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19 Apr- RLT-3 reorganized as 3d Marines (Rein); a larger Tactical Area of Responsibility (TAOR) was established at Da Nang and a TAOR was established at Phu Bai for 3/4.

20 Apr-ComUSMACV authorized a change in General Karch's mission for ground forces to include (l) aggressive combat patrolling within TAORs and (2) preparation for conducting offensive operations as a mobile reaction force. High-level Honolulu conference recommended to President Johnson the deployment of III MEF to Da Nang and the landing of a MEB at Chu Lai.

20 Apr-The landing of additional Marine Corps units at Da Nang resulted in the following organization:

 

 

9 MEB HqCo ........................................240
3d Marines (-)(Rein) .............................3751
HqCo..................................................(286)
IstBn, 3d Marines ..............................(1099)
2dBn, 3d Marines ..............................(1267)
3dBn, 9th Marines .............................(1099)
Brigade Artillery Group ..........................548
HqBtry(-), 12thMarines. .........................(26)
BtryA, IstBn, 12thMarines.....................(120)
BtryB, IstBn, 12thMarines ....................(119)
Btry F, 2dBn, 12th Marines...................(120)
Btry L, 4thBn, 12th Marines..................(112)
lst 8"HowBtry .......................................(51)
Brigade Engineer Group ........................299
Brigade Logistics Support Group ............656
MAG-16 .............................................1613
H&MS-16(-) .........................................(111)
MABS-16 (-).........................................(232)
VMFA-531 (-) ......................................(300)
HMM-162 ...........................................(126)
HMM-163............................................(233)
IstLAAM Bn ........................................(413)
MASS-2 .............................................(100)
VMCJ-1 ................................................(98)
BLT 3/4 & DetHMM 162 .......................1500
Total 9th MEB .....................................8607

All units were located at Da Nang, except for BLT 3/4 and a detachment of 10 UH-34 helicopters from HMM-162, located at Phu Bai.

21 Apr-VMCJ-1 flew its first electronic countermeasures (ECM) missions from Da Nang Airfield and MASS-2 became fully operational.

22 Apr-The first real Marine ground action with the Viet Cong occurred-a reconnaissance company on patrol was fired on by an estimated 10 to 150 Viet Cong; VMFA-531 provided air support; one enemy was killed, one Marine was slightly wounded.

28 Apr-Companies E and F of the 2d Battalion, 3d Marines participated in the first coordinated ground operation with ARVN forces in RVN.

3 May-The advance party of the III MEF, including its commander. Major General William R. Collins, arrived at Da Nang.

5 May-ComUSMACV promulgated a Letter of Instruction giving the mission of III MEF: "In general render combat support to RVNAF (Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces). In coordination with CG, I Corps, participate in or provide for the defense of Hue-Phu Bai, Da Nang, and Chu Lai airfields and ancillary facilities. Maintain the capability to conduct, on order, deep patrolling and offensive operations and reserve reaction operations in coordination with CG, I Corps. Be prepared to execute U. S. contingency plans as directed by ComUSMACV."

6 May-The III MEF headquarters was established at Da Nang Airbase, commanded by Major General Collins, who was also designated the Naval Component Commander (NCC) for ComUSMACV. The 9th MEB was deactivated as an operating unit and the 3d Marine Division (Forward), also commanded by Major General Collins, was established and assumed command of its assigned units in RVN. With the Chu Lai landings on 7 May, seven of the 3d Division infantry battalions were committed in RVN, supported by most of the 12th Marines and substantial portions of all other elements of the division.

7 May-Ill MEF was redesignated III MAF. 3d MAB, commanded by Brigadier General Marion E. Carl, consisting of RLT-4 (Colonel Edward P. Dupras, Jr.), the advance elements of MAG-12 (Colonel John D. Noble), and Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 10 (Commander John M. Bannister, USN) landed at Chu Lai with the mission of occupying the terrain necessary to construct an expeditionary airfield there. The 173d Airborne Brigade, the U.S. Army's first ground combat unit, arrived in RVN on this date.

10 May-The first radar-controlled bomb drops in combat were made by VMFA-531, controlled by MASS-2; 24 MK-81 (260 pound) bombs were expended in "Happy Valley" and the target was reported completely covered.

11 May-2d Battalion, 3d Marines cleared the village of Le My, liberating it from over two years of Viet Cong control. The village became a model of the Marine Corps civic action program. The 1st MAW (Adv), commanded by Major General Paul J. Fontana, was established at Da Nang.

12 May-Lieutenant Colonel William D. Hall's BLT 3/3 landed at Chu Lai. Brigadier General Carl was designated III MAF deputy commander. RLT-4 was redesignated 4th Marines as the Chu Lai amphibious operation terminated.

15 May-HMM-365, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Koler, Jr., relieved Lieutenant Colonel Curtiss' HMM-162 at Da Nang.

24 May-Brigadier General Keith B. McCutcheon arrived and relieved Major General Fontana as CG 1st MAW (Adv).

31 May-USMC strengths by area:

Da Nang ...................................9,224
Chu Lai.....................................6,599
Hue-Phu Bai .............................1,614
TAD in-country .............................121
Total. ......................................17,558

l Jun-Eight A-4 Skyhawk jet attack aircraft from VMA-225 (Lieutenant Colonel Robert W. Baker) and VMA-311 (Lieutenant Colonel Bernard J. Stender) landed at the Chu Lai expeditionary airfield. The first aircraft, piloted by Colonel Noble, the MAG-12 commander, touched down at 0801 to signify the opening of the airfield. (Construction

 

 

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