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flank. The Marines killed nine of the attackers, but 40 to 50 more VC moved into positions behind the ambush site. Lieutenant Weller set off a smoke grenade, the prearranged signal to the battalion for help in case of radio failure. After 30 minutes, the Americans heard a shrill whistle and the enemy fire diminished. The Marines continued to fire 60mm mortar rounds. At this point, Marine reinforcements, including two Ontos and two tanks, arrived. According to Lieutenant Weller, fire from the tanks caused another 13 VC casualties. An armed helicopter covered the Marines as they withdrew from the area, while artillery fire was placed on the suspected enemy escape routes. The engagement resulted in 41 confirmed enemy dead and another 15-20 probable kills. The Marines suffered seven casualties, all during the initial burst of fire.48

As small unit patrolling expanded into the populated ricelands of the growing Marine enclaves, III MAF soon realized the futility of such actions unless the Viet Cong infrastructure there was destroyed. Several programs were established to accomplish this end. They had many different labels, but pacification was the true name of the game.

 

 

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