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Page 79 (1968: The Defining Year)

Photo from 12th Mar ComdC, Jan69

An aerial view of Camp Evans (in and below the cross
hairs) in the CoBi-Thanh Tan sector was taken a year after Operation
Neosho. Like the Quilting Tri Base. Evans had expanded during the period,
but one can see Route 1 in the foreground and the main roaad network.

attached SLF battalion, the 4th Marines attempted to penetrate the
NVA Base Area 114. According to allied intelligence, the base
area contained both the headquarters of the 6th NVA Regiment
and the Tri Thien Hue Front. Operating in the inhospitable approaches
to the enemy base area from 25 October through 6 November 1967, the
Marine units brushed up against two battalions of the 6th NVA Regiment,
the 800th and 802d. In scattered, but hard-fought
skirmishes, the Marines took casualties of 25 killed and more than 80
wounded while accounting for approximately 20 NVA dead and recovering
7 enemy weapons. According to the regimental report, "the enemy
employed delaying tactics utilizing the terrain and vegetation to his
advantage." Sergeant Ron Asher with Company C, BLT 1/3 remembered
that the "last few nights were bad. Not only wet and leeches, but
constant harassing and probing at very close ranges."24

After the closeout of Operation Granite, the 4th Marines
had a reduced number of battalions available to it for Neosho. The SLF
battalion deployed to Quang Tri Province and transferred to the operational
control of the 9th Marines. After a three-company sweep south of the
Bo River back into the CoBi-Thanh Tan, the 1st Battalion, 4th Marines
and a command group of the 4th Marines conducted Operation Cove from
18 through 21 November in the Phu Loc sector south ot Phu Bai. Upon
its return from Phu Bai to Camp Evans on 22 November, the 1st Battalion
immediately departed for Dong Ha where it also came under the 9th Marines.
At the same time, the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines arrived at Camp Evans
and relieved the 3d Battalion, 26th Marines for the defense of the base
and manning the outposts on Hills 51 and 674. The 3d Battalion then
in conjunction with the ARVN returned to the CoBi-Thanh Tan where it
conducted small-unit patrols and company-size sweeps. On 13 December,
the battalion rejoined its parent regiment at Khe Sanh to counter the
enemy buildup there. Neosho now consisted of the 4th Marines headquarters,
detachments from the 3d Reconnaissance Battalion, the artillery battalion,
the 3d Battalion, 12th Marines, and only one infantry battalion, the
1st Battalion, 9th Marines.25

Despite the relatively low casualty figures on both sides recorded
in Operation Neosho through the end of

Page 79 (1968: The Defining Year)