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early November had moved around the hom and was patrolling in the northern portion of the area between the I>a Krong and the Laotian border. Lieutenant Colonel Elliott R. Laine's 3d Battalion, located at Vandegrift Combat Base, secured the base and surrounding Marine installations at Ca Lu and Signal Hill. On 8 November, Company L assaulted into landing zones near Hill 512, 15 kilometers southeast of Vandegrift and began construction of Fire Support Base Tun Tavern. Upon completion of Tun Tavern several days later, the remaining three companies of Laine's battalion moved into the area and began patrol operations in the Da Krong Valley and the ridgeline to the east, between the Da Krong and Ba Long Valleys.

Despite the rugged, mountainous terrain and the physical problems it caused the individual Marine, the two battalions conducted a methodical search of their assigned areas, as Colonel Barrow later described:

Each battalion has four companies operating out of company operating bases, each separated from the other by about 2 to 5,000 meters. A company will spend, characteristically, two, three, or tour days in one of these operating bases and conduct extensive patrolling by platoon or squads in all directions. So that after three or four days the area extending in a radius of a couple of thousand meters our from the operating base has been covered. The operating base represents a place of resupply and for a patrol that has been out perhaps for two days to rest for a day, preparatory for renewing its patrolling activities.14

According to Barrow, when the companies had worked over one area completely. Marine helicopters would then helilift the battalion into a new adjoining or nearby sector. In leapfrog fashion, the aircraft would bring the two companies ot the battalion that were the farthest away into the new area. In rum, the remaining two companies would be "leapfrogged over them." Barrow explained there was, therefore "a constant heliborne move of companies to new areas, but no company passes overland, covering an area that has already been covered by another company." The methodical

Photocopy of Northern l Corp's Briefing Map (Nov-Dec 1968) From Gen E. E. Anderson Collection



Page 454 (1968: The Defining Year)