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weapon to the aviation ordnance arsenal broadened the air support capabilities of the 1st MAW.

12 Aug-The first all-Marine night helicopter assault took place starting at 2400.

14 Aug-The Navy announced four-month involuntary extensions of duty for Navy and Marine Corps enlisted personnel. Coordinating headquarters were established at Chu Lai under the 3d MarDiv ADC, Brigadier General Karch.

15 Aug-The Headquarters of the 7th RLT and 1/7 came ashore at Chu Lai. Colonel Oscar F. Peatross commanded the regiment. At Da Nang, elements of 5/9 came ashore making it the first battalion to be re-introduced into RVN (See 8 March and 17 June 1965 entries).

16 Aug-3/9 relieved 1/9 as the Base Defense Battalion at Da Nang.

17 Aug-2/4 and 3/3 were assigned to the 7th Marines for Operation STARLITE.

18-24 Aug-Operation STARLITE. Three Marine battalions-1/7, 2/4, and 3/3-attached to the 7th Marines, and supported by air, artillery, and naval gunfire, conducted an amphibious-heliborne search and destroy operation in the Van Tuong village complex south of Chu Lai. The purpose of the attack was to eliminate an enemy force-the 1st VC Regiment, reportedly 2,000 strong-which had built up for an attack on Chu Lai. Strong resistance was encountered, requiring the support of BLT 3/7 from the SLF. The USMC units advanced through the objective area in two days, and then were joined for mopping up operations by Vietnamese forces. Casualties were as follows:

USMC: 45 KIA, 6 DOW, 203 WIA

VC: 614 KIA, 9 DOW,

The Viet Cong dead were confirmed by body count. It was estimated that the actual enemy KIA total ran much higher because of the large number of caves and tunnels that were sealed or destroyed. (On 9 September an agent source reported that the VC had suffered 1,430 KIA, in Operation STARLITE).

26 Aug-In response to a CG III MAF request made in June, 11 sentry dogs and handlers arrived as the initial element of the 1st Provisional Dog Platoon, which was planned to consist ultimately of two squads, a sentry dog squad and a patrol dog squad.

28 Aug- l /1 arrived at Da Nang to relieve l / 3.

31 Aug-President Johnson called for "a new and mighty people-to-people program to bring American aid to victims of the war in RVN." The total III MAF strength in RVN not including Seabees was broken down as follows:

DaNang...................................18,063
Chu Lai....................................10,277
Phu Bai.....................................2,114
Qui Nhon...................................1,616
Other.............................................92
Total........................................32,162
Total arrived by area during August:
DaNang.....................................4,725
Chu Lai......................................2,684
Total arrived................................7,409
Total departed by area during August:
DaNang......................................1,029 (1/3 departed)
Phu Bai..........................................68
Qui Nhon........................................35
Total departed.............................1,132
Net Gain, August.........................6,277

I Sep-1/3 departed RVN for Okinawa, where it was relieved by BLT 3/5, and then returned to CONUS. A total of 10,919 personnel of FMFPac remained in Okinawa and Japan.

7-10 Sep-Operation PIRANHA. Following the decisive Marine Corps victory over the 1st Viet Cong Regiment in Operation STARLITE (18-24 August), intelligence information disclosed that other VC forces were building up on the Batangan Peninsula, still farther south of Chu Lai. Operation PIRANHA, another regimental-level amphibious-heliborne attack, was executed to clear the area. It exacted at least 163 Viet Cong killed and served notice once again upon the VC of the hazards of concentrating their forces. Subsequently they reverted to small unit operations in I Corps area.

11 Sep-BLT 2/1, which arrived on Okinawa 27 August from CONUS and subsequently embarked as the SLF, assumed a position within six-hours reaction time of Qui Nhon, prepared to land and provide security, if required, for debarkation of the Army's 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile).

18 Sep-The first elements of the Army's 1st Cavalry (Airmobile) Division landed at Qui Nhon.

23 Sep-The Defense Department said that General Westmoreland had the authority to permit use of tear gas.

28 Sep-The total III MAF strength in RVN not including Seabees by area was as follows:

DaNang................................18,641
Chu Lai................................13,601
PhuBai................................. 2,172
Qui Nhon...............................1,773
Total....................................36,187
Total arrived by area during September:
Da Nang................................3,222
Chu Lai..................................3,384
Qui Nhon. ................................327
Total......................................6,933
Total departed by area during September
Phu Bai......................................26
Net Change............................6,907

14 Oct-The CG, I Corps approved extension of the Chu Lai TAOR. A USMC sniper team was formed in the Hue-Phu Bai TAOR. The team used Winchester Model 70 rifles with 8-Unertl telescopic sights and killed two Viet Cong at a range of more than 700 yards in the first exercise of the new tactic. Later, M-1D rifles with telescopic sights were utilized.

18 Oct-Operation TRAIL BLAZER, a six-day deep patrol and series of ambushes by the 3d Reconnaissance Battalion, began from a patrol base about 15 miles southwest of Da Nang. The purpose of the operation was to determine the extent of VC concentration in the main valleys leading from the mountains into the Da Nang TAOR and to determine the probability of enemy attack from that area.

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