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[Image 1: Department of Defense
Photo (USMC A150913. BGen Richard E. Carey
hosts one of many planning sessions over Saigon contingencies conducted on
board
the USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19). Seated to Gen Carey's right, from left, are
LtCol Royce L. Bond, Col Frank G. McLenon, and Col Alfred M. Gray.]

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As Major Young settled into his new surroundings in northern Thailand, Colonel John M. Johnson, Jr., the III MAF G-3, briefed Colonel Taylor and his four-man advance command element in Subic. The next morning, they departed Cubi Point with the DAO as their destination. An unexpected change at Tan Son Nhut ended the command party's day (19 April) not in Saigon but in Nakhon Phanom where they joined Major Young and Lieutenant Colonel James L. Cunningham, the III MAF, G-3 Plans Officer, all of them in Thailand for the same purpose: liaison with USSAG Headquarters. In addition to Colonel Taylor, the aircraft's manifest included: Lieutenant Colonel Donald J. Verdon, communications officer; Major David E. Cox, air liaison officer; Captain Raymond J. McMa-nus, explosive ordnance specialist; and Master Sergeant William East, explosive ordnance specialist.


While in Nakhon Phanom, Colonel Taylor and his team received a comprehensive after-action brief on Operation Eagle Pull delivered by its ground security force commander, Marine Colonel Sydney H. Batch-elder, Jr. After extensive meetings with USSAG's staff, lasting until lunchtime on the 20th, the advance command element boarded another plane and returned to Saigon, leaving Major Young behind to begin his liaison duties.13


Young's presence at USSAG Headquarters helped alleviate the confusion over jargon and procedure peculiar to each service, and also fulfilled the joint operational requirement for each participating branch to provide a liaison officer. Throughout his tour at Nakhon Phanom, Major Young answered numerous questions concerning size of units, equipment carried, and capabilities. This type of face-to-facc contact was almost as critical as the presence of an advance command element in the DAO Compound.


On 21 April, the morning following his Sunday afternoon arrival in Saigon, Colonel Taylor established the 9th MAB forward headquarters in the DAO Evacuation Control Center (ECC) and remained there until the bitter end. His command element's presence at the "Pentagon East" facilitated the critical communications link between General Carcy and Major Young.14 As these events unfolded in Thailand and South Vietnam, General Carey and his brigade continued to adjust to the reorganization. Task Force 76 headed back to its station off the South Vietnamese coast near the Vung Tau Peninsula. While enroute the

 









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