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arc, while the reduced AOA still permitted the Navy amphibious task force commander to control naval gunfire and other supporting arms including aviation. The amphibious commander was to reserve a 10-nautical-mile-wide air corridor at an altitude of 7,000 to 10,000 feet for civilian aircraft. This compromise was possible without any violation of amphibious doctrine since the chances of any enemy air opposition were nil and because of the limited range of the VC antiaircraft weapons.30

The Second Series of DAGGER THRUST Raids

By 10 November both Admiral Johnson and General Westmoreland approved the recommendations of the Saigon conference and the Seventh Fleet amphibious forces began preparing for the next DAGGER THRUSTs. After completion of detailed plans on 26 November, the ARG/SLF, which earlier in the month had been the floating reserve for the BLUE MARUN operations, sailed for the DAGGER THRUST IV amphibious objective area, Lang Ke Ga, in III Corps. This VC-controlled and suspected infiltration point was on the coast, 90 miles east of Saigon.

For DAGGER THRUST IV, the Marines and Navy had made some more changes in command and control. Although Admiral Wulzen in the USS Eldorado (AGC 11) had joined the amphibious task group. Captain Weschler, the ARG commander, retained his position as amphibious task force commander. Colonel Burnett, the SLF commander, was to be the commander of the landing force, unlike the earlier DAGGER THRUST raids when this position was assumed by the TF 78/RAMAB commander. Admiral Blackburn had bowed to the inevitable and, on 24 November, announced his intention to dissolve TF 78. In the interim, he made General Fields commander of both TF 78 and TF 79.31

DAGGER THRUST IV followed the same pattern as the earlier DAGGER THRUST raids. On 30 November, the SLF battalion landed as planned at Lang Ke Ga, but, with the exception of scattered tank traps in the beach area and isolated incidents of small arms fire, it encountered no opposition. The next day the battalion reembarked, ending the operation, with no casualties to either side.

The final DAGGER THRUST raid. DAGGER THRUST V began on 5 December near the Phu Thu

NavyPhoto 1114070A

Marines of BLT 2/1 run to board HMM-261 helicopters on board the Valley Forge {LPH S) during Operation DAGGER THRUST V, in December 1965. The white-capped Navy crewman in the left forefront has just led the Marines to their specific helicopter.

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