Marines of BLT 3/9 assemble before being airlifted to the Philippines. (USMC Photo A182883').
ence, and neutrality of the Kingdom of Laos. Under the terms of this agreement, foreign troops were prohibited from entering or operating within the borders of Laos. Had it been adherred to, this provision would have denied North Vietnam the use of the corridor down the length of eastern Laos, altering the scope and nature of the conflict in the Republic of Vietnam. Following the signing of this declaration in Geneva, CinCPac directed General Richardson to effect the withdrawal of the remainder of his joint task force. General Simpson's 3d MEU began executing these instructions on the 28th when Marine GV-ls and Air Force C-130s began air-lifting Lieutenant Colonel Adams' BLT 3/9 to Okinawa. By the 31st no Marine combat units were left at Udorn. General Simpson and his staff departed the airfield a few days later, and shortly thereafter the 3d Marine Expeditionary Unit was deactivated.
Marine Participation: A Summary
The deactivation of the 3d MEU marked the end of the first deployment of a Marine air-ground combat team to mainland Southeast Asia. Since the decision to commit American forces to Thailand in mid-May, the Marine units assigned to General Simpson had demonstrated anew the value of their service as a force capable of supporting U.S. foreign policy on short notice. Within the period of a few days, the various FMFPac commands had assembled a complete air-ground-support team, and, assisted by the Seventh Fleet, had deployed the affected units to a position over 1,800 miles from the nearest major Marine base. Located far inland from the seacoast, a Marine unit's normal habitat, the 3d MEU had been sustained solely by air while maintaining its combat readiness in a difficult tropical environment.