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1st Battalion, 3d Marines' sector. According to the battalion January report, the battalion Marines counted 166 enemy sightings, not including the 57 reported during the two-company sortie across the Thach Han on 2 January. Most of these sightings were at distances of 500 meters or further. The Marines would either call artillery or, if the enemy were within range, open up with small arms. In either event, the Marines seldom found out how effective their fire was upon the enemy. They did know the NVA and VC kept coming.17

The battalion's biggest catch occurred on 16 January. A patrol from
Captain Gordon D. Barcheller's Company A came across a wounded North
Vietnamese officer in the hills south of the village of Hai Phu. The
officer, First Lieutenant Nguyen Van Dinh, was the assistant company
commander of the 1st Company. K.8 (808th) Battalion. A South
Vietnamese Armed Propaganda Team had shot Lieutenant Dinh during a reconnaissance
he was making of the La Vang and Quang Tri City vicinity. He apparently
was trying to make his way back to his base area when the Marines captured
him. According to a diary that the enemy lieutenant carried on him,
Dinh had participated in a December attack on a Marine position just
south of Hai Phu.18

Two days later. Captain Merrill J. Lindsay's Company C encountered
a significant number of North Vietnamese, south of the Hai Le hamlets,
a village complex bordering the Thach Han. At 0945, two VC nearly walked
into a Marine position in the hills south ot the village. The Marines
opened fire and killed both of them and captured one carbine. Later
that evening, about 1730, another Marine patrol from Company C encountered
about 12 khaki-uniformed NVA just outside Hai Le. In the exchange of
fire, the Marines slew another enemy soldier and recovered a submachine
gun. One hour later, in about the same area, the




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