Two VC were killed in the operation, and five enemy complexes of training camps, workshops, and bivouac areas were destroyed. Accumulated intelligence was used in developing an aerial target list. Two companies from 3/3 launched Operation TRIPLE PLAY, a two-day search and destroy effort conducted 12 miles north of Chu Lai. The results: 16 VC KIA, 6 VCC, and 18 VCS, with only two Marines wounded.
26 Oct-Operation DRUM HEAD, a coordinated two-day sweep effort involving 3/7 and an ARVN platoon, began southwest of Chu Lai. Results: one VC killed and 26 suspects captured; one USMC killed and two wounded.
27 Oct-Operation GOLDEN FLEECE (begun 8 Sep 65) was terminated. This operation by the 9th Marines was an effort to deny as much rice as possible to the VC during the Summer/Fall 1965 rice harvest. USMC units provided protection for Vietnamese farmers in their fields while the rice crop was harvested. It is estimated that 512,400 Ibs. of threshed rice were denied the VC as a result.
28 Oct-On the night of 28 October, Viet Cong suicide squads launched simultaneous and coordinated attacks on Marine installations at Marble Mountain near Da Nang and at Chu Lai. Even though most of the attackers were killed, the few who got through used satchel charges to blow up 19 helicopters and damage the hospital at Marble Mountain, while at Chu Lai they destroyed two fixed-wing attack aircraft. Ground actions during the night indicated that other planned attacks were thwarted by Marine patrols.
3 Nov-BLACK FERRET, a three-day combined USMC/ ARVN search and destroy operation of regimental scope, began in an area 10 miles south of the Chu Lai airstrip, on the north side of the Song Tra Bong. Participating were: two companies from 1/7; two companies from 3/7; 3/11; two platoons from the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion; and two battalions from the 4th Regiment of the 2d ARVN Division. VC forces avoided contact, limiting their resistance to sporadic small arms fire and booby traps. In one instance, a booby-trapped 81mm mortar round wounded six Marines and killed Miss Dickie Chapelle, the war correspondent, who was accompanying USMC units on the maneuver. Numerous fortifications and tunnels were destroyed by attacking forces, and Marine strike aircraft wiped out a number of boats and structures along the Song Tra Bong. Results: 2 VC killed, 20 captured (5 WIA), and 64 suspects apprehended. Eight Marines and one Navy corpsman were wounded. Helicopters returned the Marines to Chu Lai upon conclusion of the operation on 5 November.
7 Nov-BLT 2/7 was withdrawn from Qui Nhon (see 10-12 November entry below); HMM-161 remained at Qui Nhon in support of II Corps forces.
10-12 Nov-Operation BLUE MARLIN, a combined USMC/VNMC operation between Chu Lai and Tam Ky, 20 miles to the north, took place. On 7 November, BLT 2/7 was lifted in amphibious shipping from its former TAOR at Qui Nhon to Chu Lai, where it was joined by the 600-man 3d Battalion, Vietnamese Marine Corps. The two units conducted a combined amphibious assault on 10 November across beaches just north of Tam Ky. Four companies of BLT 2/7 in one LVT wave and two LCM waves landed unopposed, followed by the remainder of the BLT and the 3d Battalion, VNMC, in on-call boat serials and helicopters. Surf at the beach was very high, and the anchor chains of the APA Paul Revere and the LST Windham County parted. After sweeping inland to Route l, the landing force pivoted southward astride the highway and executed a search and destroy operation to the Chu Lai TAOR. Resistance was light, and casualties were few. A Vietnamese civilian reported that the VC had withdrawn from the objective area two days previously. At the conclusion of the operation, the RVN Marines were returned by helicopter to their base area south of Quang Ngai. 2/7 rejoined its parent regiment at Chu Lai, replacing 3/3, which embarked for Phase II of BLUE MARLIN (see 16-18 November entry) and subsequent operations at Da Nang.
16-18 Nov-BLUE MARLIN (Phase II), similar in scope and concept to Phase I (10-12 November), was conducted. At Chu Lai, 3/3 embarked in the same amphibious shipping used in Phase I and landed on 16 November over beaches south of Hoi An, about 22 miles south of Da Nang. The landing was accomplished smoothly, with one wave of LVTs and two of LCMs, followed by artillery and Ontos in on-call serials. Ashore, the landing force was joined by two RVN Ranger battalions and two RVN special companies in a coordinated search and destroy operation north to the Song Cua Dai. Activity was characterized by scattered but sharp contacts as the VC again avoided confrontation with the landing force. Fortifications, tunnels, and man-traps were destroyed in quantity. Combined results were: 25 VC killed, 15 captured, 79 suspects apprehended, and 9 weapons seized. Two ARVN soldiers were KIA, one ARVN was wounded, and three USMC were wounded. At the conclusion of the operation, 3/3 was lifted to the Da Nang area by amphibious shipping and helicopter.
17-18 Nov-Marine air elements from III MAF were instrumental in preventing a Viet Cong victory at Hiep Duc, about 25 miles west of Tam Ky. On the 17th, 30 UH-34D helicopters, supported by fixed-wing attack aircraft, lifted 788 ARVN troops to the relief of an invested ARVN garrison at Hiep Duc. In this initial lift, 20 of the 30 transport helicopters were hit by ground fire as they approached the landing zone. Despite marginal flying weather, accompanying attack aircraft and armed helicopters dropped some 14 tons of high explosive bombs and fired 512 rockets, as well as 1,532 rounds of 20mm cannon projectiles, into VC positions near the landing areas. VC losses during the period were a comfirmed 38 KIA, with many more probables. The following day, 22 UH-34Ds lifted 463 more ARVN troops to Hiep Duc, making the total lift for two days 1,251. The helilifted troops were successful in defeating the assault on Hiep Duc, but were unable to clear the VC from the critical areas to the northwest. At the request of CG I Corps, 3/7 was alerted to reinforce the ARVN units. Extremely bad weather prevented the helilift of 3/7 into Hiep Duc. While awaiting improved weather, the battalion was diverted to assist an ARVN Ranger battalion under siege at Thach Tru, south of Quang Ngai (see 22-24 November entry).Page 239 (1965: The Landing and the Buildup)