The Marines in Vietnam 1965: The Landing and the Buildup
Chronology of Significant Events
1 Jan-TE 126.96.36.199 at Da Nang was designated Marine Unit, Vietnam (MUV), TU 79.3.5, by direction of CG FMFPac. The organization and its operations remained essentially as before.
7 Feb-Communist guerrillas attacked a United States compound at Pleiku, and U.S. aircraft retaliated by striking targets in North Vietnam, initiating a new phase of the war. U.S. forces in South Vietnam totaled 23,000. U.S. dependents were ordered evacuated from RVN.
8 Feb-Battery A, 1st LAAM Battalion arrived at Da Nang via C-130; it was operational the next day.
10 Feb-The Viet Cong blew up a U.S. military billet at the coastal city of Qui Nhon killing 23 soldiers.
13 Feb-More elements of the 1st LAAM Battalion (-), commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Bertram E. Cook, Jr., arrived at Da Nang by sea and air. Two full batteries and supporting elements were 100 percent operational five days later.
17 Feb-Company C of the USMC 7th Engineer Battalion began arriving at Da Nang by LST. HMM-163, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Norman G. Ewers, relieved Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Koler, Jr.'s HMM-365 as the operating squadron of TU 79.3.5.
28 Feb-USMC tactical unit strength in RVN was 1,248, broken down as follows:
These figures do not include USMC advisors. Embassy Marines, MACV staff personnel, and various other categories of Marines assigned outside the Da Nang area.
8 Mar-The 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) commanded by Brigadier General Frederick J. Karch, landed at Da Nang. The MEB included two Marine Battalion Landing Teams (BLTs) - 3/9 (Lieutenant Colonel Charles E. McPartlin, Jr.) which landed over Red Beach 2, and 1/3 (Lieutenant Colonel Herbert J. Bain) which arrived by air from Okinawa. The 9th MEB mission was to defend the Da Nang Airbase. This was the first U.S. ground combat unit to land in RVN.
9 Mar-The MUV (TU 79.3.5) was placed under operational control of the 9th MEB and designated MAG-16, commanded by Colonel John H. King, Jr. HMM-163 remained in direct support of ARVN I Corps; other elements of the expanding MAG (Sub-Unit 2, MABS-16) were in direct support of the 9th MEB. The 1st LAAM Battalion was placed under operational control of MAG-16 with a mission to defend Da Nang Airbase from air attack.
9 Mar-Lieutenant Colonel Oliver W. Curtiss' HMM-162 arrived at Da Nang.
14 Mar-Sub-Unit 2 was redesignated MABS-16; H&MS-16 was activated at Da Nang under the operational control of MAG-16 (-).
23 Mar-Current composition of 9th MEB is as follows:
2 Apr-The United States announced the intention of sending several thousand more troops to Vietnam.
10 Apr-Lieutenant Colonel David A. Clement's BLT 2/3 landed at Da Nang. Task Force Alpha of the BLT was helilifted to the Phu Bai airstrip, 45 miles north of Da Nang near Hue, to assume the defense of that area. Lieutenant Colonel William C. McGraw, Jr.'s F-4B squadron, VMFA-531, arrived at Da Nang.
12 Apr-The RLT-3 commander, Colonel Edwin B. Wheeler, and his headquarters arrived; he assumed command of all BLTs ashore.
13 Apr-An HMM-162 detachment of 10 UH-34D helicopters was established at Phu Bai. VMFA-531 flew its first combat mission in RVN.
14 Apr-Lieutenant Colonel Donald R. Jones' BLT 3/4 arrived in Vietnam and moved to Phu Bai where it relieved Task Force Alpha.
16 Apr-MASS-2 (Lieutenant Colonel Paul L. Hitchcock) arrived Da Nang and established the DASC west of the runway. Lieutenant Colonel Otis W. Gorman's VMCJ-1 arrived at Da Nang, coming under operational control of MAG-16 but remaining under administrative control of MAG-12, which was still located at Iwakuni, Japan.