dement of coastal fisherman and their families into the Gia Dang fishing
The cordon on Thon My Chanh, which began on 2 November as a transition operation to introduce the brigade into the area, involved elements of the 1st Battalion, 11th Infantry; 1st Battalion, 61st Infantry (Mechanized); 1st Battalion, 77th Armor; and 4th Squadron, 12th Cavalry. In coordination with three battalions of the 1st ARVN Regiment, the brigade cordoned the village which straddled the Quang Tri and Thua Thien provincial boundary, while ARVN infantry and South Vietnamese local forces swept through the area. On 5 November, Company B, 9th Marines and Company G, 3d Marines were placed under the operational control of the brigade and assigned security duty at Landing Zone Nancy, relieving other brigade forces which began an extensive campaign of local ambushes and patrols. The Thon My Chanh cordon ended on 16 November with a total of 60 Viet Cong reported killed, 58 of which were credited to the 1st ARVN Regiment.
The following day. Companies B, C, and D, 11th Infantry; Company I, 4th Marines; and Companies B and C, 9th Marines, in conjunction with two battalions of the 1st ARVN Regiment, established a cordon around the Thon Thuong Xa and Thon Mai Dang village complex, eight kilometers southeast of Quang Tri City. The three Marine companies anchored the eastern portion of the three village cordon and provided security for the checkpoint of Route 1. While elements continued to sweep through the Thon Mai Dang area, Companies B and C, 9th Marines, working with the 2d Battalion, 1st ARVN Regiment, established a 360-degree cordon around the village of Thon Thuong Xa on the 24th, and sent out patrols in all directions from the cordon.4 With the end of the cordon on 27 November, the three Marine companies returned to their parent units and like the Thon My Chanh cordon, the 1st ARVN Regiment garnered the lion's share of the enemy killed and weapons captured.
Throughout the first nine days of December, Gib-son's brigade continued large-scale cordon and search operations in the rice growing area east of Quang Tri City at Thon Tra Loc, and in the sand dunes north of Fire Support Base Tombstone and west of Wunder Beach. On the 9th, Operation Napoleon-Saline came to an end. According to Marine sources, the operation which began at the end of February, when operations Napoleon and Saline were combined, resulted in the death of more than 3,500 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops and the capture of 831 weapons. Marine, Army, and ARVN losses were put at 395 killed and 1,680 wounded.
As Napoleon-Saline ended, the brigade moved into Operation Marshall Mountain. Relying heavily on dismounted infantry units, Gibson's troopers continued to operate extensively throughout their assigned area of operation with elements of the 1st ARVN Regiment and local Popular and Regional Forces. These combined operations included the integration of Popular Force squads and platoons into mechanized infantry and tank platoons, assigning a Popular Force squad to one tank as a means of transportation and fire support for the local South Vietnamese. The tank and mechanized infantry platoons would be used as blocking units while the Popular and Regional Forces searched an area. Although used elsewhere, the brigade concentrated the efforts of these combined search and clear operations during the remainder of the month on the area immediately south and west of Quang Tri City to interdict enemy movement from the piedmont into the populated coastal lowlands.
In addition to small combined operations, the 1st Brigade continued to conduct a large number of cordons of suspected Viet Cong-dominated villages and initiated a series of strike operations in the mountains to the west. On 20 December, three companies from the 11th Infantry conducted heliborne assaults into the southern portion of enemy Base Area 101, but encountered no sizeable enemy forces. By the end of the month, all three companies had returned to Fire Support Base Sharon. The brigade's activities including combat operations and civic action projects resulted in a heightened sense of security throughout the region and an increase in the effectiveness and fighting spirit of local Regional and Popular Force platoons.
To the north of Gibson's brigade, the 1st Amphibian Tractor Battalion,
under the command of Lieutenant Colonel George F. Meyers, who was replaced
in mid-November by Lieutenant Colonel Walter W. Damewood, Jr., continued
to conduct an extensive program of combat patrols, and ambushes throughout
the Green area of operations. First Lieutenant Peter N. Schneider's
Company A conducted mechanized and infantry patrols, night ambushes,
and search and destroy missions, concentrating on the area along the
Song Cua Viet between My Loc and the Mai Xa Thi village complex to the
southwest. During the sweeps, Schneider's Marines discovered and destroyed
numerous bunkers, some of which were old and deteriorated and others
recently constructed which indicated enemy activity in the area. Company
A, however, encountered no enemy troops.