Department of Defense Photo (USMC) A373820
CUPP Marines and South Vietnamese Regional Force troops from Company G, 2d Battalion, 5th Marines and the 306th Regional Force Battalion form the cordon in a cordon and search mission in sandy terrain near the coast, 20 miles southeast of Da Nang.
map and compass reading, defense against mines and boobytraps, and patrolling tactics, and they spent a full day on the rifle range. The instruction was 'well received by the surprisingly attentive Popular Forces.'97
When not on operations or engaged in training, CUPP units, again following the example of the CAPs, tried to improve the daily life of the villagers. Each CUPP squad had a Navy corpsman attached to it, who regularly assembled the inhabitants for medical examinations and treatment of minor hurts and ailments. The riflemen worked with the villagers on local improvements. During April, for instance, one of the 5th Marines squads along Route 4 helped the farmers of Lam Phung village build an irrigation canal to carry water to their paddies from the Thu Bon River. The Marines provided rock fill and material for culverts, and the Vietnamese furnished most of the labor, a pump, and a motor. During the October and November floods, CUPP Marines helped evacuate endangered hamlets and then joined the people in relief and reconstruction. In December, Company G, 5th Marines launched a farming project in which each squad and a Vietnamese family together planted and cultivated a plot of vegetables. The Marines hoped by this to improve the farmers' diet and to introduce a new cash crop.'8
The line companies engaged in combined action, and like their counterparts in the CAP, suffered from a manpower shortage during the year. Many CUPP squads, which were supposed to be reinforced to 15-18 men, had to operate with as few as seven or eight Marines, and they often found themselves paired with understrength RF or PF platoons. A member of a 7th Marines CUPP squad said in May that 'We get anywhere from 7 to 8 to 10 PFs a night, and the largest majority of them stay down at the PF compound on the hill which is not needed. We could really use some more men down here.'69
Morale among CUPP Marines, as a platoon commander pointed out, 'is a very touchy subject. Being out here by themselves, working a squad with a platoon of PFs, especially in areas where the PFs arc new and are not quite so militarily proficient as one might like, the morale of a CUPP unit can deteriorate very quickly.' In the 7th Marines, the CUPP company, un-