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nery Sergeant Clarence D. McClenahan, assisted the drivers in disabling the remaining vehicles which blocked off the southern accesses to the zone. This left only one road open for traffic, the highway leading directly from the Embassy to the airfield. With the zone's access secured by the vehicles, the command clement turned to the next task at hand, setting up communications and laying out marking panels. Almost immediately, they established radio contact with "Cricket," the airborne command and control aircraft, and then they contacted "King Bird," the 56th ARRS HC-130 used to control the helicopters. Lieutenant Colonel Lawson provided "King" a landing zone brief and requested that he relay it to the incoming helicopters. By 0830, everything was in place awaiting the first elements of the 2d Battalion, 4th Marines whose similar preparations at sea would now merge with those ashore.34 final Preparations at Sea


While the situation deteriorated in Cambodia, the 31st MAU continued its preparations at sea. The 3d of April, the day the command element landed at Phnom Penh, 31st MAU/ARG Alpha recorded its 34th consecutive day at sea. On station in the Gulf of Thailand during this entire period, the Marines and sailors of ARG Alpha expected to execute their mission each succeeding day. Despite the fact that each day ended without results, the anticipation of putting into practice their acquired skills kept the Marines' and sailors' morale high.


Teamwork and coordination would become the intrinsic elements of mission success or failure, and par-ticularly in rhe aviation maintenance effort. The Navy supply system had to provide the necessary pans, and maintenance personnel had to install them properly or the number of available heavy helicopters would drop below the critical level. Should this occur, either the mission would have to be scrapped or Air Force helicopters would have to be substituted. By prestaging

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