The United States has stepped up its airlift of emergency supplies to beleaguered Phnom Penh--and added ammunition to rice--as Communist-led insurgents in turn increase their rocket attacks on the Khmer republic's capital.
CV DC-8 Being loaded with rice in Saigon (3 shots)
LV Pallet lifting bags of rice into plane
GV ZOOM TO Bags of rice going aboard plane
SV U.S. force at Pochentong Airport in Phnom Penh talking over radio
GV U.S. transport plane taxiing at Pochentong
CU Soldier on telephone
SV Unloading ammunition from plane (2 shots)
GV PAN FROM Ammunition plane TO DC-8 arriving with rice
CU U.S. officer looking on as plane taxiis to halt
GV Trucks across tarmac
LV & SV Unloading bags of rice (2 shots)
SV U.S. civilian directing lorries
Initials BB/1943 PS/AW/BB/1935
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Background: The United States has stepped up its airlift of emergency supplies to beleaguered Phnom Penh--and added ammunition to rice--as Communist-led insurgents in turn increase their rocket attacks on the Khmer republic's capital.
Three "stretched" DC-8 transport aircraft took off from Ton Son Nhut Air Base in the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon on Thursday (27 February) with enough food and fuel to meet the minimum immediate needs of Phnom Penh's 2,000,000 inhabitants--a population swollen by a steady flow of refugees from regions now controlled by the insurgents.
The three aircraft--chartered by the U.S. Government from World Airways and Airlift International--are expected to deliver nearly 600 tons of rice and fuel a day over the next month. The contract reportedly is worth 4.6 million U.S. dollars (GBP1.92 million sterling)--and comes at a time when the United States Congress is debating President Gerald Ford's request for an additional 222 million U.S. dollars (GBP90 million sterling) in military aid to the Khmer Republic.
Meanwhile, the United States also has begun airlifting sorely needed ammunition into Phnom Penh's Pochentong Airport. The first such military supplies arrived Thursday (27 February) aboard a United States Air Force C-130 cargo plane--one of several flown by civilian crews form the Bird Air Company. The planes carrying military supplies have been making up to 35 flights a day.
Phnom Penh, now almost surrounded by the insurgents, faces an increasingly critical shortage of food, fuel and ammunition as the insurgents tighten their blockade of the Mekong River--the city's only remaining lifeline on the ground.