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Mr. BELL. There are 2 additional points that might be mentioned in the site selection, and 1 of those is that the original team that selected the site made a statement that there was ample water. Another group, 212 or 3 years later, made the same statement, the basis for which I do not know. Actually water has been a terrific problem.
Mr. FASCELL. That is what one of the men said here this morning. They knew about that all the time.
Mr. BELL. They dug shallow wells and deep wells and the water they found was not very good. The Air Force is getting water from the Jarama River and there are two schools of thought on the wisdom of that. The architect-engineer stated that the flow in that river may not be very dependable so it is possible that the water problem may not be solved on a long-range basis.
Mr. FASCELL. I think that whoever was talking about that this morning admitted that even with what they have, you still would not have your ideal situation with water even if they got all the water out of the river that they could use.
Mr. BELL. We cannot assume that good water would have been found at other sites around Madrid either. The only other objection to the site selection, which, again, would seem to break down into two schools of thought, is on the question of noise. The architect-engineers stated that in their opinion the noise was unquestionably intolerable.
Mr. FASCELL. Having lived in a flight pattern, I agree with him. I moved. Flight patterns are inexorable.
Mr. BELL. What effect this noise and vibration will have on the houses, again I do not know. Again, only time will tell. I think that the next thing we discussed was the administration of contracts at Torrejon.
In our report we discussed a couple of things and one is the fact that in the Navy Bureau of Yards and Docks construction manual it is specified that runways will not be built on the basis of a preliminary design. It indicates that you will set up some tests, develop them, and then build your runway. In this particular case, the runway construction was started on the basis of a preliminary design and it was almost a year and a half later before the final design was approved. There also were some changes in criteria on the design that were brought on by use of heavier aircraft or a number of things. These things, I believe, could not have been foreseen at the time that the original design was submitted.
We had another item in the report concerning something which the subcontractor was reported to have done. A considerable portion of the runway was constructed that did not meet specifications in various degrees. At first blush that seemed like it might be a very important point, but I do not know—I do not think I can find out—the degree of safety built into the criteria anyway. I would assume that if one standard is what you want, actual construction would include something stronger for a safety factor.
When the tests were made for the final evaluation of the runway, the number of tests taken seemed to us to be rather skimpy, so we are of the opinion that from those tests, you probably could not get a fair evaluation of whether this runway does or does not meet criteria.
A lot of engineers say it does. Again, I think it is one of those things that only time will tell.
Mr. FASCELL. In other words, there was a diversity of opinion and time is going to prove somebody right or wrong?
Mr. BELL. That is right. If it is wrong, it is going to be costly. I think that is about the résumé of the more important points.
Mr. FASCELL. I recall some problems dealing with compaction on other airfields. We got into a great big engineering discussion of what is the rate of compaction and somebody wanted 100 and somebody wanted 80.
Colonel YOUNT. It was Moron.
Mr. BELL. We decided to have 18 inches of this and so forth and those decisions were actually made back in Washington by the Bureau of Yards and Docks.
Mr. FASCELL. Based on engineering data available to them?
Mr. MONTGOMERY. The San Pablo Airbase was another one we discussed. Do you have any comments you would like to make on that?
Mr. Bell. I could perhaps give you a little more amplification of the discussion this morning, but as to any specific conclusions, I probably cannot.
First, San Pablo came into the picture late. The site initially chosen was El Copero. When the architect-engineer went down to make his feasibility studies he discovered that this place was subject to flooding and they had a flood, I believe, in 1948, so that this site was ruled unsuitable. Then the Government started looking for alternate sites. A number of sites were discussed and one of the sites that was wanted was one that perhaps was rather choice except that it contained large groves of olive trees and the Spanish Government was apparently reluctant to give that up.
