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Navy Photo 1117017

Marines from BLT 2/1 land near Tam Quan, 30 miles south of Quang Ngai City, during DAGGER THRUST III. The battalion encountered a small VC guerrilla force during the operation.

any enemy and the Marines had lost the element of surprise, Admiral Wulzen decided to cancel the landing. The battalion came ashore at Tam Quan on l October for DAGGER THRUST III and met some resistance from local guerrillas. The next day Lieutenant Colonel Hanifin received orders 'to break contact and withdraw.'21 As the Pacific Command's contingency force, Admiral Sharp had ordered the SLF to be reembarked and sail for Indonesian waters where Communist forces had attempted to overthrow the government. The first DAGGER THRUST series was over.

Colonel Ewers observed that although he believed the overall concept was valid, the DAGGER THRUST operations revealed several limitations, especially in planning and command relations. The SLF commander declared that the intelligence was dated and that the SLF/ARG staffs should have been more involved in the planning. He claimed that the detailed scheme of maneuver prepared at the amphibious task force commander's level allowed almost no flexibility on the part of the BLT commander. Ewers concluded:

In amphibious raiding the initiative is ours and there is no compelling reason to rush from target to target. . .BLT planners were harried by changes and the urgent requirements of naval counterparts.22

Ewers' position was supported by other Marine commanders. In a later report, General Krulak also maintained that the raid concept was sound, declaring that ''raids cause VC in an area to move . . . exhibit a U.S. presence . . . and . . . serve as excellent training tor battalions to be committed . . . .' Like Ewers, the FMFPac commander was of the opinion that ''the full impact of these benefits has not been realized ... a review of target intelligence and planning procedures would appear prudent.''23

Further Changes in the SLF

Several changes occurred in October following the release of the ARG/SLF from the Indonesian alert. Captain Thomas R. Weschler, USN, relieved Captain Scott as the ARG commander. There was also an exchange of amphibious shipping. The new ARG consisted of the USS Valley Forge (LPH 8), USS Montrose (APA 212), and USS Monticello (LSD 35). At the same time, 11 October, Lieutenant Colonel Mervin B. Porter's HMM-261 replaced HMM-163 as the SLF helicopter squadron and Porter also relieved Ewers as the SLF commander.

The relief of units and shipping was relatively routine and had been planned for some time, but Generals Krulak and Fields took this occasion to institute their long-delayed restructuring of the SLF command and staff. On 17 October, General Krulak notified Headquarters Marine Corps that 'due to

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