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Page 189(1965: The Landing and the Buildup)  

USMC Photo A186354

A member of the 3d Engineer Battalion use a mine detector to sweep a road as South Vietnamese civilians driving oxen veer off to the right. As evidenced by the heavy tire tracks, the road is in great use and an obvious place for the VC to plant their mines.

a large ferry boat to carry supplies between the Da Nang Airbase and Tiensha Peninsula and erected two bridges spanning rivers south of Da Nang. Monsoon weather had caused extensive flooding of many of the main supply routes and storage dumps in the area and better drainage facilities were required. By the end of the month, the battalion could list 16 major projects that it had undertaken in support of the MAF, division, and wing. These ranged from extensive road building to the erection of 33 warehouses for the FLSG.38

During the last quarter of 1965, despite shortages of material and repair parts,* problems with equipment. and washouts and flooding caused by the monsoon, the 3d Engineers was able to provide effective combat and combat service support to the 3d Division. The engineers furnished mine detection and demolition teams in support of infantry operations and made daily sweeps of the main supply routes for mines and booby traps. Lieutenant Colonel Dennis established a mine warfare course, one week for engineer personnel and one day for other troops, at the 3d Engineers' base area. All 3d Marine Division replacements were required to go through the program.

South of Da Nang, the battalion removed 16 kilometers of unused railroad rails and converted the railroad bed into a road to become part of the division's main supply route. By December, Companies A and C were primarily committed to road and bridge construction in the Da Nang TAORs of the 3d and 9th Marines, while Company C, 7th Engineer Battalion was involved in cutting timbers to be used for bunkers along the division's main defensive lines.39

The construction requirements at both Da Nang and Chu Lai were too extensive for Marine Corps

* Colonel Dennis observed that material requirements 'far outstripped our sources of supply, even though we had requisitioned all materials via special channels.' The battalion obtained some of its material from cantonment program supplies controlled by the Seabees, some through Marine Corps channels, and some through local purchase. Colonel Dennis remembered: 'I kept one SNCO in Da Nang searching for material and a representative in Saigon performing the same task. Without them we would not have accomplished the task. There was a continuous material shortage.' Col Nicholas J. Dennis, Comments on draft MS, dtd 3Nov76 (Vietnam Comment File).

Page 189(1965: The Landing and the Buildup)