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Page 179 (1968: The Defining Year)

Department of Defense (USMC) Photo A371335

Machine gunner PFC Dominick J. Carango, Company H,
2d Battalion, 5th Marines, provides covering fire for advancing troops
of his company with his M60 Machine gun in the Hue street fighting.
His assistant, with bandoliers of 1.62mm ammunition rounds wrapped around
him, crouches beside him

At Phu Bai, during the meantime, Colonel Hughes prepared to bring
his headquarters group into Hue. On the afternoon of the 2d, Colonel
Robert D. Bohn, the 5th Marines commander, called in his 2d Battalion
commander. Lieutenant Colonel Ernest C. Cheatham, three ot whose companies
were already in Hue. According to Cheatham, a big man who had played
professional football, Bohn told him, 'saddle up what you need ... [the
1st Marines] headquarters is going to Hue tomorrow. There's problems
up there . . . We're going to put you in ... .' The battalion commander
remembered, 'and so the next morning we went. We went blind. And that
was it.'16

On the 3d, both the command groups of the 1st Marines and the 2d Battalion, 5th Marines arrived in Hue in another 'Rough Rider' armed convoy. The weather had taken another turn for the worse: a cold 50 degrees with constant precipitation in the form of fog, a fine mist, or rain. Although the Marine trucks came under enemy sniper and mortar fire, they safely reached the MACV Compound in the city. Colonel Hughes established his new command post there and held a hurried conference about 1330 with his two battalion commanders. While Lieutenant Colonel Cheatham then took control of his three companies already in the city, Gravel retained command of his Company A. The regimental commander gave the latter the task to keep open the main supply route while Chearham was to continue the arrack south from the University towards the provincial headquarters.17

At this point, Hughes, a pre-World War II enlisted Marine, who had been awarded the Navy Cross for action on Cape Gloucester in the Pacific campaign, turned to Cheatham. According to the 2d Battalion commander, Hughes told him: 'I want you to move up to the Hue University building, and your right flank is the Perfume River and you're going to have an exposed left flank .... attack through the city and clean the NVA out.' Cheatham expectantly waited for further clarification of his orders, but the regimental comman-

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