INTRODUCTION: This film is in two parts. Firstly dealing with the training given to US?
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Background: INTRODUCTION: This film is in two parts. Firstly dealing with the training given to US Troops before departure to VIETNAM and secondly the modern TEXAS ranch.
The soldiers who will be seen in both films are from a Company of the Coldstream Guards who are on an exchange exercise with US Forces at FORT HOOD.
About 90% of the US Servicemen that are sent to VIETNAM are drafted men. That is to say, doing two years compulsory service. An approximate breakdown of their service would be as follows. The first six to eight months would be filled with instruction and basic military training followed by specialist service training, eg., tank gunnery, radio operator, thereafter he can be expected to go to VIETNAM for twelve months and then return to pass his last few months in the US before returning to civil life.
The fifty thousand soldiers at FORT HOOD comprise mostly of drafted men training to go to VIETNAM and of those who have returned and are awaiting discharge.
Jungle warfare in general and the VIETNAM war in particular require very different skills from conventional soldiering and so many of those who have returned from VIETNAM run a special training course for those who are about to go. The training consists primarily of helicopter borne assaults, ambush procedures, booby trap setting and recognition. In this film we see two platoons of the Coldstream Guards being flown in to a village - modelled on those in VIETNAM complete with encircling ditch and mud ramparts - attacking it, searching and clearing it as instructed by their US Instructors.
The US Troops in VIETNAM constantly visit villages by helicopter in this way to discover whether the inhabitants are friendly or otherwise. The bold and blatant use of helicopters in this way not only gives great mobility in difficult country but also determines quickly - by whether it draws fire or not - whether the village is friendly.
Most of Central TEXAS - an area larger than the United Kingdom and France - is taken up with ranches and farms. Due to high labour costs they have to be run on vast scales to be economical. There are between a thousand and fifteen hundred ranches from the massive KING Ranch of 380,000 acres to smaller ones of six to ten thousand acres.
The cowboy, his clothing and way of life and the ranch are jealously preserving TEXAS customs although his role and methods are most sophisticated and make use of every piece of technology that the 20th Century can provide. As a yard stick one can expect to find cowboy employed per three to four thousand acres!
In this film you will see two ranches. The first is the SOLANA Ranch owned by Mr MICHAUX an oil Baron from HOUSTON. This ranch is nine thousand acres and is run by a foreman and three cowhands. In fact this ranch is run at a loss probably due to the fact that 300 acres of it are given over as a Game Reserve where not only indigenous wild life is preserved but also imported species of rare deer, African wild sheep and goats and zebra.
Here, as in most other ranches, the quality of the land is not high. The annual rainfall of 30 inches ensures the scrub, trees, cactus, and couch grass survives the hot summer months when the temperature rarely drops below 90degreeF and is frequently over 110degreeF. Little is done by way of irrigation - mostwater is directed to the valley and delta farms - and practically nothing towards soil improvement. The herds are moved around following the grass and artificial foods are rarely provided except for some hay and maize during the winter.
The ranches are usually run in two sections. One half being the breeding herd and the remainder the stock which is kept not more than eighteen months. The cattle are made up principally of Hereford, Aberdeen Angus and Charolars. Jersey are used in dairy farming although experimental crossing is tried continually.
The breakdown in number is about 450 breeding cows and a similar number of stock, ie., one cow per ten acres.
The cowboys spend much of their life in the saddle and still practise their traditional skills of steer roping and driving but now they are all radio controlled and mush of their time is spent on repairing fences, separating sick cattle putting them in quarantine pens and other administrative tasks.
The second ranch is the "Bend of the River Ranch" and is more of a holiday home than a ranch. It is only a few hundred acres and is used more for entertaining and hunting (shooting) rather than serious ranching. It is owned by a successful undertaker in TEMPLE! In the film you will see a Barbecue laid on in traditional TEXAN style for the Coldstream Guards. The mounted welcoming committee was provided by the Bell County Posse who are an honorary body which can be called upon by the Sheriff but in practise rover does. The food provided was sheep, beef, goat, pork sausages, hot Mexican pepper and salads.