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up at the check point, but then quickly disappeared. These experiences with the PFs led McPartlin to comment, 'that the PFs were most unreliable military personnel.'' To add to the 3d Battalion's problems, fire discipline in an ARVN training camp southeast of the battalion was nonexistent. Periodically, uncomfortable moments occurred as ARVN recruits inadvertently fired towards the unit's positions.

The area south and east of the airbase remained the responsibility of the ARVN because General Thi wanted to keep the Marines away from the populated area, fearing that the Americans might provoke incidents in the villages which would antagonize the local populace.12 Generals Thi and Karch reached an agreement upon a set of 'rules of engagement' which also restricted the activities of the Marines. The Marines were not to fire at persons beyond the defensive wire of the airbase boundary, but they were to report persons outside the wire to the Combined Coordination Center established by the two commands. General Karch made no secret about his unhappiness with the defensive perimeter assigned to the brigade: 'Actually this was not a satisfactory arrangement. As a practical matter there is no doubt that the brigade commander would have been held responsible for any successful assault on the airfield.'13

Estimate of the Situation

When the MEB was in place at Da Nang, General Westmoreland and his staff reexamined the entire American military effort in Vietnam. According to the MACV commander:



USMC Photo A801078

Colonel Edwin B. Wheeler, Commanding Officer, 3d Marines {center), discusses the tactical situation with Lieutenant Colonel David A. Clement, commanding officer of the newly arrived 2d Battalion, 3d Marines (right). The other officer in the picture is First Lieutenant Marx H. Branum, the forward air controller for the battalion.

We considered it appropriate to undertake a classical


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