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Page 53(1965: The Landing and the Buildup)  



USMC Photo A185286


General Walt greets Marines from the 2d Battalion, 7th Marines at the newly established Qui Nhon enclave. The 2d Battalion had just relieved the SLF battalion, BLT 3/7.

Within the defense establishment, there was some opposition to the deployment of the airmobile division so far from its logistic bases. Admiral Sharp, supported by Ambassador Taylor and some members of the Joint Chiefs, wanted the airmobile division based in the Qui Nhon area:

Until both Route 19 and the vital coastal area had been secured, primarily out of concern that the logistical backup for the Division, 600-800 tons per day, would severely overtax the existent limited airlift and airfield facilities if the ground supply route should be closed off.

After further study, according to Admiral Sharp, General Westmoreland agreed to base the division at An Khe, 35 miles west of Qui Nhon. From this base, which could be resupplied by road, the airmobile division could launch operations 'into the Pleiku Highlands as well as into the surrounding countryside of Binh Dinh Province.'' Despite this compromise, the deployment of the airmobile division so far inland would be a departure from the earlier Marine deployments in secure coastal enclaves.12

The Establishment of the Qui Nhon Enclave

Because of the serious situation in II Corps in June, General Westmoreland had to make difficult decisions. Faced with the fact that the 1st Cavalry Division would not arrive until September, he considered, but finally rejected, moving two III MAF Marine battalions into the Central Highlands. Moreover, the MACV commander was concerned that the security for the Army's Qui Nhon logistic base was no longer adequate and so informed

Page 53(1965: The Landing and the Buildup)