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his steward confused the rockets with the traditional fireworks shot
off in honor of Tet. Soon reports came in that the base was under attack
and a Marine helicopter flew the general from his quarters to III MAF
headquarters.* According to Murray, "...from then on until Tet was over,
there were just constant attacks."16

The 1st Marine Division commander. Major General Robertson later compared
the enemy activity that night to a '10-ring circus.' In the Da Nang sector,
during the early morning hours of 30 January, Communist gunners took under
mortar and rocket fire l5 different allied units and installations. On
the ground, several enemy infantry and sapper units of varying size probed
and attacked various Marine and allied defenses throughout the TAOR. Shortly
after midnight. Marine sentries from the 1st MP Battalion, posted near
the main I Corps Bridge connecting Da Nang to the Tien-sha Peninsula,
spotted two swimmers near the span. They fired, killing one of the enemy
underwater demolition ream, while the other member surrendered to the
Marines. About 0100, a Marine platoon from Company G, 2d Battalion, 7th
Marines, positioned near the Route 1 Bridge crossing the Cu De River north
of Da Nang, saw another two enemy on a raft with a wooden box. Again,
the Marines killed the VC and once more foiled an apparent enemy demolition
effort. Two and a half hours later, on the other side of the main Da Nang
Bridge, Armed Forces police noticed two VC in the water and several sampans
approaching. The MPs shot one of the swimmers, took the other man prisoner,
and drove off the boats with a fusillade of bullets. Once more the enemy
failed to cut the main lines of communication into Da Nang.17

About 0230, the enemy struck the perimeters of the Da Nang base itself.
In the Southern Sector Defense Command, just north of the Cau Do River
and west of Route 1, an enemy 12- or 15-man sapper squad blew a hole
in the defensive wire of the joint perimeter of the 7th Engineer and
7th Communications Battalion. The enemy troops attacked a Marine bunker
and ran through the Communications Support Company area throwing grenades
and satchel charges in the living quarters. The only Marine casualties
were two men who failed to vacate their 'hootches' in time.


*General Earl E. Anderson, who as a brigadier general was
the III MAF Chief ot Staff, recalled that General Murray at this time
was living at the beach house. Because of security concerns after the
Tet attack. General Murray moved into the bachelor officer quarters
with him. They each had a bedroom and bath and shared a sitting room.
Gen Earl E. Anderson, Comments on draft, dtd 18Dec94 (Vietnam Comment
File).


 


Abel Collection

The Da Nang Airbase comes under VC/NVA rocket attack
on the night of 29- 30 January 1968. Flares light up the sky, top, as
raging fires caused by the rockets burn out of control on the ground,
illuminating parked aircraft on the airfield, bottom.

Department of Defense (USMC) Photo A190166


 




Page 145 (1968: The Defining Year)