[Image 1: Marine
group is seen
during one of
its many liaison
trips to Cambodia
At center is
Col Sydney H.
at right by LtCol
Curds G. Lawson
and, left, by
Maj George L.
Page 51(The Bitter End)
came on 17 June 1974 when the MAU reverted to a composite helicopter squadron
using medium helicopters (CH-46s) in place of its "heavy Eagle Pull mix"(CH-53s).
This change occurred as HMM-164 relieved HMH-462.34
To add to the rapidly changing scene, a complete turnover of Marine Corps personnel participating in Eagle Pull planning and operations cook place during spring and summer of 1974. Colonel Sydney H. "Tom" Batchelder, Jr., Commanding Officer, 3d Service Battalion, 3d Marine Division, was assigned the additional duty of commander of the Eagle Pull landing force in relief of Colonel Olmstead. Colonel John F. Roche III relieved Colonel Douglas T. Kane on 13 July 19.74 as commander of the unit containing the security forces, the 31st MAU*
Within III MAF Headquarters, staff changes affecting the planning of the Cambodian operation also took place, including the replacement of Major Hicks by Major George L. Cates as the Eagle Pull planner in the G-3 section. The annual rotation of officers actually began in March 1974, earlier than the usual summer changeover period, when Major Edward A. "Tony" Grimm relieved Major Baker, the key action officer at USSAG Headquarters. Grimm's early assignment afforded him the opportunity to become well versed in the plans and ready to brief the summer arrivals, including the new members of the III MAF staff.35
During the period July through December 1974, the recently assigned key personnel made several important liaison visits to Nakhon Phanom and Phnom Penh. As a result of their trips, the first three Eagle Pull options were further refined. An additional concept was even explored, whereby the evacuation would be conducted by loading the evacuees in ships and sailing them down the Mekong River. It was rejected as being too risky. In December 1974, Lieutenant Colonel Curris G. Lawson relieved Lieutenant Colonel Glenn J. Shaver, Jr., as the 3d Marine Division air officer, a position which involved the all important additional duty as air liaison officer for the command element.36
Between September 1973 and December 1974, six major Eagle Pull planning conferences took place at USSAG Headquarters. As a result, the plan was further improved, but essentially it varied little from the one first issued in August 1973.**
*Coloncl Kanc, in turn, on 16 February 1974 had relieved Colonel David M. Twomcy, who had assumed command on 26 July 1973 from (he acting CO, Lieutenant Colonel Ronald L. Owen, the interim replacement (3-25 July 1973) for the departing commander, Colonel Thomas J. Stevens. 31sr MAU ComdCs, lJan-3lDcc73, lJan-31Dcc74, and l)an-31May75.
**Colonel Roche noted that the plan to employ the CH-53 was developed by his staff in late 1974 and "provided for lifts from decks on which the MAU's elements were then located." Roche Comments.
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