre-planned missions will normally originate from a corps or division NGLO. The request will pass through the CTOC/FSCC for evaluation to determine which type of fire support can best be used, i.e., NGFS, CAS, or artillery. When it is determined that NGFS is to be used the request and applicable information will be passed to the NGFS ship via the NGFS ORESTES net or Fleet Broadcast. As an alternate means, the CSC net may be used to pass requests. (See Figure D-6 for mission request format.) The CTOC/FSCC is responsible to insure that all clearances to fire have been obtained; if any doubt exists, the ship should inquire whether clearances have been completed. If requests are received by voice, or without the proper addressees, the ship is responsible for retransmission to the proper addressees. To reduce communications, mission requests should be kept brief, grouping target coordinates where possible.
(2) US forces may call for observed NGFS by the most direct channel available, i.e., NGLO/spotter nets. In the case of other friendly forces, the request must be processed through a CTOC/FSCC as outlined in paragraph (1) above.
(3) CTOCs and FSCCs will assign priorities to missions when more than one request has been made. When the requests exceed the number of ships available in a CTZ, and the importance of the mission is such that additional support is required, CTOCs or FSCCs will request assistance from COMUSMACV, who may request CTU 70.8.9 to shift NGFS assets from one CTZ to another.
e. Fire Mission Procedures
There are three types of NGFS missions in the RVN. They are the pre-planned, non-scheduled, and emergency missions.
(1) The pre-planned mission is normal for a scheduled operation where the requirement for NGFS is known for at least 48 hours in advance. The mission is requested by a ground commander as a normal fire support mission. If NGFS is selected as the best means of providing the support, the CTOC/FSCC/NGLO will submit the request by electrical means to the ship and arrange for a spotter as appropriate. (See Figure D-6 for NGFS mission request format.) The NGFS ship will notify the CTOC/FSCC and CSC when beginning the mission and when it has been completed.
(2) The non-scheduled mission corresponds to the artillery on-call or CAS immediate mission and requires a quick-reaction response. The CTOC/FSCC/NGLO or spotter requests the mission. If not already present, the CTOC/FSCC arranges for a spotter or, if necessary, an ALO, FAC, or aerial artillery observer. The ship notifies the CTOC/FSCC and the CSC when beginning the mission and when it is completed.
(3) The emergency mission is one in which a friendly position is under attack and sufficient fire support is not available. Only a US representative of COMUSMACV may declare a fire support request as an emergency mission. Upon receipt of an emergency request, any NGFS ship in the area will proceed to the designated position at the fastest prudent speed.
The US representative will immediately notify COMUSMACV, COMNAVFORV, CTG 70.8, CTF 115, CTU 70.8.9, and other commands concerned by FLASH message. This message will contain an estimate of the time the ship will be required on the emergency mission. The ship will remain in the emergency area until released by the requesting command or higher authority (see Figure D-7 for format of emergency mission request).
f. Spotting Procedures.
(1) With two exceptions, all NGFS missions will be observed; they will be controlled by US personnel only. The exceptions to observed fire are-
(2) NGFS spotting teams will be used for spotting where available. ALOs, FACs, or aerial artillery observers may be used if they have been qualified by competent authority in NGFS terminology and request and spotting procedures. (NGFS spotter training may be obtained by requesting it from MACV; Sub-Unit ONE, First ANGLICO will provide the training.) When firing for these spotters, ships will assume that proper clearances have been obtained, notification to friendly troops in the area has been made, and that any necessary civilian evacuation of the target area has been done. If doubt concerning any of these assumptions exists, or if any factor arises which may indicate danger to friendly forces, the ship will question the spotter on the situation. The ship may refuse to fire if doubt or confusion remains, realizing that friendly forces ashore may be under fire.
(3) Ships may fire on designated targets in SSZs when authorized by the appropriate CTOC. Except for the situation outlined in paragraph 3f(l)(b) above, fires must be observed and may be spotted. SSZs are not considered static as they can be changed at any time by appropriate RVNAF authorities.
(4) Spotters will plan ammunition expenditures and generally will not call for 6" or larger caliber for harassment missions, in order to conserve ammunition. Normally, the shortest gun range that will accomplish the mission will be used.
