THE ADVISORY AND COMBAT ASSISTANCE ERA, 1954-1964
U.S. Marine-trained drill instructor with Vietnamw recruits. (USMC Photo A183561).
designated operations area did not extend far inland.
To their surprise the VNMC assault elements found the first objective, a large village, completely deserted. As Lieutenant Colonel Moody later recalled, 'They had removed everything, even the cattle and other livestock.'' At the second objective, a nearby village, the Marines found definite evidence of recent Viet Cong activity but no enemy troops. There they captured a handful of rifles, carbines, and light mortars along with a printed document that contained detailed excerpts of the Marine operations plan. Quite obviously the operation had been compromised in Saigon during the planning stages. In any case, this discovery explained the evacuation of the initial objective as well as the relative dearth of action during the remainder of the operation. The provisional headquarters and the 4th Battalion returned to Saigon after the initial phases of the operation had been executed, leaving the 2d Battalion and an engineer platoon to continue security operations in the area and build the strategic hamlet.* When the operation finally ended on 11 April, the Vietnamese Marines had lost a total of five men killed and 14 wounded. Mines and snipers had produced most of these casualties. The Marines accounted for 11 Viet Cong killed and 14 wounded.
In the closing days of April, the JGS ordered Lieutenant Colonel Khang to form two infantry battalions and an artillery clement into a provisional brigade for immediate assignment to II Corps. There the Vietnamese Marines were to join
*Lieutenant Colonel Moody noted that the Vietnamese Marines seldom were involved in the actual construction of strategic hamlets. This task was normally left to the civil authorities in the area who more often than not used the local population as a. labor force. (Moody Comments.)