(1968: The Defining Year)
Photo courtesy of Col Robert W. Lewis, USMC (Ret)
Chu Lai airfield is seen in an aerial view after the rocket attack.
Note arrows pointing out damage to aircraft hangars at the base.
attached U.S. Army personnel were wounded.57
During the day and
evening of the 31st, the VC and NVA infantry units pressed the offensive
on the ground. In the northern sector of Da Nang, NVA or VC main force
troops entered Nam O once again and killed the hamlec chief.* Combined
Action platoon Q-4
there continued to hold out. At about 0740, a crowd of 400 Vietnamese
civilians made up mostly of women and children and carrying NVA and
VC flags approached the Combined Action compound. The Marines and Popular
Force troops fired at armed members of the crowd who appeared to be
directing the march. The crowd scattered only to gather on the fringes
of the Da Nang base near the Force Logistic Compound near Red Beach.
Again the crowd dispersed and this time did not recongregare. In the
meantime, the VC harassed with sniper fire both CAP Q-4 and the nearby
Nam O bridge security detachment from the 2d Battalion, 7th Marines.58
*Mike McOonell, who was
the Northern Sector Defense Command 'watch officer', recalled thac he
tried to warn the 'CAPs . . . that there was a battalion of NVA in their
ville; we could not raise them, the NVA went into assault and we had to
call artillery on their position . . . .' He remembered that time as 'when
the world turned upside down.' Mike McDonell, Comments on draft, dtd 22Nov94
(Vietnam Comment File).