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Photo courtesy of lgor Bobrowsky

Marines and South Vietnamese Regional

Force troops of Combined Action Platoon D-l fatrol near the hamlet of Thanh Quit

south of Da Nang. These platoons were the cutting edge of the Combined Action

Program, which integrated a Marine squad with South Vietnamese militia (Popular

or Regional Forces) in the surrounding villages and hamlets.

ment. In many respects, these semi-isolated CAPs were the frontline
of the Marine war in the villages and hamlets, the target of nearly
40 percent of the enemy attacks in I Corps in November and December
1967. They were among the first to indicate an enemy buildup in the
Da Nang and Phu Loc sectors.6

By the end of 1967, the allies in I Corps had developed a rather sophisticated analysis apparatus for the collection and processing of local intelligence. The core of this collection effort was the District Operations and Intelligence Center (DOIC). Each center consisted of representatives from the South Vietnamese district-level government structure including the ARVN district S-2 officer. National Police, and Revolutionary Development cadre. A U.S. MACV/III MAF liaison team provided technical expertise. The establishment of 14 such centers since August permitted the analysis and supposedly rapid dissemina-tion of time-sensitive intelligence to those South Vietnamese and allied civilian agencies and military units and agencies able to take action. For example, in November 1967, the Dien Ban center provided information to the National Police that led to the arrest of 64 members of the VC Hoi An infrastructure and the capture of significant enemy planning documents.7*

From various sources. III MAF received reports in December 1967 that
the enemy was massing his forces in I Corps. There was the buildup of
enemy forces at Khe Sanh and the eastern DMZ. In the CoBi-Thanh Tan
region the 4th Marines and South Vietnamese sources reported the southeastward
movement of elements of the 6th NVA Regiment and the appearance
of a new regiment, the 4th NVA, in the Phu Loc sector south
of Phu Bai. Of even more concern to the 1st Marine Division and the
Americal Division was the forward deployment of the 2d NVA Division
north into


*Lieurenant Colonel Oliver W. van den Berg, Jr., who commanded the 1st
Battalion, 5th Marines at Da Nang in November 1967, remembered that a
sniper team attached to his Company A "killed a VC courier and his
armed escort at 700 meters." According to van den Berg, rhe courier
carried a large bag of documents "which included a pay roster and
many other documents." Lieutenant Colonel van den Berg wrote that
all of this was turned over to intelligence personnel and may have been
the source of information for the National Police arrest of the 64 members
of the VC Hoi An infrastructure. LtCol Oliver W. van den Berg, Jr., Comments
on draft, dtd 12Dec94 (Vietnam Comment File).




Page 86 (1968: The Defining Year)