The discussions dragged on for some time and about this time the Strategic Air Command decided that they did not want a bomber base at El Copero anyway. They wanted to move it to Zaragoza where a fighter strip was already under development. At about this same time the Air Materiel Command decided that they wanted a new concept for supply so that left them the existing base with nothing much in the way of basic functions that were originally planned. After quite a bit, they settled on this base in San Pablo and the Spanish Government bought something less than 800 acres of land, including some with olive groves on it. With the reduction in the mission of San Pablo, quite a bit of the land that was required is apparently now excess to the current needs of the Air Force. It is my understanding that it will be returned for disposition. I have no current information as to what the disposition of that excess land will be. I was down there and the olive trees are still intact.
Mr. FASCELL. Let me interrupt just a moment.
Mr. FASCELL. We are now going into other phases here. You are welcome to stay if you like, but feel free to do as you like.
Mr. ALDRICH. I am quite free now.
Mr. FASCELL. I am not aware of the requirements involved, nor the factors that went into the consideration of the San Pablo site. That is near Seville: is it not?
Mr. BELL. Yes, very close.
Mr. FASCELL. They are both on the pipeline, but what about the towns? That is what I am thinking of, their habitation facilities at Zaragoza
Mr. BELL. I have not been to Zaragoza.
Colonel Yount. It is a very large town and we have a good number of officers and airmen up there. They do not have trouble in getting accommodations in town. We are building rental-guaranteed housing up there and that is under construction. We have a certain amount of on-base housing and we do not anticipate problems at Zaragoza or at San Pablo.
Mr. FASCELL. The move to Zaragoza was decided upon after the base at San Pablo was built?
Mr. BELL. No; prior to that.
Mr. FASCELL. The only thing involved then was, not construction funds but land acquisition?
Mr. BELL. I think it was altered service plans. The Strategic Air Command wanted to relocate this base.
Mr. FASCELL. I got that all right, but I wondered how far we got along with the expenditures on San Pablo before we moved to a comparable location.
Mr. BELL. We built an apron there, a parking apron, which is now in existence. It is just a plain concrete parking apron, relatively thick. It does not have any fueling capacity.
Mr. FASCELL. That was an existing Spanish facility?
Mr. FASCELL. The United States had gotten into some construction at San Pablo?
Mr. BELL. Principally, I think, this apron. I do not recall if there was anything else-some excavation had started. There is under construction there now a number of buildings.
Mr. FASCELL. Did they have a warehouse completed ?
Mr. FASCELL. What I was trying to find out is the extent of the expenditure of funds before these moves came about.
Colonel Yount. The move that he is talking about now, sir, did not affect the construction program at San Pablo at all. It was our original intention to use the facility that he mentioned in the first place.
Mr. FASCELL. Right.
Colonel Yount. After it became evident from an architect-engineer survey that that land would be subject to flooding under unusual conditions
Mr. FASCELL. You are talking about San Pablo?
Colonel YOUNT. No. El Copero. We put a portion of our facilities, depot facilities, at San Pablo and the bomber facilities also programed, were moved to Zaragoza where we already had a base in existence and already doing construction. No work was done at San Pablo previous to this change or anything like that. This change itself had no effect on that.
Mr. FASCELL. Or El Copero?
Mr. FASCELL. Site testing ?
Colonel Yount. The only thing we did was a survey of the site facilities on the spot to see if we would be subject to flooding.
Mr. MONTGOMERY. The factor that did have an effect upon San Pablo was a change in the supply concept!
Colonel Yount. That was covered this morning; yes, sir.
Mr. FASCELL. There, again, there was no actual construction involved prior to the time of the change!
Mr. BELL. At the time all these discussions took place, there was no construction underway, it is my understanding,
Mr. FASCELL. The only excesses generated were land excesses, is that right?
Mr. BELL. Land excess or perhaps parking apron. A parking apron without taxiways is not of too much value. It probably will be used ultimately. You have a MATS operation running out of San Pablo airfield now.
Colonel YOUNT. As to any construction there, if we can go into executive session, I could explain a little better.
