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land, he told Cushman and Anderson that he believed "we had to move
toward a single management arrangement."* After a rather heated discussion,
Westmoreland left the issue open, but told the Marine commanders that
he expected them "to take care of the 1st Cavalry Division." What he
did not tell them was that he had already sent a message to Admiral
Sharp recommending a change in air control procedures. In any event,
at the meeting, the MACV commander directed General Cushman to detach
the 1st Cavalry's 3d Brigade from the Americal Division to rejoin its
parent command.81


The 1st Air Cavalry Division quickly established an area of operations in southern Quang Tri and northern Thua Thien Provinces. The division established its command post on 20 January in a sector about five kilometers north of Phu Bai, designated Landing Zone El Paso, that included a Vietnamese civilian cemetery. Major General Tolson, who had been on leave in the United States at the time the order came to displace, arrived at El Paso the following day. With his 1st Brigade battalions located both at El Paso and Landing Zone Jane about 10 kilometers southwest of Quang Tri City and other reinforcing units expected soon, he immediately began to look for a new home for the division. As Tolson later stated, he needed "to get the division out of the graveyard."82


Given his immediate mission to protect Quang Tri City from the south and southwest and to be prepared to launch an attack into the enemy Base Areas 101 and 114, he took an exploratory reconnaissance flight over his new area of operations. During this flight, on 22 January, he noticed the Marine base at Camp Evans and two possible landing sites just south of Quang Tri City that he believed better suited for base areas than the locations his units now occupied. After his return, he met with General Cushman at Da Nang. He asked the III MAF commander for permission to take over Camp Evans from the Marines and also for the two sites in Quang Tri. Cushman granted him the request for Evans but told him that he would have to coordinate with the 3d Marine Division for the other two areas.83

On 22 January, the 1st Cavalry started its operation Jeb Stuart in
its new area of operations. Just south of Landing Zone Jane, the 1st
Brigade's Company C, 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry engaged a large enemy
force. In an obviously mismatched fire fight, the Cavalry troopers,
supported by their gunships, killed 52 of the North Vietnamese at a
cost of one slightly wounded American soldier. Eventually the 1st Brigade
moved into the two new Quang Tri sites, redesignated Landing Zones Sharon
and Betty, that General Tolson originally wanted. The 2d Brigade, 101st
Airborne then assumed responsibility for Landing Zone Jane while General
Tolson established his headquarters at Camp Evans together with the
Cavalry's 3d Brigade. As one Marine staff officer later remarked there
was "a full Army division operating where two reduced Marine regiments
had been operating."84

The Changed Situation in the North


The arrival of the 1st Cavalry Division altered the Marine Checkers plan. This especially applied to the 1st Marines which just had moved from Quang Tri and relieved the 4th Marines at Camp Evans. The enemy attack on Khe Sanh at the time had an equal impact on the plans. On 22 January, the 1st Marines received orders to detach the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines which was attached to the regiment for a helicopter lift to Khe Sanh. This would leave Colonel Stanley S. Hugh-es, who relieved Colonel Herbert Ing two days earlier at Evans, with no infantry battalions for Operation Neosho II in the Co Bi-Thanh Tan sector or for security of the base camp. With the concurrence of the Seventh Fleet and MACV, General Cushman inserted the SLF Alpha battalion, BLT 2/4, into Camp Evans. Beginning on 22 January, the SLF helicopter squadron HMM-361 lifted three companies of BLT 2/4 from its amphibious shipping offshore to Camp Evans and then, in turn, flew the companies of the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines to Khe Sanh. At the same time, the Marine helicopters flew 380 civilian refugees out of Khe Sanh to Camp Evans. On the 23d, the 1st Marines in a "rough rider" convoy trucked the civilians to a refugee relocation center in Cam Lo. By the afternoon of the 23d, the relief and transplacement of the 1st Battalion was complete. The 1st Marines assumed operational control of BLT 2/4 which assumed responsibility for Neosho II operations.85**


It was obvious to all concerned that the Neosho operation was to be of short duration. Although Colonel Hughes on 23 January issued an operational order for Neosho II, he soon received a message that the 1st Cavalry was to assume responsibility for


*See Chapters 23 and 24 for the extended discussion of the Single Manager issue.

**See Chapter 5 for description of Neosho 1 in Camp Evans and Co Bi-Thanh
Tan area and Chapters 4 and 14 for Marine operations at Khe Sanh.




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