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[Image 1: Department of Defense
Photo. (USMC) A150898 Marine crew of HMH-465 prepares their CH-53 Sea Stallion
for Operation Eagle Pull. Since intelligence reports had indicated the
presence of SA-7 surface-to-air missiles in Southeast Asia, the heavy helicopter
receives a coat of infrared low-reflective paint.]

 

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and gave each CH-53 a fresh coat of low infrared reflective paint. The ALE-29
fired flares whose heat would attract, or at least confuse, the homing device
of the heat-seeking SA-7. Adding paint to the fuselage reduced the infrared signal
transmitted by the helicopter, and likewise decreased the probability of a "lock-on." As
an additional means of distraction, the gunners carried flare pistols to fire
at incoming missiles.


Lieutenant Colonel Fix also decided to use the crew concept. A specific crew was assigned to each aircraft. It flew together anytime its aircraft was launched. In this way, it developed into a tightly knit group, each member familiar with the others' techniques and ways of operating.*29 Final Preparations Ashore


Before departing from USSAG Headquarters for Phnom Penh after having received a request from the


*Brigadicr General Richard E. Carcy, the lih MAB commander, recalled thai "in spile of ihc detailed combat preparations of the unit [HMH-463] I was required on the night before the evacuation to certify in writing to Rear Admiral Whiimirc that the squadron was combat ready and was capable of performing the mission." Carcy Comments.


Ambassador for their immediate presence, the members of Colonel Baichelder's command element completed their final stage of planning for Operation Eagle Pull. Upon their arrival at the Embassy on 5 April, they reviewed and incorporated last-minute changes to the Embassy plan and then began preparing for the actual evacuation. From the outset, beginning with an immediate audience with Ambassador John Gun-ther Dean, Colonel Batchelder and his command element integrated themselves into the daily routine. They joined the in-country team and assisted it in the execution of the fixed-wing portion of the evacuation which began their second day in Cambodia. Many of the Embassy personnel had departed on earlier evacuation flights leaving a serious gap in the staff and the Marines quickly Filled these positions paying particular attention to evacuation-related responsibilities. Lieutenant Colonel Lawson took charge of the evacuation operation at Pochemong Airfield. Coordinating the movement and manifesting of refugees at the airfield, Lawson's crew of Marines were subjected to 80 to 90 rounds of incoming fire a day. The Khmer Rouge treated the command element and one of its








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