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Once the entire battalion was on the ground, the assault company, augmented by a pair of 60mm mortars and two 57mm recoilless rifles, provided a base of fire to protect the movement of its sister companies. Captain Yen maneuvered his three remaining rifle companies and a battalion command group north to a position from which they could launch an envelopment on the fortified village. Using a treeline which bordered an irrigation canal as cover, the force hooked westward until it was directly north of the Viet Cong position. Meanwhile, a FARM GATE twin-engine B-26 relieved the UH-1B gunships on station. At this point in the action the Air Force FAC observed a group of 30-40 enemy attempting to flee from the northwest corner of Hoi Dong Sam. After clearing the target with the Marine battalion, he directed the B-26 to attack the target with its 250-pound bombs. The aircraft made several bombing passes and dispersed the Viet Cong. When the air strike ended the enveloping force began its assault against the northern edge of the village with two companies abreast and one following in reserve several hundred meters to the rear. Once the assault force was in motion the base of fire displaced forward, firing as they moved, to a small canal about 120 meters in front of the .50 caliber positions in the treeline. The two assault companies, followed closely by Yen, Smith, and the battalion command group, penetrated the northern end of the village and swept through to its southern periphery. The commander of the company on the east (or left) flank, deployed elements into the treeline where the Viet Cong automatic weapons had been active. Following a sharp but brief exchange of gunfire, the Marines cleared the position. They found eight enemy dead and three .50 caliber machine guns.


By noon the 2d Battalion had secured the entire village. Captain Yen ordered his assault companies to establish a perimeter defense and the reserve company to begin a systematic search of the position. His Marines uncovered a number of well-camouflaged bunkers and fighting positions. In a small canal just east of the village the Marines found the mount for another heavy caliber automatic weapon. They also discovered eight Viet Cong suspects and detained them for questioning. One rifle company moved to investigate the area where the B-26 had attacked the fleeing enemy earlier in the morning but found no evidence of additional casualties. Following the capture of Hoi Dong Sam, Yen's battalion conducted patrols for several days in search of the Viet Cong force that had attacked the Hiep Hoa Special Forces camp on the 25th. The enemy force, however, eluded the Marines by gaining refuge in Cambodia. The battalion returned to garrison at Thu Due on 28 November.


In many ways the results of DAI-PHONG 30 pointed up the problems which frequently frustrated GVN military forces and their American advisors. The 2d Battalion had seized its objective and in so doing had killed a handful of Viet Cong and detained a number of suspects. The Marines had captured three heavy caliber automatic weapons and an assortment of small arms-all without suffering a single casualty of their own. Still, it was difficult to translate the action into victory. The Marines, along with the other government forces involved in the operation, had failed to intercept the Viet Cong raiding force in its flight toward the international boundary. Moreover, most of the occupants of Hoi Dong Sam had made good their escape despite the presence of observation and attack aircraft. Like many other government military operations undertaken during the 1961-1964 period, DAI-PHONG 30 was successful from a statistical standpoint but did little to wrest the tactical initiative from the guerrillas.


In the first week of December, the Vietnamese Joint General Staff ordered VNMC units to conduct an extended search in the jungles of western Tay Ninh Province in III Corps. A special Marine Task Force composed of the 1st and 3d Battalions was helilifted into the area on 3 December to begin Operation DAI-PHONG 31. This operation was punctuated by two major engagements and frequent enemy harassment. In one particularly vicious clash, the Vietnamese Marines incurred heavy casualties while attempting to fight out of a skillfully executed Viet Cong ambush. When the operation concluded on 9 December, the Vietnamese Marines had suffered 11 men killed, 58 wounded, and 1 captured. Nine Viet Cong bodies were found and another Communist soldier was captured. The enemy left four individual weapons on the battlefield.


In mid-December, South Vietnam's new leaders removed Lieutenant Colonel Khang from his position as Commandant of the Vietnamese Marine




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