Lieutenant General Carson A. Koberts, Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific (right center), inspects an honor guard of Vietnamese Marines in Saigon. With him, from left, are Lieutenant Colonel Le Nguyen Khang, Commandant of the Vietnamese Marine Corps; Major General Richard G. Weede, Chief of Staff, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, and Lieutenant Colonel Clarence G. Moody, Jr., Senior USMC Advisor to the Vietnamese Marine Corps. (Official USA Photo).
that would enable the brigade headquarters to exercise tactical control of its battalions. The first such operation was launched in the first week of the new year. On 1 January a provisional brigade headquarters, commanded by Khang and advised by Moody, embarked on board a Vietnamese Navy LST (landing ship, tank) at Saigon along with the 2d VNMC battalion. The 4th VNMC Battalion, advised by Captain Don R. Christensen, embarked on board two Vietnamese LSMs (landing ship, medium) at the same time. The mission of the provisional brigade was to conduct an amphibious landing near the tip of the Ca Mau Peninsula and clear Viet Cong units from a series of villages in conjunction with the Strategic Hamlet Program. Subsequent to the clearing operations, VNMC engineers were to construct a fortified hamlet. The entire operation was to extend until mid-April.
Elaborate precautions were taken not to disclose the location of the objective area. The small flotilla sailed beyond sight of land and remained afloat for two days before moving into position off Ca Mau. On 3 January the two LSMs proceeded to the coast, moved up a river lined with thick mangrove vegetation, and landed the 4th Battalion. The 2d Battalion, accompanied by Captain Richard B. Taylor, came ashore from the LST in Dong Nai boats, small styrofoam craft specifically designed for use in swampy terrain. The provisional brigade headquarters remained on board the LST as the