Getting the most out of old truck tires is one of the jobs done by the Vietnamese Army's 80th Ordinance Disposal Base Dept.
Getting the most out of old truck tires is one of the jobs done by the Vietnamese Army's 80th Ordinance Disposal Base Dept. on the outskirts of Saigon. A complete tire recapping plant, utilizing production-line methods, has been in operation there for a number of years. One of a dozen shops in the depot, the recapping plant has enjoyed the services of American advisors since 1954. Four military advisors and five civilians assists the Vietnamese in learning the skills required for vehicles maintenance.
The worn-out tires have the old treads cut away and the surfaces prepared to receive new caps. Gouges and holes are smoothed out and filled. The new tread rubber, called "camelback", is applied and rolled on smoothly to fit the tire. Finally, the tire is "cooked" in moulds resembling giant waffle irons and the new treads are formed. The tires are inspected, stacked for curing, then delivered to the nearby ARVN supply depot. Currently, these tires are used as replacements on all military vehicles in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. The output from this plant soon will be expanded to include use on vehicles of United States forces in Vietnam.
The 80th Ordinance Depot, under an ARVN Director, is manned by about 450 ARVN specialists and 750 technicians. The ARVN specialists also provide nighttime security for the Depot and for the northern border of nearby Tan Son Nhut Air Base. The Depot is the only such facility in the Vietnamese Army.