By TACOM Public AffairsAugust 3, 2018
(Editor's note: The following article is part of a series of stories from U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Command newsletters in 1968. The acronyms "ATAC" and "TACOM" are interchangeable throughout this series. This story ran in the August 1968 issue of "The Command Post.")
Army Chief of Staff William C. Westmoreland, former U.S. Military Commander in Vietnam, visited TACOM for two and a half hours on Monday, August 19.
The distinguished soldier told TACOM employees gathered in front of Bldgs. 230 and 200 that they had contributed considerably to the morale of the soldiers in Vietnam and that for more than four years he had been a "satisfied customer" of TACOM.
Gen. Westmoreland came to TACOM after he delivered the keynote address at the national convention on the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Cobo Hall in Detroit. He told the delegates:
"We are in a stronger military position than we have ever been. I can't conceive of any success the enemy will have except a limited tactical advantage."
He also told the delegates that the American soldiers fighting in Vietnam "will make the finest citizens this country has ever known" when they return from the war.
Accompanied by Detroit motorcycle policemen and a Warren police car escort which picked up his cavalcade at the Warren city limits, Gen. Westmoreland arrived at Bldg. 230 at 2:25 p.m. as a light rain fell. He had been accompanied from downtown by Maj. Gen. Shelton E. Lollis, TACOM Commanding General who had met him at Detroit Metropolitan airport and who had gone with him to the VFW convention.
Waiting to greet them at the door of Bldg. 230 was TACOM Deputy Commander, Brig. Gen. Vincent H. Ellis.
The group proceeded immediately to Gen. Lollis' office for a discussion and then there was a briefing by Gen. Ellis in the Command Briefing Room.
Shortly before 4 p.m. Gen. Westmoreland appeared on a podium in front of Bldg. 230 and greeted hundreds of assembled TACOM employees. They applauded vigorously as he stepped to the rostrum.
"I welcome this opportunity to visit TACOM," he told the assemblage. "I appreciate this opportunity to talk to a cross section of TACOM employees.
"This is an exceptionally important installation and one in which I am most interested. It is a large service organization and it services the entire world logistically.
"I was a satisfied customer of TACOM for the more than four years I was in Vietnam and I am still a satisfied customer."
The General said the war in Vietnam is "not a popular war" but is necessary to keep the Communists from overrunning Southeast Asia and preserve the liberty of the South Vietnamese.
He told his listeners that the morale of the American soldiers in Vietnam "is extremely high."
"You, ladies and gentlemen," he added, "have contributed to that high morale. If it hadn't been for you people at TACOM the soldiers could not have accomplished all that has been accomplished."
After his brief speech at Bldg. 230, Gen. Westmoreland's party was whisked to Bldg. 200 where he repeated his message to the occupants of that building who stood near the cooling pond.
After completing this message, he was taken to Bldg. 212 where he inspected several vehicles and toured the Propulsion labs.
General Westmoreland left the TACOM grounds for downtown Detroit at 5 p.m.
He arrived at TACOM behind schedule because his plane had been forced to circle at Cleveland for 29 minutes. A power failure at the control tower at Detroit metropolitan airport presented landing instructions from being given to incoming planes.