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U.S. MARINES IN VIETNAM: THE BITTER END 1973-1975

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[Image 1: Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A332339 Marines from Company F, 2d Battalion. 4th Marines protect the perimeter of Landing Zone Hotel. The zone was not selected until summer 1974, but served its purpose as no enemy fire reached it until just prior to the departure of the last Marine commanders.]

[Image 2: HMH-462 Marine sits in a CH-53D at the end of his Phnom Penh evacuation mission. Sgt Ervin E. Breyette, Jr.. leans against his.') O-caliber machine gun and watches evacuees disembark on the USS Okinawa. Photo courtesy of Capt Russell R. Thurman, USMC fRct).]

Page 122 (The Bitter End)

section of two as backups. As expected, the controllers held these aircraft at Oscar approximately 30 minutes beyond their sheduled estimated time of arrival. Upon confirmation by the Embassy that the last citizens, including Ambassador Dean and the acting president of the Khmer Republic, Saukham Khoy, had safely boarded a HMH-462 helicopter, the squadron aircraft began extracting the landing force. At approximately 1050, 107mm rocket fire began impacting in the vicinity of Landing Zone Hotel. Less than 10 minutes later, the zone also received some 82mm mortar fire. As soon as the enemy initiated its rocket and mortar attack, the controllers in the zone notified the Air Force forward air controllers (FACs) flying overhead in 23d Air Support Squadron OV-lOs. The FACs immediately made low passes over the cast bank of the Mekong, but could not spot any fire coming from known enemy positions in that location. At 1059, the last element of BLT 2/4 left the zone and 16 minutes later, two Air Force HH-53s from the 40th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron (ARRS), as scheduled, extracted Colonel Batchelder and his command element. As they departed the zone, the helicopters

Page 122 (The Bitter End)
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