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USMC Photo A186266

155mm howitzers of the llth Marines in position to support infantry from forward firing positions during Operation HARVEST MOON. Ammunition and supplies have been brought in by truck from Chu Lai and Da Nang.

operations. During August, navy gunships fired 5,096 rounds for the Marines, including 1,061 rounds in support of Operation STARLITE during which naval gunfire played a major supporting role. The number of missions declined during the remainder of the year; only 2,873 rounds were fired during this period. Nevertheless, two Navy ships remained on station, assigned to I Corps, one that could be deployed anywhere off the coast and the other in Da Nang harbor for harbor defense, but available in a naval gunfire support role during daylight.17

In 1965, 72 ships of the U. S. Seventh Fleet provided naval gunfire support for U.S. and allied forces. The Marine-Navy ANGLICO teams of Subunit l controlled the firing of nearly 70,000 rounds at 2,411 targets.* In at least one instance, during the successful November defense of the Thach Tru outpost 20 miles south of Quang Ngai City by the 37th Ranger Battalion, naval gunfire from the U.S. destroyers O'Brien (DD 725) and Bache (DD 470) was the decisive factor. O'Brien fired 1,392 5-inch rounds in 26 hours. The destroyers' fire broke the back of the enemy attack. General Walt witnessed the naval bombardment:

From a helicopter at about a half mile distance. The destroyer shells stopped the attacking force within fifty yards of the outpost. It was a total and effective surprise to the enemy forces. It nearly annihilated the assault forces of the 18th NVA Regt.18

Other Ground Combat Support

In addition to air, artillery, and naval gunfire, Marine infantry units received vital combat support from the 3d Marine Division amphibian tractor companies and tank companies. The experience of the 3d Tank Battalion was typical of how these organizations functioned in Vietnam. The 3d Tank Battalion Headquarters, Lieutenant Colonel States Rights Jones, Jr., and Company B arrived at Da Nang on 8 July. The battalion's other two gun companies were already in Vietnam, attached to the infantry units. On 24 July, the battalion was assigned a general support mission, but retained operational control only of its Headquarters and Service Company. At Da Nang, Company A was in direct support of the 3d Marines, while Company B was in direct support of the 9th Marines. Company C was



* Major Richard E. Romine, who assumed command of Subunit l on 25 August 1965, remarked that most of these missions were controlled from the rear seat ofL-19 observation aircraft provided by senior U. S. advisors to the corps areas. The subunit operated under MACV control and received administrative support from the Naval Advisory Group in Saigon. Romine commented that much of his time was spent coordinating 'at the four Corps headquarters and the spot team sites. This meant that I traveled frequently to Can Tho, Vung Tau, Bien Hoa, Pleiku, Quang Tri, Qui Nhon and Da Nang from my office in Saigon.' LtCol Richard E. Romine, Comments on draft MS, dtd 250ct76 (Vietnam Comment File). Romine had relieved Lieutenant George M. Wasco, USN, who had relieved Lieutenant Colonel Albers on 28 July as Officer-in-Charge, Sub-unit l.

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