Mr. Fascell. I do not think there is any confusion.
Mr. Fascell. I do not think it is necessary to get into the military judgment involved. The only thing I am interested in is the amount of money expended at the time the change was made, if any.
Colonel YOUNT. As far as the switch from El Copero and San Pablo, this was a survey decision and at that time we had not undertaken any construction at all anywhere in Spain. We were still surveying all the bases and drawing up master plans.
Mr. FASCELL. Then I misunderstand, because I understood him to say that there was a concrete apron built. Mr. BELL. After these discussions; yes.
Mr. MONTGOMERY. Is it the General Accounting Office view that these support facilities could have as well been located at some other place?
Mr. BELL. If you look at this thing from the standpoint of ignoring any military or political considerations, it would be my own feeling that these facilities probably could have been placed somewhere else. If, for strategic reasons
Mr. FASCELL. The question is whether it is desirable from a military standpoint ?
Mr. BELL. Exactly. Otherwise, they could easily have been put someplace else and probably at some saving in cost. The question here, I think, is military considerations.
Mr. FASCELL. I do not see how you can save any money if you were told to build it someplace else.
Mr. BELL. By simply enlarging other facilities rather than building
Mr. FASCELL. I do not follow that quite. You still are talking about spending money, whether you build them from scratch or enlarge what you have.
Mr. BELL. Some of the facilities, for instance at San Pablo, from the information that we have—you may not have exactly the same facilities as at another base but you may have similar things with similar capacities. It is quite likely that this is all conjecture, but if there
had not been a military need for San Pablo, some money would have been saved. How much, I do not know.
Mr. FASCELL. I think the general said this morning that they were contemplating a $9 million expenditure.
Mr. MONTGOMERY. Do you have any comments that you would like to make concerning the findings discussed this morning on the POL pipeline construction?
Mr. BELL. Again, I can only add some clarification, I think. This thing of coal tar versus asphalt base is, of course, an engineering decision. An expert brought from Tulsa, Okla., to Spain had advised several months previously the use of the coal tar rather than asphalt.
The expert was prepared to come over here in the fall, but his trip was delayed until sometime in May when he finally got here. At that time he made his very firm recommendation which was accepted that coal tar would do a better job. In the meantime, because of the timing involved, the subcontractor back in the United States had already placed his purchase orders and he had to cancel them. He had chartered a ship to bring the material over here. He also had to cancel the ship charter and charter another one. He did have that additional expense, but this is kind of a sad story because the ship that finally came over got caught in a hurricane and there was a lot of damage that had to be repaired so the ship did not get here until sometime in September.
In the meantime, the contractor was ready to work but August and September were gone. They were both supposedly good construction months and he filed a claim for time lost during those months. He also filed a claim for additional costs incurred in the handling of heavy material. He had about four claims, as I remember now, in a total amount in the neighborhood of $0.5 million. They have not been adjudicated to that extent and in fact several of them are still pending.
Mr. FASCELL. We understood this morning, or at least we got the impression from direct statements, that the recommendation here was based on getting the one that could do the best job, regardless of cost. Evidently a different decision had been reached in Washington and in an effort to try to save some funds since asphalt was cheaper.
Mr. BELL. I think the additional cost of the coal tar versus the asphalt should not even be considered as an additional cost. If they made the decision initially to use that, that is what the cost would have been.
Mr. FASCELL. I agree with you.
Mr. BELL. The additional cost was double shipping charges and the unforeseen hurricane the ship ran into, which caused quite a bit of repair work to be done, and the loss of construction time estimated at 60 days.
Mr. FASCELL. I also understood that as far as the local fieldmen were concerned, they were not too keen about this alternative type of award to start with anyway. Mr. BELL. I have no idea. Mr. FASCELL. That is what I understood him to say.
Mr. MONTGOMERY. The next point I would touch on, and I think the General Accounting Office would have a great deal of interest in this,