(5) SNOOPY is an aerial recon vehicle which uses television configured for the QH-50 Drone helicopter and is used for surveillance and NGFS spotting.
(DATE TIME GROUP)
FM: CTU 70.8.9
TO: AIG 460
INFO: (ALL SHIPS LISTED IN BODY OF MSG NOT PRESENTLY ASSIGNED TO 70.8.9 INCLUDE APPLICABLE EMBARKED STAFFS)
A. CTU 70.8.9 (LAST AVAILABILITY MSG)
1. REF A IS SUPERSEDED AS OF 150600H.
2. SHIPS AVAILABLE AND HEREBY ASSIGNED NGFS PERIOD 160600H TO 210600H.
(1) Unless otherwise noted, ships will be available from 0600H to 0600H daily. Upon obtaining release by spotter, ships are detached without further signal on day scheduled to depart.
(2) RAP equipped.
(3) SNOOPY configured.
(4) Assigned support operation BIG SHOT until 191200H then available I CTZ.
PRECEDENCE: IMMEDIATE (PRIORITY)
FROM: CG I FFORCEV RVN
SUBJ: PLANNED UTILIZATION NGFS ALLOCATED II CTZ DATE TO DATE MONTH YEAR
1. REF A CANCELLED AND SUPERSEDED BY THIS MESSAGE.
2. FOR PLANNING PURPOSES, SHIPS ALLOCATED II CTZ BY REF B TENTATIVELY
ASSIGNED FSA AS FOLLOWS.
A. USS _______________
NOTE 1: Ships listed in body of message. Ships will proceed to area indicated unless otherwise directed by task unit commander.
DATE TIME GROUP
FM: (VOICE CALL OF SHIP)
TO: (VOICE CALL OF NGLO/SPOTTER)
CONFIDENTIAL (USE KAG-183)
ALFA: ORIGINATOR (CALL SIGN) AND DTG OF MSG ASSIGNING SHIP TO NGFS DUTY.
BRAVO: DTG (LOCAL TIME) OF COMMENCEMENT AND END OF NGFS ASSIGNMENT.
CHARLIE: PRESENT POSIT (IN GRID COORDINATES)
DELTA: MAXIMUM RANGE OF GUNS BY BATTERY IF BELOW NEW GUN RANGE DUE TO EROSION, AND ANY REDUCED NGFS CAPABILITY REGARDING ARMAMENT LISTED IN GUN 14.
ECHO: AMMUNITION ON BOARD AVAILABLE FOR NGFS. USE CODE BELOW TO MAKE LISTING PRIOR TO ENCRYPTION.
FOXTROT: DTG (LOCAL) AND DURATION, LOCATION AND NATURE OF KNOWN OR ANTICIPATED UNREP OR PERIOD OF ABSENCE FROM GUNLINE.
HOTEL: ANY OTHER INFORMATION DETERMINED TO BE OF VALUE TO SUPPORTED UNIT.
(1) All groups except call signs are to be encrypted using KAK-183.
(2) Letters in paragraph echo of GURF report are first letters of code name for ammunition caliber (Durant, Richenbacker, etc.) and should also be encrypted.
The following format will be used in submitting mission requests:
FM: (REQUESTING ACTIVITY (NGLO/FSCC))
TO: (NGFS SHIP OR HIGHER AUTHORITY)
INFO: CTU 70.8.9, MACVCC
CLASSIFICATION (USUALLY CONFIDENTIAL)
1. TYPE OF MISSION (NON-SCHEDULED OR PRE-PLANNED).
(1) Units receiving requests for NGFS will ensure that MACVCC, COMNAVFORV, CTU 70.8.9 receive the message for information
(2) Units receiving requests for NGFS which do not have a date-time-group will assign them a date-time-group and so inform the originator.
The following format will be used in submitting emergency mission requests:
PRECEDENCE: IMMEDIATE OR FLASH
FM: (REQUESTING ACTIVITY)0.
TO: (NGFS SHIP OR HIGHER AUTHORITY)
CLASSIFICATION: (USUALLY CONFIDENTIAL)
NGFS MISSION REQUEST
1. EMERGENCY MISSION REQUEST
Vietnam Lessons Learned No. 77: Fire Support Coordination in the Republic of Vietnam. United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, 20th May 1970