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pany from the railroad tracks which paralleled the road with both automatic and semi-automatic weapons, killing one Marine and wounding three. After the initial burse, the NVA broke contact and the Marine company secured a landing zone to evacuate the wounded. Company F then returned to the 2d Battalion perimeter.22

By 2400 on the 30th, the engagement south of Phu Loc was about over. The Marine command did not want to commit any more troops and ordered the Recon Team 'to break out and move to the north.' Lieutenant Colonel Whalen then directed his Company B to return to Phu Loc, which it did without incident. The results of this activity including that of Company F were l Marine dead and 5 wounded and 16 enemy dead, 15 killed initially by the Recon Team, and another by Company B. Colonel Bohn, the 5th Marines commander, believed that this action prevented a full fledged attack upon Phu Loc itself.23

On the night of 30-31 January, the same time the North Vietnamese
struck Hue, the Marines had their hands full throughout the Phu Bai
area of operations. Enemy rockets and mortars struck the Phu Bai airstrip
and Communist infantry units hit Marine Combined Action and local PF
and RF units in the region including the Truoi River and Phu Loc sectors.
At the key Truoi River Bridge, about 0400 a North Vietnamese company
attacked the South Vietnamese bridge security detachment and the nearby
Combined Action Platoon H-8. Lieutenant Colonel Cheatham ordered Captain
G. Ronald Christmas, the Company H commander to relieve the embattled
CAP unit. The Marines caught the enemy force beginning to withdraw from
the CAP enclave and took it under fire. Seeing an opportunity to trap
the North Vietnamese, Cheatham reinforced Company H with his Command
Group and Company F, which by this time had returned from its abortive
venture to Phu Loc.24




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