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battalion into the Charlie Ridge area. At the same time, both the
7th and 27th Marines prepared to conduct a two-regiment operation, Operation
Allan Brook in the Go Noi. This would then be followed by another 7th
Marines operation, later called Mameluke Thrust, into both the Arizona
and Happy Valley regions. As one regimental commander observed, these
operations reflected a III MAF "change of emphasis ... to go after the
enemy in his base camps, rather than attempt to interdict him by patrols
close into the vital area."79*

In April, however, the capability of the 1st Marine Division to conduct
these expanded operations was fairly limited, especially in the Task
Force X-Ray sectors at Phu Bai and in Phu Loc. As Brigadier General
LaHue, the Task Force X-Ray commander admitted, whenever the division
mounted such an operation it was taking a chance of reducing the density
of operations. With four of the nine infantry battalions of the 1st
Division assigned to X-Ray, LaHue stated that he had adequate forces
to "do assigned operations . . . [but] not adequate ... to go after
the enemy . . . . " According to LaHue, he could "keep Highway 1 open,
aggressively patrol, and keep after the enemy in some strength." His
tenure at Phu Bai, however, was about over. On 7 April, Brigadier General
John N. McLaughlin relieved LaHue as the commander of Task Force X-Ray.
The latter returned to Da Nang where a week later, Brigadier General
George D. Webster replaced him there as the assistant division commander.80

The Phu Bai forces under McLaughlin operated much the same as they
did under LaHue. The 5th Marines continued its expanded Houston operation.
On 13 April, in a no-name operation, literally called No Name No. 2,
the 1st Battalion, 27th Marines ran into two North Vietnamese companies,
probably from the 804th Main Force Battalion, in a fortified
hamlet along a small canal north of Route 1 and a few miles east of
Hue. According to Second Lieutenant William R. Black, Jr., of Company
A, "the enemy [was] in [a] great situation to fight us off. ..." When
Black's 2d Platoon reached the hamlet, the company's 3d Platoon, under
Second Lieutenant Roger Charles had already been hit hard and trying
to withdraw. Black later wrote his family:

In retrospect,
I now know I should have written up Lieutenant Charles for a decoration.
He had advanced as close to the enemy as he could get. He had lost his
radio to enemy fire. He was taking care of the wounded man near him.
He guided the rest of us as we arrived at this position to help, & he
continued to fight the enemy. At the time, I was naive enough to think
that this was expected of us, as routine combat performance by a good

The Marine battalion lost 24 dead and 37 wounded while accounting
for an estimated 60 of the enemy. On the following day, Easter Sunday,
the Marines picked up the dead. Lieutenant Black several years later
remembered the scene as a macabre "Easter Procession-pulling dead bodies
back in ponchos."81**

From 19-26 April, in a rice-denial operation, the 2d Battalion, 5th
Marines supported by two ARVN battalions conducted Operation Baxter
Garden on the Phu Thu Peninsula. During the seven-day operation, the
Marines engaged enemy platoon-sized forces, but for the most part met
up with scattered enemy groups. Most of the Marine casualties were the
result of triggering enemy land mines. The Marines sustained 13 dead
and 125 wounded while killing 55 of the enemy. At the end of the month,
Task Force X-Ray continued to be responsible for an expanding area of
operations with limited forces.82

While the 1st Air Cavalry Division ended its participation in Operation
Pegasus on 15 April, the airmobile division and the 101st Airborne Division
undertook the long-postponed offensive in the A Shau Valley.*** For
some time, American commanders had viewed with concern the activity
of the enemy to improve his lines of communication leading from the
A Shau into Quang Nam Province and also towards

*See Chapter 17 for coverage of Operations Allan Brook and Mameluke

** William Black commented that "in the Episcopal Church, where I
grew up, the Easter 'procession' is a glorious parade by the choir,
acolytes, priest, and children into the church at the beginning of the
Easter worship service. It is a vivid and joyful celebration of Christ's
triumph over death. Hence the irony that hit me that Easter morning
. . . ." In his letter to his parents, he remarked upon battlefield
discipline of the enemy: "He not only took with him his own wounded
(& did something with his dead if he did not take them too); he even
gathered up his spent cartridges and took them. In the very trench that
he had fought us for five hrs, we could hardly find a spent cartridge!
The enemy knows how to discourage us. We found bits of meat in trenches
where direct arty hits had destroyed the enemy, but we only found two
enemy bodies." William R. Black, Comments on draft, dtd 4Jan95 and attached
Itr to parents, dtd 20-21Apr68 (Vietnam Comment File).

*** The 2d Brigade of the 1st Air Cavalry Division, however, remained
at Khe Sanh under the operational control of the 3d Marine Division.
See Chapter 14. For the earlier planning for A Shau operations, see
the discussion of the proposed York operations in Chapter 1.

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