Aerial view of Marine helicopter flight line at Da Nang shortly after SHUFLY's relocation to I Corps in September 1961. (Official USMC Photo).
on the coastal plains, dominated the economic activities of the area. Combined, the provinces of I Corps produced nearly half a million tons of rice annually. Fishing, concentrated along the coast and the major rivers, ranked as the second most important economic pursuit. Unlike most of South Vietnam, I Corps did possess some potential for industrial development. A small but productive surface coal mine was located about 25 miles southwest of Da Nang at Nong Son along the western bank of the Song Thu Bon. Although the mine was operating in 1962, it had made little discernable impact on the overall economic picture of the region.
Military Situation, September 1962
From its new base at Da Nang, Colonel Ireland's task unit was responsible for directly supporting the forces under Major General Tran Van Don's I Corps headquarters. The 1st and 2d ARVN Divisions, headquartered respectively at Hue and Da Nang, were the major tactical units at General Don's disposal. Occasionally elements of the 25th ARVN Division, headquartered at Kontum in northwestern II Corps, joined I Corps forces for offensive operations along the southern fringe of Quang Ngai Province. Several ARVN Ranger battalions served as mobile reaction forces for the corps tactical zone.* Also scattered over the northern corps tactical zone were numerous paramilitary units of assorted sizes. These, too, were garrisoned primarily along the heavily populated coastal plain.
*The ranger battalions had been organized in late 1960 from existing ARVN forces. They were conceived as highly mobile infantry units and were under the direct control of the CTZ commander.