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Page 93(1965: The Landing and the Buildup)  

USMC Photo A186103

Marines from the 3d Battalion, 3d Marines cross a beach in the second phase of BLUE MARLIN. Vietnamese fishing boats are in the background.

Marines. The South Vietnamese provided two ARVN battalions, one ARVN ranger battalion, and four Regional Force/Popular Force companies for the offensive. RED SNAPPER began on 22 October when Clement loaded his command group and Company F into trucks and left Da Nang in a motorized column for the Phu Gia promontory. Coinciding with Clement's arrival, his Company G landed from two LCUs over ORANGE Beach halfway up the eastern coast of the peninsula. Concurrently, the ARVN forces deployed along Route l, west of the Marines, in order to block the withdrawal of any Viet Cong moving away from the two-pronged Marine attack.

Both Marine elements moved into the objective area as planned without encountering any opposition. The next day the company from Phu Bai was helilifted into the operation to reinforce Clement's Company F. At the same time, Clement's Company G conducted a second amphibious landing by LCU further north along the coast and then pushed inland. RED SNAPPER ended on 25 October with meager results; the VC had left before the landing began. Marines captured l VC, 4 weapons, and 90 pounds of TNT; ARVN forces killed seven VC, captured five, and seized four weapons.

Operation LIEN KET-10 was equally disappointing. This operation, mounted by Lieutenant Colonel Rodolfo L. Trevino's 2d Battalion, 4th Marines and the 3d Battalion, 6th Regiment of the ARVN 2d Division, took place in the hills 12 miles west of Chu Lai in the eastern part of the Viet Cong's Do Xa base area. On 29 October, after preparation of the two landing zones by Marine air and artillery, 26 helicopters lifted the two battalions into their respective zones. The Marines encountered no enemy, but did find several deserted huts and a 200-pound rice cache. The second day, Trevino's force captured an enemy courier carrying a brief case of documents. There was little doubt that the combined force had entered a recently evacuated VC staging area, but neither Trevino's battalion nor the ARVN were able to find the enemy. The operation ended that afternoon when III MAF received warning of an imminent attack on the Chu Lai airfield. Trevino's battalion was ordered back to reinforce the TAOR; the attack never materialized.*

Although the VC avoided combat, the Marines were not discouraged and continued their offensive forays during November. During Operation BLACK FERRET, elements of the 1st and 3d Battalions, 7th Marines joined forces in a coordinated effort with two

* Lieutenant Colonel Trevino, who replaced Lieutenant Colonel Fisher on 16 October as battalion commander, commented that he believed that had the operation continued, it would have resulted in contact in the region adjacent to and in the western portion of the LIEN KET-10 TAOR. The VC prisoner captured during the operation later committed suicide in the Chu Lai compound. Col Rodolfo L. Trevino, Comments on Shulimson draft MS, 'USMC Ops, RVN, Jul-Dec65,' n.d. (Vietnam Comment File).

Page 93(1965: The Landing and the Buildup)